Final weekend of Venice Carnival
It's 'Fat Tuesday'--Farewell to Carnival!

Frittelle: Venice's Carnival doughnuts

Frittelle from Tonolo 
ABOVE: Frittelle from Tonolo, one of Venice's most celebrated pastry shops. Starting clockwise from left, the varieties shown here include cioccolate, zabaioneveneziane, and mele or apple. INSET BELOW: Interior views of a frittella veneziana and a chocolate-filled fritter.

Fritella veneziana from TonoloFrittelle, or fritters, are the most famous dolci or sweets of Venice Carnival. (They're followed closely in popularity by galani, the crisp, airy pastry strips that are known as chiacchierechiaccherecrostili and other names elsewhere in Italy.)

Fritelle con cioccolata from Pasticceria Tonolo in Venezia Frittelle begin showing up in pastry shops, bakeries, and snack bars during the weeks leading up to il Carnevale di Venezia. When Carnival is over, frittelle disappear from the store windows almost as quickly as tourists in masks or cheap plastic cow costumes vanish from the Piazza San Marco.

Like doughnuts or crullers, frittelle come in a variety of styles, both filled and unfilled. At Tonolo, which may be Venice's best-known pasticceria, the available choices usually include:

Frittelle veneziane. No filling, but with raisins and pine nuts mixed into the fairly heavy dough. After frying, the frittelle are rolled in granulated sugar.

Frittelle con crema chantilly. Filled with a light vanilla-flavored pastry cream and rolled in granulated sugar.

Frittelle con cioccolata. Filled with a mild chocolate-flavored pastry cream and rolled in granulated sugar.

Frittelle con zabaione. Filled with a Marsala-flavored pastry cream and rolled in granulated sugar.

Frittelle con mele. These are quite a bit different from the other varieties: For each fritter, a thick ring of apple is covered in batter and fried. Instead of being more or less spherical like other frittelle, an apple frittella looks something like a doughnut, with a flattish shape and a hole in the center.

Note: At some pastry shops and bakeries, cream-filled frittelle are rolled in confectioner's sugar (or left uncoated), with only the classic veneziane version being covered in granulated sugar. Ricotta cheese is another common filling, and a bar near the Accademia Bridge serves a non-traditional but popular Nutella version.

For another take on frittelle, with pictures, see Karen Henderson's post in her "The Venice Experience" blog.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Andrew Hall

I remember being in Venice for Carnival a few years ago and REALLY enjoying fritelle. On Ash Wednesday we went back to the baker's for another fix only to be told that carnival was over and so were the fritelle. Always grab a fritelle when it's available. Andrew

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)