Seeing them lying invitingly on their trays it is difficult not to be tempted: they are irregular and sinuous strips shaped into knots. Their presence in the shops tells us that the festa is near and the sweet aroma soon makes your mouth water. The chiacchiere in Milano are immediately associated with the idea of coloured confetti and streamers. 
Every region of Italy has its own name to describe them: in Tuscany they are called cenci, in Friuli grosoli, in Emilia sfrappole, then frappe in The Marches and bugie in Piedmont. In Milano the crumbly pastries are called chiacchiere (chitchat) and are the symbol of Carnival.

 

They are made from flour paste that is fried and then sprinkled with icing sugar. The tradition of chiacchiere probably dates back to that of frictilia, sweet cakes fried in pork fat which, in ancient Rome, were prepared precisely during the period of today's Carnival.

The names are different from region to region but the basic recipe does not change: flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Then, depending on where you are, there are those who add white wine, Marsala, brandy or Sambuca, but these are variations on the traditional recipe. And then, of course, the icing sugar that cannot be forgotten, always an essential part of the decoration!

 

Chiacchiere can be bought all over Milano, from bakeries, pasticcerie and even from the shelves of the large retail food chains.

 

Other delicacies that characterise the Ambrosian carnival are the tortelli. The pasticceri, the artisans of taste, compete to offer their loyal customers the most original version of the specialty: the lightest are the empty tortelli, then there are those filled with custard, Chantilly cream and chocolate cream. 
Created from an ancient Milanese tradition, the tortello is produced following a very old recipe known and passed down over time to the “select few” in Milano.
This dessert is like an empty pancake without much dough so it does not absorb much oil in frying. It is made only with simple and wholesome ingredients: flour, butter, water, salt, eggs. 

 

Which one would you choose? We’ll keep on eating both to make up our minds… In the meantime, come and taste them in Milano or make them at home following our recipes!

The recipe: chiacchiere

 

Ingredients
400 g flour
3 eggs
50 g sugar
50 g butter
half a glass of liquor
a pinch of salt
grated lemon peel
oil for frying
icing sugar for decoration 

 

The recipe
After having melted the butter add the sugar, mix with the flour, eggs, liquor, salt and lemon zest. When the dough has been well stirred and is very compact let it stand for half an hour. With a rolling pin roll out the dough to form the pastry and then cut the shapes with a scalloped wheel cutter. Heat the oil and fry the squares or knotted strips of pasta dough. When cool sprinkle with icing sugar.

The recipe: tortelli

Ingredients. Serves 4
60 g butter
4 eggs
150 g flour
Salt
50 g sugar
250 ml of water
Oil for frying

 

The recipe
Boil water with the butter cut into pieces, the sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the flour with a wooden spoon as soon as the water starts to boil. Stir for a few minutes until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. After removing from the heat let it cool then add the eggs, making sure to alternate whipped egg whites and yolks, adding each one only after the previous one has been amalgamated. When the mixture is ready, fry a spoonful of batter at a time in hot oil. At this point the tortelli should be gently stirred with a fork until they are cooked. The sweet is now ready to be served: the final touch is to sprinkle them with plenty of sugar.