We are celebrating this ancient festival today, when anything goes (or almost!).
There are many foods associated with this event, all involving the consuming of rich and fatty foods, since the following day is Ash Wednesday, when, in the past, all meat was forbidden for the forty days of Lent, as a sacrifice. As a matter of fact, the word Carnevale comes from the Latin carnem levare, which translates to ‘take away meat’.
The point of Carnevale, also known in the US as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), is to enjoy this day in every possible way, eating a variety of delicious foods. Many traditions are associated with the Italian Carnevale, including celebrating with amazing costumes and masks borrowed from the famous Commedia dell’Arte.
In my family, when I was growing up in Italy, we wore cute cardboard masks, sometimes costumes, and there would be lively plays and poem reciting at school.
My mother always made the delicious Frappe di Carnevale, also known as Cenci, or Chiacchiere. They are dough ribbons, fragrant with lemon and wine (or brandy), deep fried till golden, tender and light. They are super easy to make, and here is my recipe!
Buon Carnevale, and eat up!