There’s only one way to mark La Fiesta di San Giuseppe, also known as Italian Father’s Day or St. Joseph’s Day — and that’s with a zeppole in hand. Though the holiday officially falls on March 19, these deep-fried, ring-shaped pastries traditionally crammed with ricotta and powdered with sugar, can be found in Italian bakeries and restaurants across the city up until Easter. In other cases (see: Pizzeria Gema), 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.), and 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 the ones available in Montreal on the map below.
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