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What is small talk?

Chiacchiere is a typical Italian carnival recipe that enjoys the recognition of Traditional Agri-Food Product (PAT).

Considered by many to be exclusively Campanian, they are in reality so ancient as to make it impossible to establish a precise origin. Historical finds date back to the Roman Empire, which would explain:

  • the presence of numerous synonyms ( crostoli or grostoi, lies, cenci, fiocchetti, galani, intrigues, marvels, texts of the Turks, frappe or frappole or sfrappole)
  • the spread of many local variations of the recipe
  • the use of the same name in regions that are even very distant from each other – the chiacchiere are identified as such in many regions of Central Italy (Campania, lower Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise etc.) but also in Lombardy and Western Emilia.

To be honest, rather than regional synonyms, it would be appropriate to talk about “local” alternatives to chatter. In fact, there is no real regional logic that establishes the use of one or the other name. In Emilia for example, chiacchiere are mostly referred to as “crostoli” throughout the eastern area, especially in the Ferrara area. From here they remain as such, albeit with some differences in the recipe, throughout the eastern Veneto and as far as Friuli Venezia Giulia, where the distortion into “grostoi” is more common. Immediately outside the Bolognese area, then from the Modena area and from Parmesan onwards, at the foot of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, it is more common to define them as chiacchiere; approaching the Romagna Apennine chain, therefore the Marche region, they are normally called frappe.

Did you know that…

Italian chiacchiere are also known abroad, where they take names which, from a phonetic point of view, are more reminiscent of the name “crostoli”. Some examples are: krostole (Croatia), chruściki, chrusty or faworki (Poland), chvorost (Russia), croustouille (Belgium) etc.

The recipe for chatter is not the most complicated. It consists of frying diamonds of dough rolled out with a rolling pin and made of soft wheat flour , butter, sugar , eggs and an alcohol or simply cow’s milk .

They have a high energy intake , given not so much by the ingredients of the dough , but by the oil used for frying – which, in all likelihood, over the years has replaced the much more traditional pork lard . For this reason, the ” light ” oven-cooked version was subsequently invented ; if you want to consult the light variant of Alice, our personal cooker, feel free to watch the video we propose below: Non-Fried Carnival Crostoli.

Light, non-fried crostoli

Chatter energy is provided mainly by fatty acids, followed by carbohydrates – both complex and simple – and finally by proteins – some of which are of high biological value . The chiacchiere contain whole chicken eggs , therefore they have a vitamin and mineral content that is anything but negligible. They are therefore very nutritious ; perhaps too much. In fact, their use should be limited to the carnival period, during which they should still be eaten with limited portions and frequency of consumption. They should be excluded in the diet against overweight and type 2 diabetes mellitus , but not only. In the next paragraphs we will delve deeper into both the nutritional properties and the role of chatter in the diet.


Traditional recipe for chiacchiere

Ingredients for traditional chatter

    • 00 wheat flour: 500 g
    • Whole chicken eggs: 150 g (3 eggs)
    • Yolk : 20 g (1 yolk)
    • Granular sugar: 70 g
    • Butter : 50 g
    • Grappa or other distillate or partially skimmed milk : 30 ml
    • Chemical baking powder or cream of tartar or sodium bicarbonate : 6 g
    • Vanilla pod: QB
  • Goes up: QB
  • Peanut oil – for frying: QB
  • Powdered Sugar : QB

