On November 1st, all the people who have any reason to visit a graveyard, will go and bring some flowers to the dead.
Though I am not a fan of those religious occurrences where you do this and that only once a year, this November we have been blessed by beautiful weather and hazy, fog-shrouded sceneries of orange-tinted trees and fields. It is also a time to cook and eat together, and gather for some family time.
Two dear people took me through many amazing places in the Le Marche region, of which I am incredibly fond of.
I live in an awkward zone. Gradara, with its beautiful castle, sits on the border between the Romagna and Marche regions, and things can get quite confusing. The dialects can be very diverse even within the very region, and foods, people and traditions change an incredible lot.
Le Marche, with its lush, dark green forests, medieval castles and villages on top of each hill, vast fields and wild beaches, has always been in my heart for many reasons. It was amazing to have the chance to visit three beautiful villages and learn something new (including two recipes that I had no idea about and that I would like to present to you in the future).
November is far from a cold, dull gray month in places like these.
This is just one part on what I saw this weekend. I am keeping the rest to share in the next post!
I went to a place called Corinaldo, and it was so, so pretty. And so large for a medieval village! Me and a friend took some pics. I am waiting to see his! He took quite a cool pic of me.
The day after, me and my vegetarian coworker/friend went up to another small castle called Montefabbri. It is labeled as one of the most beautiful places in Italy, but it is so small, and nobody knows about it. The village per se is beautiful, but not nearly as beautiful as the skies that we saw from high up there.
It was so breathtaking I even forgot to take a picture.
The moments you forget to take pictures of are always the best.
These days count as a holiday, so here are two holiday recipes. The Ravioli with pumpkin, mushroom and Gorgonzola is out now on the Corriere website!
But the real protagonists of this post are these cookies. They are very common throughout the whole country, but this version is especially popular in both my regions.
“Fave dei Morti’, the cookies of the dead, are crispy cookies that are usually only baked for November 1st and 2nd, when in Italy the days of the Dead and All Saints are celebrated. They are crispy and crunchy, and are usually meant to be eaten dipped in sweet wine, much like cantucci. They are, of course, also gorgeous dipped in coffee, tea, or any other liquid (even water, I daresay). the recipe varies a lot throughout Italy, and every region, bakery and family has its own version. Fave from Veneto, for example, are colorful little nugget dyed with food coloring. All of my coworkers can vouch for my mom’s version, as they happily devoured them and loved them – even dipped in the crappy coffee we have at work.
Make them healthier by using coconut or linseed oil, and by using some natural raw sugar like Muscobado or coconut.
- 100g Almond meal / flour
- 100g Whole wheat flour (sub your favorite gluten-free flour for a GF version)
- 50g Potato starch
- 200 to 250g brown sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 80g softened butter, vegetable oil or coconut oil
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ to ½ tsp cinnamon
- It is as easy as put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until well combined, or mix everything in a bowl and knead to combine. You should end up with a sticky but stiff dough.
- Wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180 Cº / 355 Fº.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, take out the dough and form 1-inch sized balls. Line them on the tray, leaving some distance in between each other, as they will expand in the oven (much like chocolate chip cookies)
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and until your whole kitchen smells like candied almonds (this depends a lot on your oven - keep a close eye on it). Wait for them to cool before eating, as they will still be slightly soft fresh out of the oven, and might look like they are not 100% cooked.
- Serve with something to dip them in - preferably sweet wine, like Moscato or Vin Santo, but any dipping liquid will do, really. Even water, and I am not kidding.
What are your November traditions, and what are you cooking/baking this month?