Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wicked Haunt-o-ween with Laura Tolomei and Halloween in Rome

The CONTEST IS CLOSED. THE WINNERS ARE: Dusty Katt, Vitajex, Judi Arella, and bn100! Congratulations!!

KAREN: Laura Tolomei is here from Rome to tell us about the celebrations in Italy. Halloween is a big deal here in the USA, but not all countries have the same traditions. Read on and find out what the Italians think of Halloween. For your special treat: Enjoy a favorite Italian recipe that Laura has shared with us.

***CONTEST IS FOR 18yrs and older only! Laura's tales are scorching hot and not for the tame. So beware... She's giving away an Ebook copy of The DEMON WAITER to one brave trick or treater. Read on to find out how you may add this treat to your goodie bag.

***The post and the recipe is for all trick or treaters!***

So it’s Halloween again… By Laura Tolomei

I’ll start up by saying that Halloween isn’t any sort of traditional holiday in Italy. Ghosts, goblins and spirits in general aren’t a big thing over here, never have been except in recent years, when commercial activities started importing this custom–not that anybody takes it seriously, but it’s a great way to sell more, which doesn’t hurt in these times of economical crisis. So for many of my Italian friends, Halloween is just another example of our bad habits of giving in to the fascination for anything USA. But they’re wrong, so very wrong! And let me tell you why.

Looking at the Roman Catholic’s traditions, which are still very much a part of the Italian way of life, you’ll discover that Nov. 1st is All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows, while Nov. 2nd is All Souls Day, the day of all deceased souls. Now, isn’t that a coincidence? In my modest opinion, these two celebrations are inevitably linked with Halloween, ‘cause what are saints and souls if not another side of ghosts and goblins? Then again, it’s enough to analyze the words to reach my same conclusion. The term Halloween says it all, since it comes from All Hallows Eve, the night before our All Saints Day. So my Italian friends are very much mistaken in thinking Halloween a foreign custom. We celebrate it just as much, if not more considering Nov. 1st is a national holiday over here, only our celebrations is focused on the daytime period, rather than the nighttime one.

I’ve tried explaining the difference in writing my latest Halloween story, The Demon Waiter:
Vaguely, Laurent remembered that, although Halloween didn’t have any significance in France, the first of November was All Saints Day while the second was the day officially dedicated to dead souls. And come to think of it, they all dealt with spirits in one form or another, whether good as during All Saints, or evil as in All Hallows Eve, or both ‘cause the dead could go either way.” 
(Excerpt from The Demon Waiter)

What Italians don’t do during the Halloween season, the time between October 31st and Nov. 2nd, is to dress up. That’s a tradition we reserve for the Carnival, which takes place before Lent, the forty days of prayers and fast preceding Easter. This period varies each year, according to when Easter Day falls, but could go from mid-January until mid-March, and it always ends with Mardi Gras, which I’m sure most of you have heard about, if only for the New Orleans celebrations. This is very popular in Italy, particularly with children, who love to dress up in their favorite costumes and parade the city streets, throwing what we call “coriandoli” (colored dots of paper), thereby increasing the city’s cleaning expenses each year. But it’s always a joy to watch them have fun like that, we all gladly pay them! Again, in The Demon Waiter I try to explain the difference between Halloween and the Carnival.

No doubt about it, he could relate to the Carnival and Mardi Gras in a way he never had with Halloween. No, it wasn’t just a matter of dressing up in costumes, which people did on both occasions. It had more to do with the differences in their finalities. Unlike Halloween, the Carnival was the prelude to a very spiritual period emphasizing the connection to God, rather than that with spirits in general. Its feasts marked the beginning of Lent’s fasts, so the excesses in the celebrations were somehow justified by the rigors that would follow, to remind everyone God enforced a severe moral code on his promoters. Like Ramadan for the Muslims, so the Catholics had to observe a strict diet during Lent, the forty days preceding Easter, in order to purify their bodies and souls to make them worthy of Christ’s resurrection.” (excerpt from The Demon Waiter)

Oh, there are a few traditional sweets you can find only during the Carnival season. The most popular are the “frappe” or Venetian Carnival Fritters.
Here’s the recipe from the Recipes and Cooking website:

6 tablespoons butter or vegetable shortening
 1/4 cup brandy, grappa or amaretto
 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups olive oil, for deep frying
 Confectioners'sugar, for dusting


