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The most popular Venetian Carnival sweets

Before Lent there is room for many delicious and greedy Carnival sweets: galani, or crostoni, frìtole, castagnole and smeggiassa.

Desserts are the protagonists on all tables between Thursday and Shrove Tuesday, and throughout the Carnival period. Before entering Lent, a period of abstinence and fasting, it is good to pamper the palate a little. So here is a series of Venetian Carnival sweets, which can never be missing in this period.


The first dessert that comes to mind is actually very common throughout the country. Every family in all corners of Italy knows him, but with different names. Galani (or crostini) are among the most popular Carnival sweets also in Treviso and throughout the Veneto. In other regions they are known as chiacchiere, lies, traps, rags.

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If there is any doubt as to why Carnival days are called "Shrove" Thursdays and Tuesdays, just think that in the past, galani, or croutons, were fried in pork fat. Today we opt for a lighter oil, but the ingredients are the same: flour, butter, sugar and eggs in the dough. In Veneto an ingredient that is very typical of this region is added, grappa. Once the galani are fried, sprinkle them on the surface with a thin layer of icing sugar.


With a mixture identical to that of galani, another among the Venetian Carnival sweets is presented: castagnole. What differentiates the castagnole is the shape, which is why they are also called broad beans or broad beans.


Among the typically Venetian Carnival sweets we also find the frìtole (or frìtoe in dialect). Also known as “fritoe venexiane”, they are the typical dessert of the Venice Carnival. Also in this case the recipes are not counted throughout Italy. They often vary from family to family, as is almost always the case with every dish of our gastronomic tradition. The base of the dough is composed of eggs, flour, milk and raisins mixed in batter. The pancakes must have a diameter of a few centimeters, and are fried in oil. At the end you have to sprinkle them with granulated sugar. Rather well-known variants contain pine nuts, dried fruit, apple, once again grappa, and in some cases cream, zabaglione or even chocolate.

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That of Carnival fritters is an ancient recipe, as well as other traditions of the Veneto area. The sweet gnocchi of the Verona Carnival, for example, are gnocchi in all respects. Raisins, pine nuts, vanilla are added to the mixture of potatoes and flour. In short, from a first course it turns into a dessert.


We end with another historical preparation, of peasant and medieval origin. Smeggiassa is one of the Venetian Carnival sweets, known above all in the Polesine area, whose main ingredients are corn flour, wheat flour, sugar, honey, raisins, dried figs, orange peels, grappa, oven-roasted pumpkin and cooking water for the nose. In the past, blood and pork cracklings were also used, today apples are used more often. Have you tasted them all? This is the right time to rediscover the typical sweets of the Venetian tradition and to fall in love with them once again.

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