Italian Word of the Week: Chiacchiere

The Italian Word of the Week is without a doubt one of the coolest sounding words in Italian:

chitchat or chatter

Don’t you just love when a word sounds like what it actually means?

I most often hear this used within the phrase to “fare due chiacchiere” — literally to have two chats, but it’s more like exchange two words, all coming down to, yes, having a little chat. You can also scambiare (exchange) due (or quattro, four) chiacchiere as well.

So perhaps on your way home from the store, you’ll stop and fai due chiacchiere con il tuo vicino (have a little chat with your neighbor).

But wait! That’s not all chiacchiere is . . . it’s also the name of the traditional pastry for Carnevale (Carnival), culminating on Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday). Yes, that’s them in the photo above.

I like to think they’re called “chitchat” because of the crunching noises they make when you bite into their fried delicious goodness, as well as the noise you, yourself, make as you shift wildly in your seat trying to avoid the falling powdered sugar.

These treats happen to be known by a lot of names throughout Italy, including  Cenci (rags/tatters), Bugie (lies), Guanti (gloves), Nastri delle suore (nuns’ ribbons), Fritelle, Crostoli, and Frappe, and are often called Lovers’ Knots in English.

And as the recipes vary throughout the peninsula as well, you can check out one at Bleeding Espresso, representing the southern end of the boot, and another at Frutto della Passione out of Milan. There are, of course, countless recipes, though, so have fun choosing your favorite.

In any event, whatever you call them, they’re delicious — and a great conversation starter too!

Have you had chiacchiere, the fried treat?

* Image source: Blazej Pieczynski on Flickr (CC license)


  1. says

    Love this post! We call them chiacchiere on the Amalfi Coast, too. While I’m not crazy about most sweets, I can eat quite a heap of chiacchiere for Carnevale! In fact, it’s probably good they’re a seasonal dessert. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *