Chiacchiere, a word which literally translates as ‘chatter or gossip’, are the most popular Carnival sweets in Italy. Their name changes slightly from region to region; for example in Tuscany and in Liguria they are known as ‘bugie’. They are usually served with “sanguinaccio”, which is a sweet cream made with dark chocolate, and they are recognized as traditional food of Basilicata in central Italy.
The history of these sweets is interesting. During the Renaissance, the week preceding Ash Wednesday was called “grasso”, meaning “fat”, because the festive banquets organized during this period were abundant and full of rich dishes such as fried sweets.
The recipe for chiacchiere contains a little alcohol and the amount and type of alcohol used also changes depending on region. In the South, they use Marsala, while in northern Italy they use Grappa.
Sanguinaccio’s name originated from the ancient use of fresh pigs’ blood in the making of it which provided its characteristic taste. But in some Italian regions, the public sale of pigs’ blood was banned in 1992. Now, Italians prepare sanguinaccio with chocolate.
Here are the recipes of these tasty and delicious sweets:
1 whole egg and 1 yolk
1 jigger of white wine
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, yolk, sugar, butter and white wine, adding the flour gradually and a little water if necessary. The dough should be soft and elastic but not too sticky. Wrap the ball of dough in cellophane and a towel and let it rest for at least an hour.
When it’s ready, divide it in two parts and roll them out. Cut the dough out into rectangular pieces, split in the middle or ribbons. Now fry each piece in hot oil until they are just golden brown, being careful to turn them so that they don’t burn. Place them on paper towels to drain any excess oil and leave them cool before dusting them with confectioners’ sugar.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
5 cups milk
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A few ramekins
In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, sugar and it and gradually add the milk. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and, stirring constantly over medium heat, slowly bring to a boil. Add the chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla and mix. Fill the ramekins to 4/5 full and allow to cool.
Have a good meal! 🙂