San Gennaro Feast


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San Gennaro, the patron saint of Napoli, is celebrated not only in Italy, but in N.Y.C.

For 92 years, there has been a street festival in his honor. Some claim this 11 day street fair is the largest in the U.S. All I know is that it seems to get more claustrophobically crowded every year. (1.5 million people attending at last count) I stopped going a few years ago, contenting myself with the Italian-American fairs near my suburb, but my children go. They've loved it since childhood.

It's the fair memorialized in "The Godfather". Remember?

In addition to the procession of the statue, the ferris wheel and carnival games, and the music, the big attraction is also the food. It's all good. I don't know what it is, but the food quality declines with every mile from N.Y.C. The same applies to Chinese food.

My personal favorite is zeppole, deep fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar and served in a little paper bag. The pastries as a whole are delicious, especially Ferrara's Bakery ones. One thing I used to always bring home is the torrone, because it's the real, teeth cracking kind, not that squishy, nauseating packaged kind.


Everyone's mad about cannoli, but there's so much else. My personal favorite are sfogliatelle: so crispy, with the pastry not overwhelmed by the filling.


They have to use a hammer and chisel to break it up. :)

I always like it better at night.

One thing I don't miss is watching all the people, especially men, eating to such excess.
I am not Italian but I know this


and Mantolato is not always 'concrete'
if the 'chef' is good is a maestro, he can make it like rubber,
slowly melting inside mouth leaving the flavours of the nuts or fruits

i know the 'hard ones' are made for travelling,
to be able to carry them, as gifts or treat to kids, without turning to caramelised omelette,
the secret is to be hard and dry bellow 22 C and soft at 36 C.


they are yummie if they are like 'rubber'
There's no accounting for taste. I guess it all depends on what you've been fed.

Don't you guys eat some version of halvah? One of the few foods I've ever spit out of my mouth: that, raw oysters, sweetbreads, rare liver, and haggis. Maybe it's partly a texture thing, and partly a visual thing for me. There's nothing appetizing to me about the way halvah looks, and I find the texture gross as well. I don't like anything that wobbles or squidges. :( (Oh, add aspics of various sorts, and jellied meats to what I've spit up. Just NO!) Also, tahini (sesame seed paste for the uninitiated) shouldn't go into a desert, not to mention the over-sweetening. Fwiw, I don't like Baklava either: too, too sweet and sticky.


No offense meant: I very much like Greek food.

I can't believe people eat or ever ate meat aspics. I wouldn't eat it unless I was starving.


They now make tons of the "soft" version in Italy. You think we don't know how? I personally think it's garbage, although I know lots of Italians who eat it. Not me...overflavored too.

I was very happy when my kids brought home a big bag of the teeth cracking kind. For the Christmas table I send someone to NYC to get it.

Now, that's what I'm talking about! :) Artisan made, not factory rubbish.

now that greek food has been mentioned....gyros!! Love them!!
Well I know Mantola and Mantolato
came from Italy to Greece from the era of colonies.

same recipee. same ingredients

1 marrenga


2 mantola mantolato



3 we call it apokriatikos halvas (carnaval halva) in North Greece, but it is not halva,
and is teeth breaker, mainly caramela,


All came from medieval Italy to Greece,
the traditional makers are in areas were Italian occupation was, or Italians lived.
Eptanese, Crete, Syros,

the last 2 are according usage, the difference is the % of caramela
if consiption is nearby, usually soft melting,
if you want to carry it elsewhere, or preserve for days, usually hard as stone,

believe me,
i loved them bitter chocolate covered.
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