Rome marks Maritozzo Day to fete pastry

Derived from 'husband', traditional buns light up Roman mornings

(ANSA) - Rome, November 22 - Rome is marking Maritozzo Day December 1 to celebrate the typical cream-filled Roman bun that brightens breakfasts or morning coffees everywhere across the Italian capital.
    On December 1, storied Roman pastry shops and bars will offer their take on the traditional pastry, also feting "alternative vegan or gluten-free maritozzi" or apparent oddities such as the pizza-maritozzo combo offered by the Pizzeria Sancho.
    Among the sweets meccas taking part are Andreotti, Bompiani, Linari and Romoli, along with the famed pastry maker Bonci, organisers said Thursday.
    There will also be up-and-coming award-winning pastry bars like Café Merenda, Lievito and Nero Vaniglia. Also featuring are "starred maritozzi" produced by Michelin-starred pastry chefs of the calibre of Cristina Bowerman, Riccardo Di Giacinto and Angelo Troiani, involving glorious pastry bars like Armando al Pantheon and Le Tre Zucche, the organisers said.
    Finally, maritozzo and gelato will be married again by Marco Radicioni's Otaleg ice-cream bar, Günther Gelato Italiano and Gelato San Lorenzo.
    The maritozzo is a typical sweet bun of the Lazio region, specifically from Rome. It's a delicious dough based delight that has been enjoyed by Romans both young and old for centuries. Typically eaten for breakfast or in the very early hours of the morning, the Roman maritozzo has undergone a few changes before landing the version we know and love today.
    Dating back to Roman times, the "loaf" that the modern day maritozzo derives from began as a nutritional necessity made of flour, eggs, honey, butter and salt. These loaves were substantially larger than the maritozzo of today.
    It is said that for centuries, women made the loaves to put in the saddlebags of laborers who had to work away from home all day as a way to nourish themselves. Then, in the Middle Ages, the loaves became a way for people to get their "sweet fix" during the period of Lent. These loaves were a bit smaller, darker in color, and sweetened with raisins, pine nuts, and candied fruit. This Middle Ages version of the maritozzo was one of the few "church approved" foods people were permitted to eat during the fasting of Lent.
    It wasn't until the 1800s that the "loaves" were given their current name, maritozzo which is derived from the Italian word for husband, "marito." During the 1800s, this name was given to the pastry because it became associated with another tradition. The tradition was that a girl's fiancé would give his bride-to-be a maritozzo the first Friday of March. This Valentine's-Day-equivalent pastry usually had two pierced hearts on top drawn with sugar. Inside frequently concealed a gift of either a ring or a small gold object.
    The maritozzo is still a staple in Rome and the classic version is still a very simple dough that is then baked, split down the middle and filled with a delicious (yet obscene amount of) whipped cream. According to The Roman Foodie, "If you're looking for a good place to get your hands on this Roman classic, one of the best places in Rome for a maritozzo is Er Maritozzaro located a 2mins walk from Trastevere station. "Their classic maritozzo, when hot, just out of the oven and filled with whipped cream is pure poetry!", the food blog said in 2016.


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