Today I made crostoli for the first time and I made them for my father. Crostoli are a delightfully light and sweet pastry to have during times of celebration. Mamma says she learnt to make them from her zia ‘Rica (aunt Enrica) at Gorgo del Monticano (in the Veneto region) during the war. Once my parents had retired, papa’ used to help mamma cut the pastry into beautiful bows before frying them. I remember them in the kitchen, working away together making crostoli.
Last Christmas he said to me “ma Paoletta, dove ti ga impara’ a cusinar cosi’ ben?” (Istrian dialect meaning “where did you learn to cook so well?”), knowing full well my mother taught me to cook. I wish I could hear him say those words again. I wish he could taste the crostoli I made. He would probably tell me to take off the icing sugar, he liked them plain. He would be happy though that I added a splash of grappa to the pastry, just enough lemon zest and that they are light and crisp.
He passed away a few days ago and tomorrow family and friends will be celebrating his wonderful 90 year life. I will bring the crostoli to share and I will think how very much I miss him.