Buona Festa di San Giuseppe!

16 Mar
Painting by Guido Reni, c.1635

Painting by Guido Reni, c.1635

Growing up in a neighborhood filled with many Irish and Italian families, I was always happy that the Italians also had their day in March to celebrate. Of course, never as loud, rowdy or perhaps quite as “fun” as St. Patrick’s Day, and with much quieter fanfare, we nonetheless celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19. And while the Irish had their green beer and accessories, the Italians, often sporting something red, had their zeppole, a cream filled fried pastry that originated in Napoli.



According to my fellow blogger, MariaGiovanna, (Sharing My Italy) the “Zeppole di SanGiuseppe” originated in Naples, Italy, “where the first recipe was put on paper, in 1837, by the famous Neapolitan gastronome Ippolito Cavalcanti, Duke of Buonvicino.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to be in Italy to enjoy a zeppole. This morning, I headed to the Ferrara Bakery on Taylor Street in Chicago to check out the famous pastry. Light, airy and filled with cream, it was fun to see the smiles they generated on those wiping the cream from their lips.



Not surprising, Ferrara’s was busy filling and selling what appeared to be hundreds of dozens of the cream filled gems.



And since St. Joseph’s Day isn’t until March 19, you still have a few days to stock up!



So, to those looking to get beyond the grey days of winter, here’s an idea – participate in a St. Joseph’s Day custom by sharing some food with the needy and some friends, and, of course, be sure to share some zeppole!



13 Responses to “Buona Festa di San Giuseppe!”

  1. kathleen(kathy) cori March 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM #


    You do a great job with your blog-very informative and enjoyable to read!


  2. blogginginitaly March 16, 2013 at 7:04 PM #

    Thanks, Kathy. Always nice to hear from you!


  3. Florence Connelly March 16, 2013 at 9:26 PM #

    Beautiful !!! pritikin approved ? 🙂 I’m taking Vince Sr to mass at mother cabrini tomorrow 10 am – how do you go into the pk lot ? Xo

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Filocia (Phyllis) Poma March 17, 2013 at 9:24 AM #

    They look delicious!! I have near heard of them. My father belonged to the St. Joseph Society and we would go to church and they would have round loaves of Italian bread individually wrapped. The priest would bless the bread and after mass, we would all head down to the basement of the church and have coffee and desserts and take home a loaf bread. Later that night, they would hold a dinner dance. If your name is Joseph, Josephine, it is like an additional birthday for you! I know in Sicily this is a big holiday.


  5. blogginginitaly March 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM #

    So funny that you have never heard of zeppole. Last night, the waiter at our favorite Italian restaurant was Sicilian, and he had never heard of them either. I think they are known in Napoli and Roma, and I know in Toscana as well, but I had assumed incorrectly that they are known throughout Italia. Thanks for sharing your St. Francis tradition. Is that why you named your son Joseph?


  6. Nikitaland March 17, 2013 at 1:54 PM #

    Those look so delicious! Wish I had some right now to enjoy with my coffee! Thanks for sharing them, even if only in a blog post, rather than on my plate!


    • Judy Gingerella March 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM #

      Perhaps you can come up with an app that would do that!


      • Nikitaland March 17, 2013 at 5:19 PM #

        LOL, now that would be awesome, but would I be able to eat the dessert after I figured out how to create the app? Hmmmm, got me thinking now! You are so much fun Judy! 🙂


      • Judy Gingerella March 17, 2013 at 5:55 PM #

        Absolutely…all of them!!!


  7. lucy March 18, 2013 at 9:29 AM #

    Love reading your blog! I agree, the Zeppole at Ferrara are the best! Many bakeries offer them but they’re not authentic…


    • blogginginitaly March 18, 2013 at 5:13 PM #

      Thanks and very true…Theirs is a recipe right from Napoli! Hope you had several.


  8. Patricia March 19, 2013 at 9:17 AM #

    Hi Judy, I think I am right in saying that we don’t have ‘zeppole’ in Tuscany. At least I had never heard of them. They look delicious. We celabrate San Giuseppe, which is also La Festa del Papà (Father’s Day), with frittelle. They are made of rice and are fried and can be cream filled or plain. They are also good …


    • blogginginitaly March 19, 2013 at 3:11 PM #

      Hi Patricia,
      Interesting about the zeppole in Tuscany. I do think they are found primarily in Roma and Napoli; however, my Italian teacher is from Toscana and she also talked about making them. I’ll ask her next class as I am curious what hers are like. The frittelle sounded delicious too!


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