Venice Carnival – The History and Some Great Recipes

It’s that time of year again!

Venice Carnival is just over the horizon. Between 16thFebruary and 5thMarch, thousands of revellerswill pack the streets of Venice to enjoy the sights, sounds, foods, and Italian wines of one of the world’s most famous carnivals.

Perhaps you’ll find yourself among them. And if so, you’re in for a treat.

For the rest of us, the best we can do it to try and emulate the carnival in our own homes. And the best way to do that is to cook up a little carnival food and enjoy a few glasses of Venetian wine.

We’re going to give you a few recipes right here.

But first, let’s look at a brief history of this wonderful event.

The Venice Carnival History

Held every year, the Venice carnival has a religious overtone. It’s held in the weeks leading up to Lent, which is the period during which Christians forgo many of their Earthly pleasures in the build-upto Easter.

That means the carnival is all about celebrating and indulging in those pleasures for several weeks before fasting that follows.

The exact origins of the carnival aren’t known. But the most popular story says that it was started in 1162. The Republic of Venice had just scored a major victory against the Patriarch of Aquileia and the carnival was thrown to celebrate the occasion.

Whatever the case may be, the carnival has been an official tradition in Venice since Renaissance times.

Unfortunately, the 1800s saw the carnival fade into obscurity. For nearly two hundred years, it was barely held at all.

That changed in 1979. The Venetian government reintroduced the carnival in an effort to bring back the history and culture of their city.

Today, it attracts over 3 million people to Venice every single year. Many of these visitors don masks in the same way that the carnival-goers of hundreds of years ago did.

All of them indulge in some wonderful Italian wine and amazing foods.

Let’s look at some recipes for some of the foods that’ll be served at this year’s carnival.


A traditional carnival food, you’ll need the following ingredients to make Chiacchiere:

  • One and a half ounces of confectioner’s sugar
  • A pound of all-purpose flour
  • Half a cup of milk
  • A couple of eggs
  • One and a half ounces of butter
  • A tablespoon of Grappa
  • Pinches of both baking powder and salt
  • Some vanilla powder
  • A little frying oil as needed

You may also want to keep some confectioner’s sugar on the side to act as a garnish.

Now, just follow these steps to make it.

Step 1

Pour your flour onto a surface and make a hold in the centre.

Add all of your ingredients into that hole, barring your milk. Begin kneading the dough while gradually adding milk as you go. Add a little, knead it in, then add a little more.

Step 2

Keep kneading the dough until it’s completely smooth. Now, place some plastic wrap over the dough and leave it to sit for 15 minutes.

Step 3

Divide the dough into pieces and use a rolling pin to roll each piece out until it’s a tenth of an inch thick. You can cut the pieces into shapes if you want.

Step 4

Boil some frying oil in a pan over high heat. Make sure the oil is deep enough to completely cover a dough piece.

Add your dough to the oil and leave it submerged for between 30 seconds and one minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the dough piece and place it on some parchment paper. Repeat for each piece.

Step 5

Dust the pieces with some of your sugar. You can store them for a couple of days or serve them immediately.

Fried Custard

Perhaps you fancy something a little less doughy.

Traditional Venetian fried custard may be the dish for you. Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Six ounces of all-purpose flour
  • Four cups of milk
  • 7 ounces of granulated starch
  • One and three-quarterounces of corn starch
  • Six cups of frying oil
  • Eight egg yolks
  • A little bit of grated lemon zest

Furthermore, you’ll need to keep four of the egg whites that result from extracting your egg yolks, plus five ounces of breadcrumbs. You’ll use these to coat your custard pieces later on.

Here are the steps for making this tasty treat.

Step 1

Pour the sugar and egg yolks into a mixing bowl and mix well.

Step 2

Pour about 100 grams of your milk into the bowl and keep mixing. Heat the rest of the milk as you do this.

Step 3

Add your corn starch and continue mixing. Then, add your flour and again keep mixing.

Step 4

With your ingredients well mixed, add your grated lemon to the milk that you’ve just heated. Pour the milk into the mixture and keep mixing over heat.

Step 5

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and pour your custard into it. Use a spatula to spread the custard evenly and give it some time to cool.

Now, cover the custard with some oven paper.

Preheat your frying oil as you wait for the custard to completely cool.

Step 6

When the custard completely cools, cut it into squares. Coat these squares in your breadcrumbs and egg whites.

Step 7

Pop your squares in the frying pan and fry them in your oil.


You have tastyfried custard squares to enjoy as a dessert.

The Final Word

Both of these sweet treats will offer you just the smallest taste of what it’s like to visit the Venice carnival.

As for your wine choice, it’s best to go with something local to maintain the flavourof the event. Why not try a Valpolicella wine? Or if you prefer something a little lighter, you might consider the famous Prosecco of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene.

Whatever the case may be, we’re sure you’ll love these desserts and may have you a wonderful carnival season.



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