Something sweet for Lent time
DIPLOMATIC POUCH - Giorgio Guglielmino (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2018 - 12:00am

As Italy is so well known for its food and its culinary traditions, it is obvious that almost every day, celebration, season, holiday in my country is an occasion for a special dish. Cherries in June (but up to 24th of June, day of Saint John); lentils for New Year’s Eve (bringing money and prosperity for the year ahead); Torta Pasqualina for Easter, a special tart made with artichokes and eggs, and according to the tradition 33 almost invisible layers of dough, 33 as the age of Christ.

One of the most beautiful culinary traditions is the so called “caffè pagato” (paid coffee) otherwise called “caffè sospeso”(suspended coffee) in Naples. When a client enters a coffee place in Naples, sometimes he pays for two coffees but drinks only one. In this way, at any point a poor person can enter the cafe, ask if there is a suspended coffee and if there is one, have a cup of coffee without paying. Even the poorest people deserve their good cup of coffee in Naples!

When it comes to Lent traditions, of course there is a special food for this occasion: the Lenten Cookies or “Quaresimali.”

Quaresimali were made for the first time by nuns in a convent in Genoa (my home town) a few centuries ago. For me they are full of many sweet memories! These sweet traditional biscuits are made only during Lent using sugar, water and almond paste. They are shaped like small donuts and decorated with icing and sarsaparilla otherwise known as devils, tiny beads of sugar sprinkles in gold and different colors.

If you happen to be in Genoa during Lent time, don’t miss the chance to go to the best sweet shop and order the joyful Quaresimali. I suggest the “Pasticceria Profumo” (Via del Portello 2), Pasticceria Romanengo” (Via Roma 51) or  “Pasticceria Klainguti” (Piazza di Soziglia 98). Or maybe I could suggest Margarita Fores to do them here for “Cibo”? Not a bad idea.

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(Giorgio Guglielmino is the Ambassador of Italy)

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