Carnival originates as a catholic event. It marks the end of the “week of seven fat days”. All across Europe, people celebrate carnival in diverse ways. They take place between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, so it’s the last chance until Easter to eat meat.
What exactly is Carnival?
The word “Carnevale” dates back to the 1400s. It means “to say farewell to meat”. The celebrations are often associated with Venice or nowadays Brazil. The carnival spirit is all about costumes, masks, street parties and culture. Yet delicious food plays also a vital part!
When thinking about carnival, Italy is pops into mind as the obvious choice. But the French also have rich celebration traditions. Carnival de Nice is one of the oldest celebrations dating back to 1294. Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” and marks the end of celebrations. On this day, people in France ate all the remaining fatty foods stored at their homes. People usually ate dishes which contained butter, milk, eggs and other perishable products.
France is famous for its delicious desserts and carnival is no exception. That’s the perfect time to indulge in different kind of pastries. Each region in France has its own traditions, but there’s one thing they have in common – the beignets! They come in different names, like “ganses”, “bugnes”, “oreillettes” or “merveilles”. There are slight differences in recipes based on a region.
The beignets consist of a deep-fried dough. They resemble doughnuts a bit. The common flavours include orange flower, plum, citrus or mirabelle liquers. Even though, the dough is deep-fried it has a delicate taste as well as a melt-in-the-mouth texture. They’re best served warm with powdered sugar icing.
Two other treats, which can be also found during the celebrations are crepes and waffles. The crepes originate from Brittany. Still, they are very popular in France, especially during Mardi Gras. Like waffles they can include many different kinds of toppings and additions. Imagination is the limit!
Carnival is a good opportunity to join in different kinds of celebrations. That’s when we can get to know great recipes which withstand the test of time. Pastries like beignets are a great example of tradition and great taste. Do You like French cousine? Check out the Salt Flakes restaurant and enjoy a real taste of French sweets in London’s Twickenham!