Buon Martedì Grasso!

20 Feb

That would be Happy Mardi Gras for all you non-Italian but pseudo-French speakers…

Carnevale is about to end, that celebration of excess before the 40 days of Lent. Here in Rome you may see little children parading around in costumes and blowing noisemaker horns in the days and even weeks leading up to today. It’s the closest approximation to Halloween that I’ve seen here, and I think it’s so funny because it’s completely random. It’s just a regular day in Feburary and suddenly you see a parent holding their kid’s hand, and the kid is dressed up as a little witch or goblin or something. It’s cute. Less cute in my opinion is the multi-colored paper confetti that the kids throw all over the ground, and I’m talking in mass quantities, not a “light dusting,” which must be supremely irritating for the street sweepers yet extremely gratifying if you usually aren’t allowed to litter. And, as Italian as it may sound, confetti isn’t called confetti here in Italy. Actually, confetti are the white Jordan almonds you get at a wedding, which I will chat with you about in post coming to a blog near you soon (as yours truly is still planning to get married next month), but confetti confetti is called coriandoli (cor-ee-AHN-doh-lee).

Of course, Venice is the real hot spot for Carnevale revelers. I’ve never been, just like I’ve never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but one of these days it might be fun to see what it’s like. Another good place to check out Carnevale festivities and a famous parade of floats is in Viareggio. The float parade continues even after the 20th (there is another parade on the 25th).

Personally, my favorite part of Carnevale is seen in the photo at the beginning of this post. Frappe. MMMM. Strips of dough fried up light and crispy and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. It’s like getting fresh fruit in season: you can only get frappe around Carnevale time, then they disappear from the bakeries until next year.

Have you ever done anything to celebrate Carnevale?


11 Responses to “Buon Martedì Grasso!”

  1. christina February 20, 2007 at 11:05 am #

    Same in Germany – it’s called Karneval or Fasching up here in the morth. The kids got dressed up yesterday and had parties at school.

  2. Michellanea February 20, 2007 at 1:26 pm #

    We call them chiacchere up here in the nord! I love ’em and I hope they are vegetarian (there’s always that fear that they’ve slipped some lard in there somewhere…). It’s strange because I’m not a bit sweets person – if it isn’t covered in bitter dark chocolate, I usually don’t touch it. Yummy.

  3. Shelley - At Home in Rome February 20, 2007 at 2:00 pm #

    Christina: Ciao Mausi!! Karneval, I get, but Fasching? Hmmm… Michellanea: You’re so funny, I totally hear you, I wouldn’t be surprised–you have definitely grasped the Itals unique concept of vegetarianism. Actual conversation with waiter when I was working with study abroad students from California, many of whom are vegetarian: Me: “Is this dish vegetarian?”Waiter: “Yes.”Me: “But doesn’t it have prosciutto in it?” Waiter: “Well, yes, of course, but it’s only in the sauce, you see…” Me: “Oh. So that makes it vegetarian?” It’s all about the quantity of meat, lard, etc. Just a little is OK! 😉

  4. nyc/caribbean ragazza February 20, 2007 at 2:09 pm #

    Yummy. I saw a recipe for these fried dough treats with sugar on Giada’s show. I think I will have to try to make them after my trip.

  5. Delina February 20, 2007 at 3:09 pm #

    Some kids throw eggs here and use the spray foam too. Little terrors.

  6. Isabelle February 20, 2007 at 4:35 pm #

    Nothing here but I remember that, as a kid, in the East of France, I used to disguise myself (usually as a fairy ;-)) and go to school all dressed-up every year. In France we make “beignets de Carnaval”, that look a lot like these frappe !

  7. Susan February 20, 2007 at 6:43 pm #

    What a great post! You made feel as if I were there. Except I don’t think I got a good enough taste of the frappe.;) Mmmm fried dough. Growing up in Italian-heavy Providence, RI, we always had fried dough with cinnamon and sugar at Christmas time and for saints days feasts. It was always the longest line.So glad I discovered your site!

  8. Flambeaux February 21, 2007 at 1:57 am #

    Shelley,You’re getting married during the middle of Lent?

  9. Kelli February 21, 2007 at 6:43 pm #

    I haven’t ever done a darn thing to celebrate carnival. Maybe one day I’ll go to Rio! That would be fun.Hope you are having a great week! 🙂

  10. Violette February 22, 2007 at 1:12 am #

    I collected a lot of beads in New Orleans.

  11. Cynthia Rae February 22, 2007 at 8:34 am #

    I went to Venice for the Carnivale last year and it was wonderful! There were a ton of people there and Venice was even MORE expensive than normal.I think it was a once in a life time thing.Cyn

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