Let’s go and ask for help to the writer and Neapolitanist Amedeo Colella, who in his book “Mille Paraustielli di cucina napoletana” (among the 5 books on the cuisine of Southern Italy – recommended by Gazzetta dello Sport) tells us a little bit of the story.
Sanguinaccio… why? Once upon a time, the recipe called for fresh pig’s blood among the ingredients, because in the first months of the year it was a tradition to kill the pig and we all know that… you can’t throw anything away. Since 1992, the sale of pig’s blood to the public has been banned, so either you have your pig or you settle for a dark chocolate cream (and I would say, that’s good and right).
So sanguinaccio by the spoonful or smeared on chiacchiere, or even worse on savoiardo that dies drowned in the sanguinaccio. Yes, let’s drown the Savoyard, in revenge for the Savoy invasion of the Kingdom of Naples. Serves him right!
Let’s get back to the other Carnival sweets: the chiacchiere. Delicious nastrine, strips of crispy dough that are prepared fried or baked (for those who are on a diet), the graffa (soft fried doughnut made of flour and potatoes, then dipped in sugar), and migliaccio.
Migliaccio… do you know what it is? The name derives from millet, a type of semolina used in the past for regional cookies and cakes, later replaced with durum wheat semolina. This typical cake is made with semolina and ricotta cheese flavored with lemon. In the days preceding Shrove Tuesday, mothers and grandmothers begin the preparation, following an ancient recipe handed down from generation to generation. Migliaccio has a taste more or less similar to that of pastiera, of which it is unjustly considered the poor relative.
Last, but not least: Lenten cookies! Prepared in the convent during the period of Lent, they were so simple and low in fat that they were almost not considered sweets. A bit sad, we admit, but this is precisely because as it is known “Quaraesema secca se magnava ‘a pacca secca” that is, during Lent only dried fruit was eaten, no sweets.
I think … reading about all these delicious treats, you have a great desire to visit Naples during the Carnival period. Well, we are here… to organize your trip in every detail, including culinary experiences. The only recommendation… leave your diet at home!