Rome is in turmoil because on Saturday 7th December it’s the Maritozzo Day!
Now in its third edition, the event organized by Tavole Romane returns to celebrate the popular Roman dessert, from the classic cream-filled version to more adventurous creations. This unique pastry symbol of the Eternal City loved all over Central Italy and beyond, will be available for tastings in numerous pastry shops, bakeries, pizzerias in the capital and beyond!
But let’s take a step back…
What is a “maritozzo” and where does its strange name come from?
The origin of the Roman Maritozzo dates back to the dawn of time if we consider that already in Ancient Rome was the habit to make loaves enriched with honey and dried fruit. In the beginning, the dough was made up of flour, butter, eggs, honey, and salt, and the size was much greater than what we are used nowadays. In the period of Lent the maritozzo was smaller, had a darker colour and was flavoured with raisins, pine nuts, and candied fruit: this version, known as Quaresimale, survived to the present day and it represented the only exception allowed for the penitential fasting imposed by the lent period!!!
Nowadays, the maritozzo is like a small soft loaf cut in half and traditionally stuffed with whipped cream typically eaten for breakfast or in the very early hours of dawn. It’s also possible to find many modern and extravagant variants of this famous Roman delicatessen in all the bars and pastry shops of the city.
As for the name, definitely strange and unusual for a pastry, is presumably due to the custom during the 18th century, on the part of future husband, of giving the promise just a little tiny delicious “maritozzo”. The word maritozzo derives indeed from the Italian word for husband, “marito.” This happened on the first Friday of March, an event similar to that of Valentine’s Day. “Maritozzo” thus became an ironic and mocking term to refer to the future husband in general. To emphasize this association, the flavoured loaf has a vaguely phallic form…
But let’s get back to us … how to celebrate the Maritozzo Day in the best way?
Starting from 10.00 am on December 7th, 2019, all the pastry shops participating in the initiative will pay homage to the participants with their maritozzi! To join this big party, you need to log on to the official website of the event, download the coupon to show on the phone or printed in the participating premises, then consult the list of merchants participating in the initiative or though the online city map. Each participant can take advantage of a maritozzo in every pastry shop for a small minimum donation of 1€!
The donations, that can be made in the special containers in the pastry shops, will be donated to the Breast Unit of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital – Tiber Island in Rome to support the purchase of a hair protection helmet to be used during chemotherapy for the fight against breast cancer. Thanks to this minimum donation, you can contribute to this important cause!
Moreover to support the cause, some artisans will offer a “pink maritozzo” made with unrefined flours, low sugar or natural substitutes, lactose-free, with the addition of red fruits, seeds, and nuts. A lighter version of the famous loaf, suitable to be consumed even by people who are going through a delicate moment of health.
Are you ready?! It’s time to celebrate Maritozzo Day!