“Amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori” (Love conquers all things, so we too shall yield to love) – Virgil, Eclogues
Every year, around the beginning of February, love is everywhere: to quote one of my favourite movies “love actually is all around”. You want to order a burger? Valentine’s deal! Looking for your favourite deodorant? Don’t miss our Valentine’s gift box! Watching a movie? Book an unforgettable 3 nights stay in our beautiful spa!
But what I really enjoy about the 14th of February, is to have a look at what people think about this controversial day (it shouldn’t be so!), and how they argue to each other in order to demonstrate that they are right:
-Group A, the cynical. A couple that is really in love, doesn’t need a special day to celebrate each other. Gifts should be given all year around, and you can have a romantic dinner whenever you like. Usually this group finds all Valentine’s related gifts very tacky and cheesy; women need to ask for more from a relationship rather than settling for a bunch of flowers once a year. They are Group C’s sworn enemy;
-Group B, the pragmatic. Valentine’s day is the sub-product of a capitalistic society, that forces couples and people in love to buy something, usually overpriced, to not feel pressured by their peers or partners. You might think that their most heated arguments are with Group C, but in a way they actually respect their commitment to this day; the true social concern for the pragmatic is Group D, that rushes in a supermarket to get a chocolate box just because social media told them to;
-Group C, the romantic. The preparation for Valentine’s day starts at the end of December, after the marathon to get the perfect Christmas gift. More than celebrating their loved ones, these people celebrate love itself: heart shaped chocolate boxes, flowers, cards, bubbles, nothing is too much for such a special day. Their efforts are not only towards the most thoughtful gifts, they also spend quite a lot of time arguing with Group A (classic example: C. “you are only jealous because I have somebody to celebrate with”, A. “why don’t you expect to be treated like a princess every day”).
-Group D, the oblivious. This group, despite the continuous exposure to Valentine’s related advert and merchandise, don’t realise it is Valentine’s day until that very day, when they run to the shops in order to get something last minute for their loved ones. Usually this group messages Group C at 8am on the 14th of February for emotional and organisational support.
If you ask for my opinion, I am once again just sitting there with my bowl of popcorn, enjoying the arguments and waiting for my favourite moment, when from a discussion related to Valentine’s day people switch to politics, old family disputes or who is the best Power Ranger.
But since today is meant to be all about love, today we are going to talk about a delicious treat from Rome, that has a special link with romanticism and weddings.
Maritozzi are dough-based buns, filled with whipped cream.
They became popular in the Middle Ages; in those times Maritozzi looked quite differently from the ones we know today as were made with raisins, pine nuts and candied fruit. Given that they were the only treat allowed by the Church during the Lent, they were called “Santi Maritozzi” (Holy Maritozzi).
As for its name, “maritozzo” derives from “marito”, the Italian word for husband. Traditionally, on the first Friday in March, the boyfriend would propose to his loved one with a large maritozzo, which was covered in sugar and might also have some drawings of hearts or holding hands. And here is the best part: in the whipped cream, the husband-to-be used to hide a ring or a small golden object.
Author’s note: you better tell me if something is hidden in my food, as there is some serious risk that I swallow everything in two bites without even chewing.
Another theory about maritozzi, is that all the single ladies (oh oh oh, oh oh oh) in Rome made maritozzi for the prettiest guy in town, and he would marry the woman with the greatest culinary talent.
I mean, today is all about romance, I know – but to me making fantastic maritozzi seem like a very good reason to marry someone!