In so many ways (particularly for me) tradition is food. Yesterday my streams were filled with pancakes and I had one myself to mark Shrove Tuesday and the beginning of Lent. There is comfort in these traditions, nostalgia, familiarity. As I am new to Italy I am keen to explore the traditions here, including what you eat and when. Perhaps become more ‘Italian’.
I suppose you don’t realise until you live somewhere what a big deal certain occasions are to cultures. Up until a few weeks ago I thought Carnevale was a weekend in Venice where people dressed up. But it is far more prolific than that. The Venice Carnevale goes on for about three weeks itself! Each region has their own traditions and even here in Trieste people have been dressing up for weeks and kids have been going to the main square and throwing confetti like it is the most fun in the world. Yesterday I went to watch the floats which included every sort of costume from pirates to pigs, young and old and a lot of men in women’s clothing. It is certainly one way to end winter and start welcoming the spring.
As with most events in Italy there are several food traditions associated with Carnevale. The name itself means farewell to meat. Being traditionally the time that you would also give up eggs and sugar there are a lot of ‘sweets’ that have been doing the circuit. Most of it is deep fried and coated in sugar (which equates to delicious right?). Pictured here are what are alternatively called chiacchiere (gossip), bugie (lies), cenci (rags) and guanti (gloves), depending on which region you are in. There are also a variety of doughnut looking things and I tried a Venetian frittella on the weekend which was custard filled and delicious.
Next year, I am definitely going to get involved in more festivities including going to Venice and perhaps trying to bake one of the traditional sweets.
Do you have a tradition outside of the pancakes?