Venice is undoubtedly the Italian capital of Carnival. During this period, the city transforms into a one-of-a-kind stage that annually draws visitors from around the world to partake in a celebration of costumes, masks, music, and fun.
Numerous events in the city take center stage during Carnival. In the month of February, all the squares, canals, and venues fill with tourists whose cheerfulness contributes to creating an atmosphere of celebration and joy, culminating with the traditional “Flight of the Angel” from the bell tower of San Marco, which annually captivates the attention of all attendees.
However, Carnival in Italy is not just synonymous with masks, costumes, dances, music, and fun but also a time to savor some delicacies rooted in the regional culinary traditions. Today, let’s delve into two characteristic sweets of Carnival from one of the regions where this celebration is deeply felt and ingrained: we’re talking about Veneto, specifically Venice, where during this period, it’s not hard to find and indulge in “fritole” and “galani.”
Symbolizing the lagoon city and its historic Carnival, Venetian fritters – known to tourists as “frittelle” – are small doughs fried in boiling oil, made with flour, milk, sugar, pine nuts, and raisins. Due to their round shape and the presence of cream in some local variations, they might remind you of the more widely known “castagnole,” but the addition of pine nuts and their smaller size distinctly sets fritters apart.
But what are the origins of this sweet treat? Fritters have ancient roots: it’s known that in the 17th century, “fritoleri” formed a corporation, passing down the trade from father to son, and even women were allowed to engage in this profession. Initially sold in small wooden stalls across Venice, these delightful sweets were fried right in front of the customers’ eyes.
Galani: another Tradition from the City of Venice
Another typical sweet from the Venetian city is Galani, small layers of pastry known by various names in different parts of Italy: frappe, chiacchiere, cenci, crostoli, or bugie. The dough, much like for fritters, is fried in hot oil and then served with a dusting of powdered sugar.
The origin of “Galani” is ancient: since Roman times, sweet treats made of eggs and flour called “frictilia” were prepared. These were fried in pork fat and made by Roman women to celebrate the Saturnalia, the festival equivalent to our modern-day Carnival.
Experience Carnival in Venice with Fritole and Galani
If you have plans for a trip to the wonderful Venice during the Carnival period, you cannot miss the opportunity to experience the unique family tour in Venice, in the shadow of the bell tower of San Marco.
And at the end of this 3-hour tour, what could be better than a snack of “galani” and “fritole”? Crunchy, delicate, and with an always irregular shape, along with fritters, they are undoubtedly a must-try found in every bar, pastry shop, or restaurant in the city of Venice during the Carnival period!