All Souls day, which falls on the 2nd November, is a significant event in the Catholic calendar which pays homage to the dead, especially those whose souls are stuck in purgatory.
In Napoli, a city enrobed by superstition, shrines and shadowy under layers of catacombs, All Saints day (1st Nov) and All Souls day present an opportunity to pay respects to deceased relatives by visiting graves. Older, alarmingly morbid practices are still carried out where church crypts are lit up and coffin lids are opened or removable glass panels taken out so that the relatives of the decaying can see their faces, caress the corpses and make the sign of the cross over their head. This of course, is no longer common practise and remains a ritual for the religiously devout.
In Napoli, every event calls for an edible homage. Around the time of All Saints & All Souls day, sugared skulls and skeletons appear and temp children for a pittance.
With such a great respect for the dead and in timely coinciding with Halloween (a Pagan celebration of the dead who’ve passed before us), I have made another sweet treat usually associated with festival.
Here is my version of Torrone dei Morti (Torrone of the dead), in which layers of chocolate and nuts give a sweet taste to an otherwise bitter remembrance.
Slices can be wrapped and gifted – why not?!🙂
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