Venice is very special for it’s century old history and countless traditions. The Redentore and Salute are just some of the local festivals celebrated throughout the year and Venetians are particularly passionate and proud to partake in these festivities. In November there is a special celebration- especially for the little ones- the San Martino Festival.
At the origin of this folkloric celebration is the legend- still passed on to future generations- Martino, a kind and generous knight, on a cold and rainy November day, cuts his cape in half to warm a cold beggar he meets across his path. A compassionate gesture that moved the clouds and warmed the air like summer (this is why this period is called the Summer of San Martino.)
Dedicated to the Saint is the beautiful church of San Martino just a couple of steps from Venice’s Arsenale in Castello, built in 1540. This festivity is much loved by children. In a fashion similar to Halloween, they stroll along the city on November 11th with a crown on their heads “banging” on pots and pans reciting a nursery rhyme to receive candy and sweets.
San Martino Dessert
This dessert cookie is prepared in Venice exclusively for the San Martino Festival and is a well-loved present given to children from their grandparents and parents.
The dessert is made in the form of a Saint Martino armed with a sword on horse. If you come to Venice around this time you will see these cookies in all the windows of the pastry shops. The cookie will have icing or be covered in dark or milk chocolate and garnished with little chocolates and candies.
Want to prepare one yourself?
Make a cookie cutter with the same shape out of cardboard. You’ll need a baking sheet 30×40 cm more or less. Draw the shape of San Martino with sword and horse, cut it out and put it aside.
Download the form of San Martino on Horse online
And now the Recipe:
Ingredients for “San Martino” of about 20×30 dimensions
250 grams of flour
150 grams of butter
100 grams of sugar
1 egg yolk + 1 egg
Teaspoon of vanilla
Cook for about 15/20 minutes at 180°C.
You will need to make icing and toppings:
250 -300 grams of powdered sugar
1 egg white
5 drops of lemon juice
100 grams of smarties (m&ms), chocolates and candies