Procedure for traditional small talk

  1. Beat the eggs, the yolk and the alcoholic liquid with a whisk or a planetary mixer fitted with a leaf attachment ; in the meantime soften the butter
  2. Sift flour and yeast , and create a well to start kneading; alternatively, pour the sifted powders into the planetary mixer running at medium speed
  3. Add the softened butter and vanilla, and knead until the mixture is smooth; using the stand mixer, replace the leaf with a dough hook and increase the speed
  4. Create a loaf and leave to rest in cling film for about half an hour; it is advisable to avoid the refrigerator, which could make it more tenacious in subsequent processing
  5. While heating the oil in a saucepan, making sure it does not exceed 160-180 °C, roll out the dough; this procedure can be performed in two different ways:
  1. Divide the dough into 5-6 pieces (150 g each) and roll each of them to a thickness of approximately 2 mm with the dough puller and cut out rectangles, preferably using a scalloped pastry cutter. or diamondsof approximately 5 x 10 cm – it is possible to make two incisions inside the rectangles and fold a corner of dough inside each, to give a more voluminous shape
  2. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin onto a large pastry board, until it reaches the appropriate thickness; obtain diamonds or squares with the aforementioned wheel
  1. Dip the raw chiacchiere into boiling oil and cook them for the time necessary to brown them on both sides, pat them dry in plenty of absorbent paper, taking care that they do not crumble, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve while still hot.

Nutritional properties

Nutritional properties of chatter

Traditional chatter is a high-calorie recipe, whose energy comes first of all from lipids , followed by carbohydrates and finally proteins. Predominantly unsaturated fatty acids , mainly complex carbohydrates ( starch ) and peptides of high and medium biological value – due to the presence of various types of foods . They contain fiber in moderate quantities, while cholesterol is abundant.

If you want to increase the fiber content of this recipe you can consult the video of Alice, our personal cook, in which we will show you how to cook: Very crunchy wholemeal chiacchiere .

The chiacchiere contain gluten and lactose – both due to the butter content and the possible addition of milk; purines and the amino acid phenylalanine are present at quite significant levels. It is possible that, in the case of particularly severe intolerance , even the presence of whole eggs as histamine-releasing foods could be problematic.

Chatter has an interesting vitamin profile , although intense cooking can significantly deplete it. It has an excellent concentration of water-soluble molecules of group B , for example thiamine (vit B1), riboflavin ( vit B2 ) and niacin ( vit PP ). There is also no shortage of fat-soluble molecules, such as retinol and its equivalents ( vit A and RAE) and calciferol ( vit D ). Regarding minerals , the levels of phosphorus , iron and zinc especially stand out ; the quantity of potassium is less interesting .


Diet chatter

Small talk is not an easily digestible food . They are therefore inappropriate, especially in meals preceding sleep , in case of compromises and dysfunctions of the stomach and esophagus such as: dyspepsia , stomach acidity , hypochlorhydria , gastritis , gastric or duodenal ulcer , hiatal hernia and excess reflux or gastroesophageal reflux .

Chatter is contraindicated in nutritional therapy against overweight, due to the caloric excess , a good part of which is attributable to lipids mainly due to frying. Due to the non-negligible level of cholesterol, they can be considered unsuitable for the ordinary diet of those suffering from hypercholesterolemia . Butter contributes to increasing the percentage of saturated fatty acids , but all the other fats present are unsaturated in nature – favoring a better relationship between them. They also have such a glycemic load that they can have a negative impact on the diet for type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertriglyceridemia .

Chatter should also be consumed in moderation in cases of hyperuricemia and a tendency to renal lithiasis ( calculi ) due to uric acid – especially in the presence of overweight. Due to the presence of whole eggs, they are not even considered relevant to food therapy against phenylketonuria . They should be totally excluded from the diet of celiacs and those intolerant to lactose . In case of histamine intolerance , what makes the difference is mainly the level of individual hypersensitivity.

Chatter contains a good dose of proteins with high biological value , but cannot be considered a primary nutritional source of essential amino acids . The same goes for vitamins and minerals ; they undoubtedly participate in filling the need for water-soluble molecules of group B, fat-soluble vit A and vit D, iron, phosphorus and zinc. However, due to the contraindications we talked about above, these are foods to be consumed only marginally and therefore have no impact on the overall nutritional balance .

Traditional chatter does not meet vegan and vegetarian criteria . Furthermore, they are not suitable for Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim religious diets. The average portion of small talk should be as moderate as possible.

Are you vegan but don’t want to give up the goodness of carnival chatter? Watch the video by Alice, our personal cook, entitled: Vegan Frappe.