The Carnival or San Provino sweet ravioli as well as the San Giuseppe tortelli are sweets cooked in a generous amounts of oil, butter or lard and are eaten in February-March on festive occasions, both in Ticino and in the northern regions of Italy.
Carnival is definitely the best-known festivity celebrated in the aforementioned period: in Switzerland and Italy it is just as important as the celebration of the Christmas and/or Easter festivities. There are processions in mask, bingo games, greasy poles, jokes, confetti, and it goes without saying, an abundance of food. In occasion of the Carnival, eating in abundance was mandatory: the term stems from "carne levare" (take away meat), which refers to the fasting period or Lent, which starts on the Ash Wednesday, the first day following Mardi Gras, which closes the Roman Carnival.
Some examples of typical items of this winter celebration are: luganighe (pork sausages), risotto, polenta, and all kinds of sweets and fritters.
(Written by The Swiss Culinary Heritage Association, www.patrimoineculinaire.ch)
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