Carnival is a the festival that celebrates fun and merriment, but it’s also a symbol of delicious sweets, enlivens the streets of the capital with its scents and colours, and the pastry shops in Rome and the surrounding area are ready to satisfy their customers with their typical sweet proposals.
Pastry Shop Grué – Rome
Carnival conquers the counter of the Grué pastry shop, and it does so with a triumph of delicious, light fried food. In the laboratory of Marta Boccanera and Felice Venanzi, the watchword is quality, starting from the refined techniques used to develop the traditional sweets: if it is true that the most colourful festival of the year sees the protagonists castagnole and frappe, the secret of Grué’s success lies in the frying, made with the use of Frigoloso, an avant-garde oil obtained from a mix of 100% Italian sunflower oils. This technique gives the products a crispness and freshness due to the presence of essential bergamot oil. The result, elegant to the palate and nose, is further ennobled by the lightness of the pieces, fried in small quantities so as to absorb 30% less oil.
On the filling side, the castagnole stand out, made with a light dough filled with vanilla custard, vanilla Chantilly cream, dark chocolate cream, certified Bronte DOP green pistachio cream and zabaglione with cream enriched with Marsala Terre Arse aged 15 years from the Sicilian winery Florio, but there is also room for the delicious tiramisu castagnole, filled with creamy mascarpone and espresso coffee.
Frappe, on the other hand, are presented in two types, classic with icing sugar or covered with strips of dark chocolate, characterised by a delicate and thin dough, crispy and irresistible. But the novelty of Carnival 2022 are the fried doughnuts, prepared from a dough similar to that of the cream puff and available either plain or filled with custard.
Confectionary D’Antoni – Rome
Tradition is at home at Pasticceria D’Antoni: here you can’t miss the delicious proposals linked to Carnival and its history, with innovative touches that look to the future. This is the case with this year’s new D’Antoni product, the churros, made with a potato-based dough and without eggs, to be accompanied by caramel, chocolate or cream sauces.
Then there are the classic carnival frappes, either fried or baked: the former are enriched with a drizzle of honey and coloured sprinkles, while the latter are made even more inviting with a dark chocolate coating. And to stay true to tradition, castagnole, lightly dipped in rum, are also on offer
The frittelle venete – Veneto fritters – are original, made from a puff pastry and flavoured with rum or marsala, with a filling of rum-soaked sultanas and diced apples. Finally, if you’re looking for a rich taste of sweetness, don’t miss the shortcrust half-moons filled with ricotta and sultanas or the ricotta and dark chocolate chip version.
Madeleine – Rome
Madeleine‘s Carnival is a voyage of discovery into French tradition, which in the preparations of the Parisian-inspired bistro in the Prati district meets Italian culture, for a rich and varied menu. This twinning of customs has given rise to desserts that are all worth trying, starting with the soft castagnole, which can be filled with ricotta cheese, but also with hazelnut cream, in the version with pastry or jam. Or the “bugnes“, typical transalpine sweets of the period, which, according to a legend, could be the ancestor of Italian chiacchiere.
In Saint Étienne, “bugnes” were only prepared on Shrove Tuesday to mark the end of the masked celebrations and the beginning of Easter Lent. These pancakes are made from a mixture of brewer’s yeast, which must rise for up to 12 hours in order to guarantee ring-shaped cakes that, once fried, take on volume and an inviting golden colour.
And let’s stay in France with the typical girelle, which are made from a leavened dough that is then flattened and enriched by brushing with melted butter. Once rolled up, it is cut into rounds, flavoured with herbs or spices, and then fried.
Divino cioccolato – Aprilia – Rome
Divino‘s chocolate creations also celebrate Carnival. Valerio Esposito and Jennifer Boero’s artisan chocolate shop in Aprilia offers chocolate-based works of sweetness, such as Venetian masks – maschere veneziane – made from three types of chocolate – dark, milk, and white. There are also the colourful chocolate bears, original pralines in various flavours to be discovered. And then there is the praline dedicated to Carnival, a preparation that refers to the pastry tradition of this occasion: for this special tribute, it is filled with a honey ganache and frappe crumble.