With Montreal’s Saint-Patrick’s Day parade cancelled for a second year in a row and many of the city’s coronavirus restrictions on gatherings still in place, March is shaping up to be markedly toned down this year. But there is one holiday, La Fiesta di San Giuseppe, also known as Saint Joseph’s Day, that can still be celebrated as it should be — with zeppole in hand.
Though Saint Joseph’s Day officially falls on March 19, its distinguishing pastry, the zeppole, a small, deep-fried ring-shaped indulgence traditionally crammed with ricotta and powdered with sugar, can be found in Italian bakeries and restaurants across the city up until Easter, or in some cases, even until the end of April. In other cases, calendar-marking and queue-waiting for a one-day event are part of the experience, so plan judiciously.
Approaches to the Italian pastry differ, in shape (circular ring vs. ball-like fritter), cook (deep-fried vs. baked), filling (ricotta, custard, nutella, pistachio, tiramisu, limoncello, etc.), topping (to cherry or not?). And the list of variations on the original — widely attributed to an early 1800’s baker from Naples — gets longer by the year. See some of them listed below.
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