Using an electric mixer, beat the butter or shortening and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the egg and the brandy. Beat in the salt. Add the flour and beat until blended. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until a soft dough forms. Form the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Shape the dough pieces into balls. Wrap the dough balls with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll the dough ball into a 12-inch diameter round (the dough should be very thin and almost transparent). Using a fluted pastry cutter, trim the edges to form a square shape. Cut the dough into 1-inch strips. Cut each strip in half crosswise to form 5-inch-long strips. Gently stretch the strip gently so that you have enough dough to tie a bow. Repeat with remaining dough strips. Gather the dough scraps, then reroll and cut them to make additional bowtie pastries.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium heat to 375 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the pastries until they puff and become golden, turning once, about 2 minutes total. Using tongs, transfer the pastries to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain the excess oil. While still hot, dust the pastries generously with confectioners' sugar and serve.

The pastries can be made 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Ciao from Rome, Laura Tolomei 

***CONTEST FOR 18YRS AND OLDER: Laura is giving away a copy of The Demon Waiter, to the reader who answers this question: What is the title of author Laura Tolomei's ongoing dark fantasy series and how many books have been released already?

The Demon Waiter 
AUTHOR Laura Tolomei
GENRE: GLBT, Gay, Ménage à trois, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, Holiday, m/m, m/m/f, m/m/m/f, m/m/m/m/m
HEAT LEVEL: 5 flames   PAGES: 121 WORD COUNT: 33.000
eXtasy Books


He hadn’t expected it. Not at all. And yet there it was, Laurent De Berger’s heart wish was a…impossible! And to think he had done it by the book, have sex in a dusty ghost town saloon with Anthony and Renée on Halloween night, only to find out…no, he still couldn’t believe it! But since there was no going around it, what to do now?


Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Welcome Laura,

Thanks so much for joining us!
I enjoyed reading your post. I had not realized until then that Italy did not celebrate Halloween. I just hadn't thought about it.

Sounds like you have a big celebration for the the Carnival (lent).

You book takes place around Halloween. What inspired you to write a story themed about Halloween?

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the recipe.

Virtus Saga
5 books have been released


Laura Tolomei aka Lalla Gatta said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen,
it's great to be here TODAY!!!! And thank you for having me here. It's a great opportunity to explain a bit about Italy's different tradtions. But this doesn't mean I don't appreciate Halloween.

In the five years I lived in the States, Halloween was one of my favorites times of the year! I LOVE it, and that's what inspired my tale in The Demon Waiter. But don't be fooled. It's not a classic Halloween story in that it's told by a Frenchman, Laurent, who brings to the books his European tastes and traditions, comparing them to the more American customs. So what inspired me was a mix of my double nature--European and USA blended together!

So happy reading to all and have loads of fun this Halloween!!!!

Ciao from Rome,


katsrus said... Best Blogger Tips

It's so interesting hearing about another countrie traditions and celebratations. The Venetian Carnival Fritters sound yummy. We have apple fritters here. I wonder if they are simular. I have never made them I just eat them. LOL. Your book sounds wonderful. Really like the cover.
Sue B

Loveless3173 said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for the recipe. Oh! and please enter me in on the contest! :D (If I'm not too late to enter...)

The tile of Laura's ongoing dark fantasy series is Virtus Saga, and there are 5 book so far. :)

Thank you! :D


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

The Virtus Saga has 5 books right now!
(The recipe looks great, too...)


Carriefort29 said... Best Blogger Tips

5 books in total
If I baked I would try the recipe

Shadow said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi! Great post. That recipe sounds yummy! Your series sounds great. So far, you have 5 books in the series. Thanks for sharing!

dusty katt said... Best Blogger Tips

The title of author Laura Tolomei's ongoing dark fantasy series is
Virtus Saga, it has 5 books already out and the sixth due next month. I'm really looking forward to it.

Carriefort29 said... Best Blogger Tips

This book looks very good

Anne said... Best Blogger Tips

Hmmmm, fried dough and sugar. I was looking for an easy way to make a funnel cake type item at home. A batch of these and the Demon Waiter sounds like a great way to pass an afternoon.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Laura has been generous enough to choose four winners! Congrats!!!! Thanks so much, Laura!!

dusty katt

vitajex@aol . com

Judi arella3173_loveless@


Laura Tolomei aka Lalla Gatta said... Best Blogger Tips

All the winners, please contact me at my business address:


Once I receive your email, I'll send you the prize!

Ciao from Rome,