Napolitan Sweets

The Greeks re-founded Naples.

You can already guess this from the name (Nea-Polis) new city.
For this reason, some things are part of the root of the Neapolitan culture, even if they were not born there but in the Peloponnese and its surroundings.

Among these things there are, without a doubt, the philosophical nature of the Neapolitan people, the Orange called Puguall and especially the Struffoli.

In support of this thesis there are the Loukoumades (Ghiottonerie) which are a typical Greek dessert practically the same as the struffoli in the preparation but not in the garnishes. Let’s get to know them better, let’s start with the name.

Struffoli probably derives from the Greek Strongulos (rounded) and reflects the shape of the dessert which is in fact composed of many balls of fried dough and then seasoned with honey and garnished with Diavolilli and Cocozzata, or colored sugared almonds and candied pumpkin.

The first written recipes, we find them in a book of 1600 Il Latini where they are called Struffoli alla romana.

From Naples they subsequently spread throughout the center-south.
In the various areas they have undergone changes, as well as in the preparation also in the name.

In Sicily they have lost a fe they are called Strufoli while in Umbria and Abruzzo they are called Cicerchiata due to the similarity with the homonymous legume.

In Calabria and Lucania they are known with the name of Cicerata.
In Tarantino they are called Sannachiudere, in Salentino they are called Porcedduzzi, in other areas of Puglia Pizzi Confitti.

In some areas of Sardinia they become the Giuggeri.

Curiously, in the Tuscia area, in the Viterbo area, with the name Struffoli they are called sweets that in the rest of Italy are known as Castagnole and are prepared for the carnival.

In the past, the nuns of the various monasteries used to prepare them and give them away for the Christmas holidays, hence the custom of preparing the Struffoli for the holidays.

Their popularity has grown over the years until they become one of the sweet symbols of Christmas.

Popularity also due to the fact that among the various desserts the Struffoli are those that have the lowest cost of realization and then they can be kept for many days.

Matilde Serao in her novel “Il Paese di cuccagna” defined them

“The delight of the Neapolitan crowd at every party”

Among the conflicting theses on the origin of this dessert, one of the most popular derives the struffoli from an Andalusian dessert, Pinonate, very similar, if not for the shape, not round but oblong.

The domination, which lasted decades, experienced by Naples, on the Spanish side would also explain its diffusion in the territory.

Once, the struffoli were also called the nougat of the poor, because unlike the real one, to prepare them, cheaper raw materials are needed, than those needed for nougat.

This too has favored its diffusion among that part of the people with fewer possibilities.

Another sign of their popularity is the presence of a dedicated number in the Neapolitan Smorfia.

Struffoli make 30

An old tradition wanted them to be fried on the night of Christmas Eve awaiting the advent of the Bambinello.

From the Greek Strongulos, also derives the name of the Strangula-prievete or the strozza-prete, which are very compact gnocchi with water and flour that evidently fully satisfied the ecclesiastics of the time.

Giorgio Ruggiu.

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