Is Gnocchi Friday Even A Real Thing?

There are 195 countries around the globe and each country has its own unique cuisine. Some foods even differ based on the region within each country; for example, coastal areas may have more seafood in their diet. So, out of all of those different cuisines, which is the most popular? YouGov reports that out of the 24 countries they surveyed, Italian cuisine is the most popular.

With pizza, pasta, and tiramisu (to name a few) being some of the most popular dishes, it's no surprise that Italian cuisine surpassed the others. Regardless of popularity, each dish to ever exist has its own special history. One Italian dish with an interesting origin is gnocchi. Today, it's commonly known as being made with potatoes, but it used to be made with just flour and water like traditional pasta before potatoes arrived in Italy (per taste atlas). Gnocchi is a big deal in Italy — there is even have a whole festival dedicated to it (via Comitato Carnevale Bacanàl del Gnoco).

Gnocchi Friday is real

To understand why and how Gnocchi Friday became a thing, we must go back to A.D. 1531 in Verona, Italy (via Comitato Carnevale Bacanàl del Gnoco). Around this time, Verona was hit with an awful famine, and some people were hoarding and price gouging flour, which led to a breakout of riots (per South China Morning Post). In an effort to stop the civil unrest, several affluent Veronese citizens took it upon themselves to give flour to the people. In order to avoid another famine and riots, Tommaso Da Vico took it upon himself. He was a doctor who declared in his will that his fortune be used each year towards feeding the people of Verona. He wrote that flour, butter, bread, cheese, and wine would be distributed to all the citizens, which coincidentally included the ingredients for gnocchi. That's when Venerdì Gnocolar, or Gnocchi Friday, was born.

Gnocchi Friday is on the last Friday before Lent during the Carnival of Verona (per NPR), so the exact date is different each year. According to Michelin-star chef Giancarlo Perbellini, owner and chef of Casa Perbellini in Verona, Gnocchi Friday is "the most awaited event of the Carnival of Verona. It features a parade of masked figures, including Papà del Gnoco, who holds a giant golden fork with a big gnocco on top. At the end of the colorful parade, he distributes hot potato gnocchi dishes to everyone" (via South China Morning Post).