Sunday, January 24, 2021

Street Sign Language Lesson XXXIV – Fried Dough, Lies, and Gossip

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Chiacchiere at Forno Fassi.
Chiacchiere at Forno Fassi.

Today's Street Sign Language Lesson ™ is about the fried dough treats we call "angel wings" in English. Soon after Epiphany passes (in Italy a significant holiday), these fried dough treats start appearing stores and bakeries.

Angel wings are fried dough (flour, water, egg, butter), shaped into twisted ribbons or flat strips that are deep-fried or baked, and served sprinkled with powdered sugar. Angel wings are eaten before Lent. The name "angel wings" can be assumed to refer to the lightness of these fried treats?

In Italy, there are many different regional names for angel wings, loosely based on two naming themes in my opinion. Theme one is what they look like, e.g., rags (stracci or cencio), gloves (guanti), bow or ribbon (galano) or lettuce (lattughe). Theme two perhaps refers to carnival or perhaps to that the fact that the final treats are not as heavy as they look? Names in this theme are chitchat (chiacchiere), lies (bugie), and gossip (pettegolezzi).

The company featured in many of these photos is Gecchele and they are based in Treviso. What the company has done is taken a few of the many region names – see here for more – and paired them with and characters from the commedia dell'arte.

Full disclosure: we did not buy any of the packaged examples. Why would we when they are so easy available, reasonably priced and fresh from a local bakery? The photo at the top of this post was taken at the bakery Forno Fassi (Città Alta). In Bergamo, we usually see the word chiacchiere used the most.

The types of chiacchiere you can find in stores is more that what is shown here. This is just a sample from one day we went shopping at PAM.

Bugie di Brighella

Bugia (pl. bugie) is a lie or a candlestick holder. Brighella is a masked character from the Italian theater style of commedia dell'arte. As we see on the packaging, Brighella typically wears a white smock. His character the Harlequin's smarter and vindictive older brother.

The term bugie is typical of Piemonte, Liguria.

Bugie di Brighella

Chiacchere di Balanzone

Chiacchiera (pl. chiacchiere) means a regional Italian sweet, but also means chit-chat or gossip. The associated verb is chiacchierare. Balanzone is another commedia dell'arte stock character. He is the old man, acting as an obstacle to young lovers. As seen on the packaging, Balanzone is usually pictured as a robust man.

The term chiacchiere is used all over Italy, but mostly from the middle to the south.

It is odd that the packaging (and the web site – no typo it seems) uses "chiacchere" without the second letter I.

Chiacchere di Balanzone

Burlette di Gianduia

Burletta (pl. burlette) is a little joke. Gianduia (or Gianduja) "is one of the masks of the Italian commedia dell'arte, typically representing the town of Turin". Gianduja is also the name of the famous chocolate spread, such as nutella, invented in Turin at the beginning of the 18th century. Gianduia, the character, is an honest peasant with an penchant for wine, good food, and beautiful woman.

Burlette di Gianduia

Pettegolezzi di Colombina

Pettegolezzo (pl. pettegolezzi) is gossip.  Colombina – "little dove" is a stock character in the Commedia dell'arte. She is a tricky servant.

Pettegolezzi di Colombina

Galani dei Dogi

The term galàni is used in the area between Venice, Padua and Verona. Galano is a decorative bow or ribbon. A doge (pl. dogi) where elected heads of some Italian city-states during the medieval and renaissance periods. The word doge is closely associated with Venice, and in fact on the packaging of this product there is the unmistakable Campanile di San Marco in Venice.

Galani dei Dogi

I Quadri di Arlecchino

Arelecchino is a famous masked Bergamasco character in the commedia dell'arte. In English, we call him Harlequin and he is the comical servant dressed in a bold checkered (a quadri) outfit.

I Quadri di Arlecchino

Mascherina Trevisan

Mascherina means a face mask, which could be a face mask we are using currently during the pandemic, or an eye or half mask used as part of a costume such as used during carnival.  Trevisan is just the name of the company producing these angel wings.

Mascherina Trevisan

Lattughelle

Lattuga means lettuce. Lattughella (pl. lattughelle) is either the salad green lamb's lettuce or mâche (Valerianella locusta), known for its nutty, mild flavor. It's commonly found in Bergamo as a salad green. The guess here is that the shape of the fried dough resembles lettuce leaves.

Lattughelle

Coriandoli Fritti

Corandiolo is confetti or little chads. Fried (fritti) confetti just doesn't have a nice ring to it, does it?

Coriandoli Fritti














Friday, January 8, 2021

A Hike to Maresana for Lunch

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Overview | Notes | Flora


A small waterfall of the Torrente Tremana in Bergamo, Italy.A primrose, Primula vulgaris along the trail.
Left: A small waterfall on the Torrente Tremana in Bergamo, Italy.
Right: A primrose, Primula vulgaris along the trail.

Overview

Length:  ~14km

Duration: 3.5 hours (without counting lunch)

Elevation: Max elevation 681 m (2230 ft). Min elevation 262 m (860 ft).

Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo - Ponteranica

Notes

Our first hike of 2021 and it's to Maresana. During lockdown restrictions, a walk to Maresana is not a bad substitute to going deep into the Orobie or the Dolomites like we usually do. From the center of Bergamo, Maresana is a hop, skip, and a jump away. Today being a "yellow" day we could eat inside Trattoria Maresana, one of our favorite places to walk to and eat at.

Today, we walked as far as Villa Pighet and turned around when our stomachs told us it was time for lunch. Not too long ago in 2017, we were headed for Selvino and mistakenly got off of trail 533 and ended up at Villa Pighet. We did make it eventually to Selvino, but lost an hour backtracking because Pighet is in the wrong direction. So for us Villa Pighet invokes images of that day when we realized how far off track we were. There is a beautiful view north into the Val Seriana from Pighet so for that reason alone, it's worth a look. (The restaurant there was closed today.)

For a description of getting from Bergamo to Selvino walking, see our post Roundtrip Bergamo to Selvino on Foot, Cable Car, Bus, and Tram.

One of the many trails climbing Maresana starts at Via Monterosso here. It runs roughly north-south just east of the usual way up, trail 533.  The Via Monterosso trail wasn't one we had taken before and we were pleasantly surprised taking it today because it runs along the charming Tremana stream (torrente Tremana), with small waterfalls of smooth limestone. The stream springs out of the mountain halfway up to Maresana at a point called "il Fontanino di Monterosso".  All considered, a pleasant discovery and path up to Maresana.

Views along the Torrente Tremana trail to Maresana.Views along the Torrente Tremana trail to Maresana.
Views along the Torrente Tremana trail to Maresana.

Hike details an track.Hike details an track.View north from Pighet over Monte Zuccone toward Salmezza
Left and center: Hike details and track. Right: View north from Pighet over Monte Zuccone toward Salmezza.


Flora

[Liliaceae] Ruscus aculeatus. Common name: Butcher's broom. In Italian: pungitopo.[Liliaceae] Ruscus aculeatus. Common name: Butcher's broom. In Italian: pungitopo.[Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis. Common name: Liverwort or Common Hepatica.
Left and center: [Liliaceae] Ruscus aculeatus. Common name: Butcher's broom. In Italian: pungitopo.
Right: [Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis. Common name: Liverwort or Common Hepatica.


[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus niger - Christmas rose.[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus niger - Christmas rose.
[Ranunculaceae] Helleborus niger - Christmas rose.