For no apparent reason, the memory of a maritozzo con la panna just surfaced in my brain. The memory is connected to a latteria in my home town, that sold fresh milk, cream, ricotta and maritozzi con la panna, the best in town.
A maritozzo is a soft bun of oblong shape, with a paper thin sugar glaze on top, lightly sweetened and studded with raisins. It can be eaten as is or cut in half part-way and filled with freshly-whipped fresh cream. If you had asked me as a child, I would have probably said that eating a maritozzo con la panna was as close to nirvana as I wished to be.
Maritozzi are traditional in central Italy and they are popular in Rome. Like with so many food items of my childhood, I never questioned its name or its origin: I simply ate it and enjoyed the experience. However, the name is rather funny, as it is a derivative of marito, meaning husband. I read different theories about the origin of the pastry and of its name, in particular about the marital connection: women making maritozzi for their husbands, would-be husbands giving them to their beloved. The way I see maritozzo is as an example of bread that was dressed-up for special occasions: in this case sweetened, enriched with eggs and uvetta (raisins), and decorated with a glaze.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the maritozzo audio file [mp3].
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