Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Traditional Italian Dessert: Pinza

Pinza triestina — a local variant of pinza bread from Trieste

Pinza is a traditional Italian sweet roll dessert which is popular in Istria and Dalmatia, as well as in the area around Trieste (pinza triestina) and Gorizia (pinza goriziana) in Italy. Pinza is most commonly an Easter food made from eggs; it is baked with a cross-shape in the center and is frequently eaten as breakfast at the end of Lent. Sometimes it is also eaten at Christmas and is made with nuts and dried fruit.

The name ‘pinza’ derives from the Latin verb ‘pinsare’, which means ‘to knead’ or ‘to beat’. The word ‘pizza’ (one of the most popular Italian foods in the world) is believed to have the same etymological origins. Different types of desserts with this same name can be found throughout Italy in the areas of Veneto (pinza veneta), Trentino (pinza trentina), Friuli (pinza friulana), Bologna (pinza bolognese) and other parts of Italy.

In recent decades, due to the Croatian and Slovenian occupation of Istria and Dalmatia, many local Italian traditions and cuisines of Istria and Dalmatia have entered modern Croatian and Slovenian culture and cuisine, including pinza (where it is known as pinca, sirnica or pogača). Some even say that it is not a “true Croatian Easter” without pinza bread. Therefore it is only natural that, in a further attempt usurp Istrian and Dalmatian culture and rewrite history, attempts have been made by Slavic revisionists to claim pinza as a “Slavic” food, entirely ignoring its introduction into Istria and Dalmatia by the native Italians.