What looks like a doughnut, tastes like a biscuit, and is assembled to mimic a candy necklace? Brasadè, a 19th-century snack from Oltrepò Pavese, part of Italy’s northwestern region of Lombardy.
Bakers cook the dough twice—first by boiling, then baking in the oven—turning it into crunchy, long-lasting fuel. To prepare an edible garland, the brasadè-maker threads five doughnuts flat-side down and five doughnuts flat-side up on a cotton cord. Then, they add one more doughnut to clasp the ends of the string together.
Why wearable doughnuts? One origin story suggests that the strand of biscuits served as an adornment for Catholic children who were receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. After the ceremony, the brasadè served as a gift for those who’d been confirmed; the longer the strand, the wealthier the family.
Another explanation posits that the snack bracelet was designed for boys to hide beneath their sleeves during long religious services. The cheap, portable biscuits could stave off hunger without leaving crumbs, but surely weren’t the quietest snack in church.
Need to Know
In the town of Staghiglione, Easter Monday is marked by a Brasadè Festival.
Where to Try It
Antica Trattoria FerrariVia dei Mille 111 , Pavia, 27100 , Italy
This full-service restaurant features brasadè with zabaglione on their sweets menu.
Panetteria Dabusti33 Piazza Duomo, Voghera, 27058, Italy
This pastry shop features plenty of cakes, candies, and confections.