"Chiacchere": to sweeten up Carnival's time! | Senza categoria

“Chiacchere”: to sweeten up Carnival’s time!

Carnival, the time preceding Easter festivity, is traditionally a period full with cakes and sweets in italy.

This because, during Lent (the weeks before Easter) people are asked to maintain a frugal diet, thus giving up eating meat and traditionally, during Lent, no parties or other celebrations are held, and people refrains from eating rich foods, such as meat, dairy, fats and sugar. The forty days of Lent, recall the Gospel accounts of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, serve to mark an annual time of turning.

This is why in the days before Lent, all rich food and drink had to be disposed of and in Italian kitchens starts a blaze of sweets, cakes and pies.

Today’s recipe is a traditional sweet eaten during the Carnival period, the Chiacchere, a very friable fried sweet sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Here’s the recipe for a batch of Chiacchere! happy cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 70gr of butter
  • vanilla flavouring
  • baking powder
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 500 gr flour
  • salt
  • liquor
  • 3 eggs
  • oilseed

Preparation:

Sift the flour with the baking powder and place it all in the bowl of a robot with the butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, half a glass of liquor (brandy or othersweet liquor) and a pinch of salt.

Mix and knead the ingredients well for a few minutes, up when the dough will be smooth and elastic. Shape it as a ball and leave it to rest for around 1 hour, well wrapped in transparent wrap in a cool place.

Flatten the dough and then, with a scalloped wheel-cut form some 5cmx10cm strips, with two parallel edges in the middle.

Fry the strips in hot but not boiling oilseed, turning them on both sides and paying attention not tu burn them.
Drain them on absorbent paper and, when cold, sprinkle with vanilla icing sugar and serve.
carnival chiacchere

And now.. Buon appetito!

Would you like to discover and learn other tasty Florentine recipes?

Have a look at our cooking couses in Florence!

 

 

"Chiacchere": to sweeten up Carnival's time! | Senza categoria

Epiphany in Florence (2): The Ride of the Three Wise Men

If you are in Florence today, you’d better not miss the amazing Ride of the Three Wise Men: a parade with an historical procession with almost 700 role-players will light up the streets downtown Florence this afternoon.

magi2

The event is the Catholic procession that commemorates the Onors given by the Three Wise Men to Jesus. The origins of this celebration are accredited from the fifteenth century when in Florence, a religious based company of lay people dedicated to the Magi (the Three Wise Men) organized a festive representation of the event; this happened every three years initially and every five years since 1447, paraded through the streets of Florence.

The parade, the so-called “Cavalcata dei Magi” was composed of three different processions that gathered in front of the Baptistery and continued together until the Basilica of San Marco, where with songs and prayers worshiped Baby Jesus. 

Of the above mentioned Society of the Three Wise Men, also known as “COmpany of the Star”,were involved  many of the major components of the Medici family, and for this with their expulsion from Florence, in 1494, the Initiative was suppressed. Since then, the Cavalcade of the Magi underwent multiple transformations over the years until it became the yearly parade represented in the present age.

Useful information:

from 11am: Live Nativity in Piazza del Duomo on the parvis of the Cathedral

from 2pm: start of the parade from Palazzo Pitti and, in the meantime, live Christmas Choirs in Piazza del Duomo

3:30pm: arrival of the procession and parade in Piazza del Duomo, where the Wise Men will put their gifts at the feet of Baby Jesus in the live Nativity.Reading of the Daily Gospel and greetings from H.E. Cardinal Giuseppe Betori.

magi

Would you like to study the frescoes from Benozzo Gozzoli which the clothesand dressings of the parade are inspired from? Or should you wish to have a deepen perspective on the Medici family and their role in Florentine HIstory? Take a look at our Art History and our History of Florence courses!

"Chiacchere": to sweeten up Carnival's time! | Senza categoria

Epiphany in Florence (1): the roots of a Religious and Civil festivity

The term Ἐπιφάνεια was used by the Greeks to indicate the action or manifestation of a deity; today with Epiphany (January 6th) is celebrated the first manifestation of the divinity of Jesus to all humanity, with the solemn visit and the ‘offer of  highly significant gifts and the adoration of the Magi (the Three Wise Men).

The event is of fundamental importance to the Christian tradition, and it has been reflected in numerous works of art.

In many cultures the celebration of the Epiphany is accompanied by symbols and traditions of very ancient derivation (solar cults) mixed with more recent influences: Among Those there is the Befana! befana

In Italian folklore, the Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5) in a similar way to Sinterklaas or Santa Claus.The character may have originated in central Italy, then spread as a tradition to the rest of Italy.

In popular folklore Befana is prtrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick, who visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. In many rural parts of Italy, a stick in a stocking was placed instead of coal. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. To some the sweeping meant the sweeping away of the problems of the year. The child’s family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for the Befana.

calza befanaChristian legend had it that Befana was approached by the biblical Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men (or the three kings) a few days before the birth of the Infant Jesus. They asked for directions to where the Son of God was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village, with the most pleasant home. The magi invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. That night she was not able to find them, so to this day, La Befana is searching for the little baby. She leaves all the good children toys and candy (“caramelle”) or fruit, while the bad children get coal (“carbone”), onions or garlic.

Learn how to prepare some delicious regional sweets and treats with our cooking courses!