Need an Italian dessert idea for Christmas dinner? Try the traditional struffoli – small balls of fried dough smothered in honey and dotted with colorful sprinkles.
Fun Fact: The name struffoli is derived from the Greek word strongulos – meaning “round in shape”.
Struffoli are typically found in the Naples region served at Easter and Christmas. And like many traditional holiday foods, struffoli are a sign of good luck and prosperity.
The tradition was actually started by nuns who would distribute platters of these sweet tiny round fritters to wealthy or noble families at Christmas time, as a thanks for their donations.
Pictured above is a platter of struffoli including a scattering of hazelnuts; which adds a special crunch with an additional layer of flavor.
NOTE: This is an updated version of an article originally posted in 2011 on a previous blog I ran called Modern Culture: Italy. The article was part of a series called Adventures in Rome. The blog no longer exists; however, I am pulling and updating some of the articles that I found to be interesting enough to have a life here on Magnusmade.com.
Nicole Licare says
I get so excited to purchase this every year from my favorite bakery in Methuen called Piero’s. I always marvel at how beautiful it is and always reflect on how passionate Italians are with their traditions.
Yes, they do make a great presentation… and always nice to snack on over good conversation with relatives.