Sfilata di Carnevale a Trieste
February 9, 2016
Carnevale and sweets go hand in hand in Trieste. Krapfen, crostoli, fritolle are all hugely indulgent treats served up by the pasticceria and bars during Carnevale. Their origins are based on the unique Austro-Hungarian, Venetian and Istrian history of Trieste. In the past ten days or so I have substituted two fritolle for my regular morning brioche to go with my capo in “B”!
Today Tuesday, known world wide I think, as Mardi Gras (French for “Fat “ Tuesday or Martedi Grasso in Italian), reflects the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before what was once the ritual 40 days of fasting before Easter.
Of Venetian origin fritolle are the shape of small “golf balls” and are made from a batter of flour, eggs, milk and sugar, with raisins and/or pine nuts, fried and served with a sprinkling of sugar. There are also many variations including a filling of Nutella or a filling of vanilla pastry cream.
Krapfen as the name implies are of Austrian origin. These are circular shaped (kind of like a donut without the whole in the middle) and have a filling of jam or pastry cream. They are made from a batter of flour, sugar, yeast, egg yolks, lemon rind and a bit of rum. The batter is deep-fried.
Crostoli are also deep-fried so the theme of decadence continues here! Crostoli in Trieste are of Istro-venetian origin. Flour, butter, cream, egg yolks, sugar and then every family recipe has its secret ingredient, perhaps a little grappa, perhaps a little wine are combined to make a pastry that is rolled out as thin as possible, cut into strips and then quickly deep-fried. The best crostoli are paper-thin, crispy to bite into and then just melt in your mouth.
Each rione – or neighbourhood of Trieste – plans and designs floats and costumes for the Sfilata or Carnevale Parade that takes place on Martedi Grasso. And best of all for the children the schools are closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so that all can join in the festivities.
The forecast for Tuesday was not great- cool and rainy – but the forecasters were wrong! The afternoon turned out to be mild around 14C or so and there were even a few sunbeams that broke through the grey clouds to add brightness to the colorful costumes and floats (cari in Italian). The great weather made for a huge crowd as well with an estimated 20,000 people lining the parade route from Piazza Oberdan to Piazza Unita d’Italia.