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Sweet Carnival in Tuscany: the Florentine recipes

Traditionally, Carnival rhymes with gluttony: it is the period of abundance and celebration, preceded by the penitential phase of Lent. From confetti battles to colorful masked parades to end with rich family lunches, Carnival has always been one of the most sought-after events on the calendar.

In Tuscany people prepare simple desserts with an irresistible taste, capable of teasing generations of gourmands. Florence boasts some of the most popular Carnival specialties, imitated not only in the Florentine area, but in other Italian regions.



Quintessence of Carnival pastries, cenci (or rags) cannot miss on the tables of Florentines and Italians (in Lombardy their name is chiacchiere, in Piedmont bugie, in Veneto galani). According to some, the recipe for these Carnival sweets dates back to ancient times, to the age of the Romans, who used to eat pieces of fried dough. Easy to prepare and sprinkled with abundant icing sugar, they go perfectly with a sip of Tuscan artisan vinsanto. Rectangles of sweet fried dough, replicable in the oven for a lighter but equally delicious preparation.


Rice fritters

Soft spheres melting in the mouth, releasing citrus aromas and an intensely sugary taste. Rice fritters are like cherries: one leads to another, but it is really worth not paying attention to the diet in these moments. As well as for Carnival, in the Florentine area people prepare these delicacies for Father's Day (March 19), so as to double the opportunities for pleasure!

The recipe of this traditional dessert can change a bit from area to area, but always includes rice cooked in milk together with citrus peel. Someone adds raisins and pine nuts or stuffs them with delicious creams, but the rice fritters, just fried and sprinkled with sugar, are already irresistible.


Schiacciata alla Fiorentina

The undisputed emblem of the Carnival in Florence, the schiacciata alla Fiorentina (Florentine flatbread) is baked only on this occasion and decorated with the city lily. Pride of artisan laboratories, every year Florentine people proclaim the pastry shop of the best schiacciata alla Fiorentina.

Regarding the recipe, it seems that every pastry chef jealously cherishes its own, but the ancient origin is certain: the dessert was packaged with abundant lard during the pig slaughtering period, that is, during Carnival. In addition to the classic version without filling, today you can taste cakes stuffed with Chantilly cream, cream, chocolate, or revisited with unexpected ingredients. In any case, in Florence it is not Carnival without a slice of this traditional specialty.

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