Tuesday, February 28, 2006

La gara delle frappe!

At last I have time to post on the very anticipated Gara delle frappe! Well, today it's Mardi Gras.. so at least I'm still on time before Lent starts.
The party was a blast for both children and adults... mostly, children played all the time and adults ate all the time! :)

Before showing the frappe, I'll talk a bit about Carnival in Italy, which is quite interesting. Carnevale in Italy is very popular, and every region has its own peculiarities. There are regional masks, related to some particular character, like Arlecchino (a poor guy obliged to make his own cloths with many pieces of clothes, since he doesn't have money to buy a whole one.. with a very colorful and marry result. It's typical of Bergamo.), or Pulcinella (a sad guy all dressed in white, with a tear on his face, typical of Naples). I found a nice website in English about them, if you're interested. It's quite cool, imo. There are shows for kids with these characters being moved around on a stage, like little puppets. And there are also shows for adults, like you'll see if you go to Venice for Carnival, where everyone is masked with gorgeous masks.
Carnevale is supposed to be the moment when you do things that you are not supposed to do during normal times of the year.. that's why people were originally masked. :)
Also, still nowadays, some particular towns have some strange tradition, where all the people in the town throw objects at each other, like in Ivrea, where they throw rotten oranges.. This website has also an Englih version, if you want to see these crazy people. Ivrea is quite close to Turin, but I've always been scared to go see the Carnevale over there. :)

Moreover, every region has its own specific desserts for Carnival. The basic is fried dough for all of them, but the shapes, consistency and taste can vary. This was the orgin of our party la gara delle frappe, as I probably already mentioned earlier.. everyone was supposed to bring a Carnival dessert typical of their region and we were supposed to vote for the best one.

At the party, there were lots of kids, masked, running around throwing coriandoli and stelle filanti at each other. Coriandoli are a version of what in English is called 'confetti' (little round pieces of paper), although I believe the Italian ones are smaller and more colorful.
Stelle filanti are stripes of paper that you blow to have them making nice helixes in the air, as you can see in this commercial:So, while the kids were busy having fun running around and playing little trumpets, the adults were busy eating the sweets. :)

..and here they are:

Frappe alle mandorle (qualcuno mi sa dire il vero nome?)
This type of frappe was absolutely delicious. The dough was made with almonds, so they were very different from the usual ones. They were a bit thick, and crunchy but not crispy. I really liked them.

Bugie e castagnole
These are some of the frappe (bugie in Piemonte, my region) that I prepared. On the left, bugie al forno - ie, the recipe for bugie that I published earlier (this time with real white wine instead of orange juice), but the bugie were cooked in the oven and I added a little butter in this part of the dough, since I knew I was going to cook them without any grease. In the center, bugie fritte - ie, fried bugie. On the right, castagnole fritte - fried castagnole, see recipe before. This time, I had rum instead of whiskey. I shouldn't be the one saying it, but they were all good. The bugie made in the oven had a great success.. if I had known that, I would have made more of this type and less fried.

Castagnole al miele
I made these too. They were the same dough of castagnole, but I cooked them in the oven for a few minutes (400 F, rolling them after the first 3 minutes). Then, I covered them with honey instead of powdered sugar. I liked them quite a lot! :)

These frappe come from Milan, and their name is chiacchiere instead of frappe. 'Chiacchiere' means chats, literally.. another mistery, similar to the origin of 'bugie'. :) The dough and the taste is very similar to that of bugie, although they are slightly thicker, and the shape is different (they are smaller and they roll upon themselves). They were delicious.

Castagnole and Frittelle
The round ones are another version of castagnole, less soft than mine inside. These came from a recipe from Rome, so I guess that's why. The flat dessert on the left are frittelle, lit=small fried things, and they were really good. They are much thicker than all the other frappe, and they are soft, sweet and warm.. really wonderful.

(sorry for the blurry picture)
This is the Tuscan version of frappe, again, the name is cenci instead of frappe. Cenci means pieces of cloths (vero?!?), I guess from the shape of the sweets.
The taste was similar to bugie and chiacchiere, but they were thicker, and with some vanilla in it. They tasted less of fried, maybe because they were thicker. I really loved them.

So, as you can imagine, in the end, the prize was not assigned.. all the frappe were delicious! There were many leftovers, which were appreciated by lucky people that happened to be around the day after. :)

Grazie ad Antonella e Marco per avere ospitato questa fantastica festa a casa loro.. e per avere contribuito con alcune delle foto mostrate in questo blog. :)

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