I am a great admirer of chocolate, sweets and candies and when it comes to Italian sweet delights I just go crazy. I can say with a hand on my heart that I cannot do without them even for a single day. There are various types of Italian “dolci” but one of my preferences is the so called “Babbà napoletano”.
Maybe you know it and have already tasted it. Also it’s possible that you know something about its origin but now I would like to recount to you a brief story which I came across some time ago.
The story of the origin of babbà goes to the reign of the King of Poland, Stanisław I Leszczyński, at the beginning of the 18th century. He was a great admirer of “1001 Nights” (or better known as “Arabian Nights”) fairy tales. His favourite tale was the one about Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. When the court chef “invented” that sweet soaked in rum, the King decided to name it after his favourite character, namely Ali Baba. How nice! 🙂 The initial shape of the sweet in question wasn’t accidental, too. And do you wanna know where it was borrowed from? It was borrowed from the dome of the Hagia Sophia Church in Istanbul.
It would be interesting to track also the path of the sweet before it reached Naples and became one of the Neapolitan confectionery landmarks. Soooo…. At the beginning of the 19th century a notable French confectioner introduced and started offering the sweet in his pastry shop which has still been existing in Paris up to now.
Often travelling to Paris, Neapolitan merchants liked it so much so that they fetched it to Naples. They kept the accented “à” at the end of the French name but they doubled the consonant “b” and renamed it into “babbà”.
Nowadays “Babbà napoletano” is famous for being one of the most typical and notable sweets of the region of Naples.
Buon appetito, guys, and enjoy the rum-soaked babbà. 🙂