Carnevale di Venezia has begun. No worries if you can’t make it there by sundown, Venice is the most magical city in the world - any time of the year. I am amazed at Venice's centuries old inner workings and how the most simplest of tasks even happen. Have you ever stopped and watched a truck making deliveries? Now, just imagine it all done via boat, no autos. What's not to love; the people, the art, the food, the vaporettos. Ahh, the Venice way of life.
The Carnival of Venice is the most internationally known festival outside of Fat Tuesday’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans. However the celebration in Venice, Italy is one of the oldest. This congregation of masked people, began in the 15th century, but the tradition can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th Century.
Historically, the streets of Venice during Carnival are full of people in masks, with no differentiation made between nobility and the common people. Generally, the costume worn was a cloak with a long-nosed mask. Also popular were masked couples, where a man and a woman would dress as allegorical characters. In the squares, street-artists and singers entertain with songs and music.
The gastronomy of Carnival was originally rich in fats with foods such as gnocchi, tortellini, lasagna and pastries; such as Galani. The purpose; use up all those forbidden foods like eggs, fat and sugar before the Lenten season began. Party, consume and repeat.
Galani, is also known as fried ribbons, bow ties or angel wings in the U.S. The ribbons of sweet pasta dough are fried and covered with sugar or honey. It takes on different names throughout central Europe including; chrusciki, krusczyk, frappe, frappole, sfrappole, flappe, cenci, crustci, donzelli, crostoli, galani in Veneto, lattughe, nastri delle suore, bugie, and gigi. No matter what you call them - they are addictive.
Here's my recipe for Galani, aka Angel Wings.