Are you ready for Carnevale? I certainly am. As with every celebration that happens in Italy, food is a huge part of the festivities. Carnevale is no exception. I've fried up some sweet treats, an essential food for any Carnival celebration, for my post at Napoli Unplugged. These fried treats are as much a Carnival tradition in Italy as are masks, costumes, parades and pranks.
They start popping up in pastry shops right after the Epiphany. Although you will find them throughout Italy, their name and shape differs throughout the boot. Never have I seen so many names for such a simple treat: Called chiacchiere (meaning chatter - gossip - chit chat) in the south of Italy, they also go by other names in other areas: frappe (tassels) in Rome, cenci - (rags) in Tuscany, bugie (lies) in Piedmont, nastri (ribbons), lattughe (lettuce), guanti (gloves), and galani or crostoli in Venice. These are the names I've seen for them, but I'm certain there are even more. If you've heard them called by any other name, please add it in the comments below.
For as many different names as these treats have, they might have as many variations in forms. I've seen squares, sheets, strips, diamonds, knots and twisted ribbon like shapes. Sweet fried dough with the requisite dusting of powdered sugar, they are a sweet and simple indulgence, both delicious and addictive. It's impossible to eat just one.
For the recipe and a tidbit on another Carnival traditon, make sure to check out my post on NapoliUnplugged: Chiacchiere for Carnival
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina: A Taste of Sorrento - my post for Napoli Unplugged