For Love of Frittelle

What’s the big deal with frittelle?

After all, it’s JUST fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar, right? That was my superior attitude until I remembered I had been a devotee of Krispy Kreme growing up. And vacations in New Orleans taught me to swoon at the first bite of a beignet. So who was I to pass judgment on yet another incarnation of fried dough? Italians adore this treat, and visitors easily become converts.

Also called fritole, these pastries originated as Venetian doughnuts. Traditionally they were served during Carnevale, but now you can find them all over Italy year-round, especially at local festivals, in all shapes and sizes––particularly the large “disk” incarnation pictured above. We even found a frittelle truck in the parking lot of Obi (an Italian equivalent of Home Depot). The basic preparation is fried, yeast-risen dough that is sprinkled with powdered sugar. But, more elaborate additions are found, such as raisins and pine nuts, and pastry cream fillings.

How can Italians eat so many sweets like frittelle?

Italian food culture is built around pastries. Me? I long ago discarded muffins, pancakes, french toast, etc for the likes of a hearty scrambled-eggs-and-bacon breakfast. I stay away from bread for the most part (you’re probably laughing at this point and wondering why the hell I moved to Italy). Protein and fat work for me. Sweets? No so much.

Still, I’ve sampled frittelle, and it’s heady stuff. If your energy is lagging, you’ll get a pretty quick food high!

I’m convinced Italians have been genetically programmed to be able to subsist on pastries for breakfast, bread at almost every meal, and occasional treats like frittelle. “Occasional” is the critical word. You normally don’t see Italians overdoing it on any of the aforementioned flour-based foods. Italians seem to understand restraint. For me, however, it’s a slippery slope and abstinence is a wiser choice. I’ll take my pleasure watching the passionate consumption of frittelle by happy Italians!

Frittelle, Italywise

The frittelle stands are always hopping.

By |2019-01-19T21:49:41+01:00November 1st, 2017|A Romance with Venice, Eating in Italy, Exploring the Veneto|6 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Marion November 7, 2017 at 1:24 am - Reply

    We also have funnel cakes at fairs. Not for me anymore: just looking at the picture sends me to my blood glucose meter for testing.

    • Jed November 7, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      Funny how this fried dough incarnates in so many different names and places! I’m with you on the blood sugar rush!

      • Marion November 7, 2017 at 8:54 pm - Reply

        It is interesting how similar things come up in different cultures. I had been working with that in some cooking experiments, however, some times, with disastrous results.
        I had read how German Russian immigrants settled in Nebraska had made sweet breads with watermelon for sweetening. I tried cooking down some watermelon to provide a different sweetener. It cooked for a day and had not thickened significantly, but it smelled awful. I threw it out and aired the kitchen.
        I tasted a tamarind drink and thought, “This tastes like tea!”. I tried a blend and one taste had me pouring the rest down the drain. It took a while to forget that taste.
        well, sometimes, you lose on gambles like that.

        • Jed November 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

          Watermelon for sweet breads? Wow, that seems like such a stretch. I wonder how they perfected that. Fortunately I don’t crave sweets, but when I do, I go for stevia or a bit a Manuka honey! I’m planning to make a pumpkin chiffon cheesecake for Christmas, and I’ve got to figure out a way to do that without flooding my system with sugar! Time for research!

  2. Kathryn Smith November 2, 2017 at 2:18 am - Reply

    South Carolinians’ version of this is elephant ears, a staple at county fairs!

  3. John November 1, 2017 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    So good. Hungary calls it Langos and I loved it. They also sell it outside of Franklin Field at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. Every year, at the Penn relays, we would have one after our races.

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