In this article, I am going to talk about the story of a dessert that all Italians eat on March 19th, which is father’s day in Italy.

If you want to know more about it don’t miss the following lines!

As you know, Italy is a highly Catholic country and it’s not weird that the majority of their festivities and traditions revolve around the very roots of the Catholic tradition.

Among these, I can’t fail to mention the famous March 19th, which is the Festa di San Giuseppe as well as Father’s Day. Since this is a day of celebration, an important occasion to celebrate all the dads in Italy, in addition to that, it would also be good to talk to you about a typical sweet: zeppole di San Giuseppe!

What are Zeppole? 

Zeppole di San Giuseppe are nothing more than fried sweets prepared with the dough of cream puffs and filled with custard. In short, a real treat for the palate! :)  

Even though the recipe is in the public domain, as always, there are small variations depending on the area, and the origin of this sweet is rather uncertain, but one thing we are all sure of: zeppole di San Giuseppe have been around for a long time.  


Origin of Zeppole di San Giuseppe  

The origins of zeppole di San Giuseppe, as well as those of many traditional and ancient sweets, as I have just said, are not very clear.  

 But as stated by the writer Carmen Bilotta in an article written for La gazzetta del gusto:

It is history that attributes the paternity of Zeppole di San Giuseppe to Naples. In fact, the first official recipe can be found in the Trattato di Cucina Teorico-Pratico by the famous gastronome Ippolito Cavalcanti, Duke of Buonvicino, who – in 1837 with the simple and immediate style which distinguished him – put it down in black and white in the Neapolitan language. 

Despite this historical evidence, it seems that zeppole are much more ancient and to support this theory, two legends have been passed down to us.  

  • Origin of zeppole tied to Romans.
  • Origin of zeppole tied to religion.

Let’s start from the first one: 

  • Origin of zeppole linked to Romans  

In ancient Rome, on March 17 the “liberalie” (festivities whose name derives from the god Liber [the Roman Bacchus] the Italian god of fertility, wine and freedom) were celebrated. During this day, besides parties and entertainment, wheat buns were baked in the streets of the city to be offered to the deity. 

It is believed that, later on, with the spreading of Catholicism, this pagan tradition has been partially assimilated and it is probably for this reason that today we celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day and Father’s Day by eating these delicacies. 

  • Origin of zeppole tied to religion  

Let’s now move on to the second legend that forces us to bring up religion. According to this legend, after the escape from Egypt with Mary and Jesus, Joseph was forced to join his work as a carpenter with that of a seller of fried pastries, in order to support his family. This is probably the reason why this sweet is today associated with the festivities of San Giuseppe. 

ila firma

If you need the recipe of Zeppole di San Giuseppe take a look at this profile: zona pasticciona

Here you can find easy Italian recipes! :)

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Listen to this episode about FantaSanremo in Italian! You can find the script here!