Tasty ideas for Father’s Day
In Italy, fathers are celebrated with small gifts, handicrafts, and the ultimate treat: traditional sweet treats. However, this celebration can be modernised with some new ideas to try out in your kitchen
Even if there are various dates to celebrate fathers around the world, Italy follows the Catholic tradition, celebrating dads on 19 March, the day dedicated to Saint Joseph, whose cult has been celebrated since the early Middle Ages.
As is often the case in Italy, religious festivals are incorporated into those already widespread at a popular level, and Father’s Day is no different. In many localities in Italy, fires were lit on 19 March to celebrate the end of winter. This was a way of celebrating the change of season, burning old brushwood, and honouring the father figure with a symbolic and ‘strong’ gesture. Needless to say, on these occasions many people gathered – and in some places still do – so what better excuse to eat something together?
The zeppole di San Giuseppe and other sweets
The putative father of Jesus is linked to the name of the best-loved and most popular sweets for this special family feast day, which goes hand in hand with the ever-present and sweet Mother’s Day.
The zeppole di San Giuseppe pastries are typical of Campania: soft puffs of choux pastry, fried or baked and filled with custard. The essential touch is the candied black cherry, which should be on top of the zeppole as a cap. An absolute treat, and one that has made these pastries famous throughout Italy and the world.
Still about zeppole, the Sicilian ones, also dedicated to Father’s Day, are made of rice. They come from Catania and are also called crespelle di riso, they are fried and bear the unmistakable scent of Sicilian citrus fruits and honey.
Instead, in Tuscany and Umbria, rice fritters are made on Father’s Day (who, here, as in all of Central Italy, is called ‘babbo’) and, in many cases are enriched with dried fruit and sultanas. Accompanying these sweets with mulled wine is quite a must, to warm up in the last days of winter, before finally welcoming spring.
Northern Italy is no less impressive in its celebrations of 19 March, in which even today raviola cannot be missed. This sweet dumpling, declined in the feminine form (instead of ‘raviolo’ in masculine), was once prepared and then shared with the neighbourhood, especially in the Bologna area. Half-moon-shaped cakes, made of soft short pastry, with a filling made of apple mostarda, or quince pears or even prunes and orange peel. Raviole can also be baked or fried.
Two recipes for modern dads
To really surprise modern dads, you can break away a little from tradition and surprise them with a couple of unusual ideas.
For dads who enjoy classic flavours but with a touch of zest, we suggest trying our Stuffed Onions recipe. Not only are they soft, sweet and fragrant, but they are also healthy and perfect for sporty and food-loving dads. The recipe created by our chef is vegetarian and calls for baked onions stuffed with potatoes, with cherry tomatoes, pecorino cheese and Parmesan cheese: all ingredients that lend the dish an intense aroma and flavour.
There is nothing more fun than an aperitif to keep Italian dads, and not just them, happy. The aperitif is the ultimate youthful option, as well as an easy and undemanding way to toast a special occasion together. One to make at home in just a few steps and sure to impress is the American Dad cocktail: we have created a video recipe to prepare it together with our bartender Silvia Ghioni in just a few steps, at home. This is a reinterpretation of the classic American cocktail, and this time we propose the variant with red beer instead of soda and with a spicy note of cinnamon. And to accompany it? A plain rosemary focaccia will provide the whole family with a fun and tasty festive moment.