Ten Saintly Sweets

The actual title of the article at Atlas Obscura starts with “sinless sweets,” which sounds like something to eat with no fat, no sugar, and no pleasure. That’s a bit misleading, because these sweets have plenty of what makes food worth eating -but they were developed specifically to celebrate the feast days of certain saints. That in itself should make you feel virtuous as you stuff your face! For example, in Italy they enjoy bigne for the feast of San Giuseppe, or St. Joseph.

Like many stepparents, St. Joseph doesn’t get the respect he deserves year round, but at least his feast day is a big deal in Italy where it’s essentially the equivalent of Father’s Day in the United States. No San Giuseppe feast would be complete with out the bigne, or zeppoli — sugar-covered fritters filled with custard or cannoli filling and topped with chocolate or candied cherries.

Though most people think of Joseph as a carpenter, he’s nicknamed “frittellaro” in Rome. According to local legend, he sold fried pancakes after the flight to Egypt to support Jesus and Mary, hence their inclusion in his feast day.

After all, it’s pretty difficult to eat tables and chairs to celebrate a carpenter! This list has ten different saints, feast days, and decadent traditional desserts you can try at Atlas Obscura. 


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