The Ancient Gnocchi

Posted: Updated:

The Italian word gnocchi translates to lumps, but it is thought the name may have come from the word nocchio which means a knot in the wood or possibly from nocca which means knuckle.

It should be noted that the word gnocchi is plural and refers to several gnocco (singular) however, the singular word is hardly ever used and the word gnocchi is often used in the singular.

Popular throughout the world, gnocchi, or potato dumplings, are simple and quick to prepare.

Gnocchi not only have ancient origins, but are probably the oldest type of pasta made by man, originally formed by pushing the dough through small tubs and shaping them with your fingers.

Although potato gnocchi are the most popular type of dumpling nowadays, they can be made with a variety of ingredients, including wheat, rice, vegetables of dried bread. In the past, gnocchi were actually made from a dough of bread, milk and almonds and were called zanzarelli.

And at the beginning of the modern age, a legend began to spread associating gnocchi with the city of Verona. In 1531, the city experienced a terrible famine due to both the invasion of the Landsknechts and a terrible flood.

Hungry citizens stormed the main piazza and tried to attack the bakeries to get bread.

Thanks to the actions of Tommaso Da Vico, they people of Verona were not successful.

On the last Friday of Carnival, Da Vico distributed, at his expense, bread, butter, flour and cheese to the people so that they could make gnocchi. It seems that in his will, Da Vico asked for the tradition to continue.

Every year during Carnival, Verona is host to a gnocchi festival.