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The typical Carnival food in France, as well as Italy, is often fried, to indulge in some naughtiness before the starting of the Lent (not sure how many people actually adhere to it).
In Nice, I found I tried and loved the Nicoise traditional fried food: the Bugnes. But my heart and my craving remain with my childhood memories:
Chiacchiere and Struffoli
The Adas’ way: with white wine and cognac!
In France, the Chiacchiere are called Oreillettes.
Depending on where you are in Italy, you can find them under different names: Chiacchiere, Frappe or Bugie.
You can also find different versions: fried, baked, thin, large, with lemon zest or orange zest.
I like to make them using the original recipe from a renowned old Italian cooking book, where they are flavored with white wine. (Il Talismano della Felicita’ by Ada Boni – 1928)
The Struffoli (or Strufoli) are more difficult to find abroad.
I have seen recipes in various English food publications for Christmas, as in Naples they are served at Christmas time. Perfect! Although in most other Italian regions, they are a typical Carnival treat. I like them so much that I am happy to eat them anytime!
They can also have different flavours: lemon, orange zest…., but I love my Aunt Ada’s recipe. Same name, but not the Ada Boni of the book.
My Aunt Ada was born in the ’20, when the Talismano della Felicita was published. She cooked in a very traditional way, and she flavoured the Struffoli with Cognac.
So in keeping with the Italian tradition, here are the two recipes that bring out the best of it:
Struffoli shaped like Gnocchi, and Chiacchiere shaped like Lasagne sheets, flavoured with Wine, Cognac and fried.
After all they are festive treats!