L’ammazzavampiri (garlic canapé) is proported to be so heavy on the garlic that it takes its name from the Italian verb ammazzare meaning “to intentionally put to death” hence the name ammazzavampiri ” vampire killer”.
A traditional bruschetta ammazzavampiri begins with slices of pane casereccio , a durum wheat bread from the town of Genzano in Lazio. Outside of Italy any firm, country-style bread sliced about ½ inch thick will do although few will have the chewy, elastic crumb of this pane. Grill, toast or broil the bread until is a deep golden brown. A classic ammazzavampiri has an extraordinary amount of whole peeled garlic cloves rubbed over the warm bread. Then it is sprinkled with coarse sea salt and generously drizzled with the season’s freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Serve with an Amazza Vampiri cocktail apertivo to entertain your ghoulish guests this Halloween.
Our Italian inspired Halloween begins on October 31 and ends with a two day celebration that goes beyond the traditional treat or treat. In Italy the day after Halloween, November 1st (All Saints’s Day) and November 2nd (All Soul’s Day) are celebrated as feast days to honor the saints and souls of those who have passed on. A celebration of life more than death, Italians commemorate the time with Ossa dei Morti, “Bones of the Dead“, cookies whose shape, coloring and texture look like a bone.
The ingredients used to make this traditional dolci of the dead vary from region to region. In Lombardia and Piemonte they are made with powdered almond macaroons, sweet wine, dried fruit, chocolate, pignoli, and spices. In other regions they are a hard meringue biscotti studded with nuts that crackle like crunching bones when you take a bite. Some are seasoned with anise and fennel, others with cloves, lemon or cinnamon.
Either way these “bone” cookies are a seasonal treat and a dear and special way to remember those who have gone before us.
More Italians are celebrating Halloween but not in the same way as we do in the States. Trick or treating from house to house is not a part of their holiday tradition but Italians do like to play dress up and frequently have parties at a friend’s home or meet in bars and restuarants to celebrate.
In the shops, windows are decorated with pumpkins and in the piazze “living statues” are part of the street theater tradition of Europe that is especially suited to the fantasy and atmosphere of Halloween.
Planning an Italian inspired Halloween? Take inspiration from the statues and monuments of Italy and become a marble column or create your own living statute. Costuming skills are needed if you’re going to do this from scratch but there are several web sites with ready-made costumes and helpful hints on how to make your statue come alive. Italians have a creative immagination so channel your inner Italian for Halloween.
A culinary tour of Halloween – what would you include? Finnish blood pancakes, torta di sanguinaccio, duck blood soup, black pudding . . .?
Blood has been a traditional ingredient in global cultural cooking since ancient times. Homer’s Odyssey refers to goat stomachs filled with blood and fat and roasted over a fire. Sounds like black pudding to me. Canadian and Californian chefs seem to favor blood as an ingredient. Star Chef Chris Cosentino at Incanto, in San Francisco, does a chocolate blood pudding garnished with Bing cherries. Restaurant DNA in Old Montreal serves panna cotta made from cream, cocoa, black pepper, lemon peel and pig’s blood and the Italian restaurant, Buca, off of King Street in Toronto, serves a Calabrian blood tart made with fresh figs steeped in grappa and espresso with a buffalo-milk crème anglaise and a custard made from dark chocolate and slow-tempered blood.