I’m always looking for sneaky ways to add some revision into my daily life. Luckily, it’s not too hard when studying a language. Reading an Italian can be construed as revision as well as watching a movie or listening to Italian music. I am even known to say that I’m studying when I have a Tiziano Ferro song stuck in my head.
Beh, not really. I wish this was all I had to do to get the most brilliant marks, but, unfortunately, those firsts take a bit more work than just diffusion studying. That is not to say that reading magazines cannot be good for building vocabulary, just that I need to study the congiuntivo and sintassi del periodo if I really want to get good grades.
Right now, however, we’re on spring break. I mean easter holidays. Cool, sorted. This means I can get away with baking Italian cookies and slapping the term revision and get off scot-free. Cool? I’m rationalizing here.
This is the thought process that drove me to bake zaletti, a cookie made with cornmeal that originates from the Veneto. They also have currants soaked in grappa. Or in my case, raisins soaked in disaronno (which is better than grappa anyway).
Okay, I may have also been motivated by the fact that my parents gave me the book Dolce Italiano as a high school graduation gift and I hadn’t previously used it. Ooops…
I expected them to be a bit crunchier, but they were borderline soft. They were, however, a huge hit. I loved the subtle sweetness and raisins studded throughout. While the flavor was no doubt the dominate reason to eat these cookies–as it should be I’d say—the textural contrasts stole the show. In each bite the crunchy aspect of the cornmeal played against the slightly soft cookie and the chewy raisins, forcing you to focus on each chew.
These cookies have an undefinable Italian taste that you’ll recognize if you’ve ever eaten any Italian baked good. Is it a bit almond? Yes, but something more. There’s a hint of lemon and perhaps even rum (though no rum was used in the making of these cookies). Purely by taste, they are quintessentially Italian.
And even if making them and eating a few doesn’t count as revision, then the motivation and adoration of all things Italian they inspire within me surely makes up for that.
What’s your favorite regional cookie or dessert? Do you like Italian desserts?