When I was growing up in New York, from third grade through high school, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend my summers in Italy. I would stay with my grandmother in Cesenatico, hang out at the beach with my friends, and eat the wonderful food my grandmother cooked. I have never become accustomed to the traditional American breakfast of eggs and fried pork products, or even cereal. Some fresh bread with butter and jam and caffèlatte is my preferred breakfast, with the proportion of coffee to milk increasing as I have gotten older, from just a drop in a large cup of milk when I was little, to mostly coffee with a splash of milk as an adult. But even better than bread and butter is a breakfast sweet such as my grandmother’s ciambella. She always seemed to have some on hand. It’s very easy to make and keeps wonderfully on the kitchen counter for as long as a week. It may well keep even longer, but I’ve never been able to resist eating it for long enough to find out. The classic shape of a ciambella is a ring; in fact, there is a saying for when something doesn’t work out: non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco, which means, “not all ciambelle come out with a hole.” My grandmother always made hers in the shape of a loaf — it was no less delicious for it, and that is how I still prefer to make it.
© 2012 Giuliano Hazan. All rights reserved.