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Celebrating San Giuseppe: Why do Italians Eat Zeppole?

12 March 2024

Blog / Celebrating San Giuseppe: Why do Italians Eat Zeppole?

Italian celebrations often revolve around food and one classic example is eating zeppole on San Giuseppe, also known as St. Joseph’s Day. But why exactly do we line up for these sweet treats on this holiday? Well, we’re going to find out.

Celebrating San Giuseppe: Why do Italians Eat Zeppole?

But First, What Are Zeppole?

Zeppole are deep-fried pastries made from sweet dough, typically filled with custard, ricotta, or chocolate and topped with powdered sugar and a cherry. While the classic recipe remains popular, countless variations and flavors of zeppole are enjoyed today.

The Origin Story

Although there isn’t a single explanation, there are a few fun theories about the common connection between St. Joseph and zeppole.

  1. One theory traces back to the biblical story of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fleeing to Egypt. It’s said that during this time, Joseph sold sweet pancakes to support his family, creating an association between his name and sweets – like zeppole.
  2. Another theory revolves around language: the word “zeppole” may come from “zeppa,” which translates to a wooden wedge used for adjusting furniture. Given that St. Joseph was a carpenter by trade, some argue that this links zeppole and the revered saint.
  3. Then, there’s a story from Sicily in the Middle Ages. When a terrible drought threatened famine, Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph for rain. In return for his help, they promised to honor him with a feast. This feast continues today, with many Italians honoring St. Joseph’s Day with a celebration filled with food and goodies, like zeppole.

Putting a Twist on Tradition

For those looking to add a modern twist to this tradition, why not make a zeppole-inspired pizza?

Ingredients :

Instructions :

  • Preheat your oven according to the pizza crust instructions.
  • Bake as directed until the crust is golden.
  • Let it cool slightly before garnishing.
  • Spread ricotta cheese evenly over the crust.
  • Sprinkle on your chosen toppings.
  • Slice and serve.

Whether you’re fascinated by the stories behind St. Joseph or simply love the taste of zeppole, there’s no denying the fun of this Italian tradition. So, as San Giuseppe approaches, why not join in the celebration with a batch of fresh zeppole or a creative zeppole-inspired pizza? After all, here at Oggi, we always want you to enjoy each celebration and “eat well today”!

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