La Festa di San Giuseppe (Feast of Saint Joseph) is celebrated throughout Italy on March 19th each year. Wherever you are, you’re sure to find some sort of celebration. Traditional dishes and desserts on this day honor the husband of the Virgin Mary. In the Lombardy region it’s traditional to eat tortelli. If you’re in the Molise region you’ll sit down to a 13-course meal. In Apulia you’ll have a similar 13 course meal, but with a peppery twist. In Sicily platters of food are served alongside special breads. As tantalizing as the thought of these large Italian meals are, it’s the desserts that are my main attraction.
Zeppole, Fritelle or Bigne di San Giuseppe, an Italian donut by any name and I’ll line up to buy some. What’s the difference? Depends on where in Italy you are. If you are in Rome, Tuscany, Umbria and points north, they are called fritelle, made with rice and filled with custard. Further South in Naples, Campania or Sicily, its zeppole you’re looking for. Each have a base of flour, egg, butter and sugar. Bigne di San Giuseppe are deep fried, filled with custard and then rolled in sugar. Zeppole are deep fried balls rolled in sugar or drizzled in honey.
The variety of zeppole in Southern Italy vary even further by region. In Campania they are sprinkled with powdered sugar and use cherries in syrup for decoration. Near Lecce, they may have some grated lemon and are fried or baked. Sicilian zeppole are fried and dressed with orange honey and powdered sugar with cinnamon. In Reggio Calabria they are small cream puffs stuffed with ricotta. The bottom line is if you like sweets, you’ll find them at a Festa di San Giuseppe. Mangiare dolci!
#zeppole #fritelle #sangiuseppe #19marzo #italianfestivals #italy #dolci
Fritelle with White Wine Salvadonica, Chianti, Tuscany via Foter.com / CC BY
Zeppole in a Cone arnold | inuyaki via Foter.com / CC BY
Zeppole in Donut Shape Auntie Katkat via Foter.com / CC BY
Making Zeppole emilydickinsonridesabmx via Foter.com / CC BY