Struffoli – Fried & Seasoned / Net Weight: 230gr. TORTORA
Struffoli are the most Neapolitan desserts there are. On a par with the sfogliatella and the famous pastiera, and certainly more than the babà, of Polish origin. Who invented the struffoli? Not the Neapolitans, despite their proverbial creativity. It seems that the Greeks brought them to the Gulf of Naples, at the time of Partenope. And the name “struffolo” derives from the Greek: precisely from the word “strongoulos”, rounded. Also in Greek, the word “pristòs” means cut. By assonance, a “strongoulos pristòs”, that is a cut round ball: that is to say the struffolo, in Magna Graecia became “strangolapre (ve) te”: the name given to super-compact dumplings, able to “choke” the greedy members of the clergy. Since the lack of certainty stimulates the imagination, someone else has invented that struffolo derives from rubbing: the gesture performed by those who work the dough, to roll it into a cylinder before cutting it into balls. There are also those who mistakenly believe that the struffolo is so called because it “rubs” the palate: in the sense that it tickles it, for its goodness. And who even thinks that the root of struffoli is to be connected to lard (the type of fat with which in ancient times they were made and in which they were fried) If it is not yet clear from which etymology – nor from which region – the struffoli come ( there are also those who give birth to them in the Middle East), vice versa it is very clear where they go: first in our bellies, and then on the hips (if we have swallowed too many). Their path is also well known: the struffoli have gone all over central and southern Italy. Two famous cuisine treatises from the 1600s, the Latini and the Nascia, mention as “strufoli – or even struffoli – alla romana” sweets prepared in the same way as the Neapolitan struffoli. In Umbria and Abruzzo the struffolo is called cicerchiata, because the balls of fried dough tied with honey have the shape of cicerchie: legumes that it is better not to eat because of their poisonous seeds that can cause paralysis and hallucinations (in certain areas of Italy, “what, have you eaten cicerchie?” Is equivalent to saying “do you have traveggole?”). Hence, two names (struffoli and cicerchiata) for the same dessert. But also the opposite: two different desserts with the same name. Struffoli, precisely. The inhabitants of Tuscia, a region around Viterbo, still call struffoli those soft and light dough fritters that elsewhere are called “castagnole”, and are eaten at Carnival.