Chef Holly Smith’s Zeppole with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gelato

If you’ve wandered the streets of New York’s famed Little Italy neighborhood in September you may have savored a zeppole. Street vendors serve these fried Italian fritter-like treats at the annual Feast of San Gennaro in lower Manhattan. In the south of Italy, zeppole traditionally are served on the feast day of St. Joseph, celebrated on March 19.

Zeppole sometimes are called “Italian doughnuts” and are typically topped with powdered sugar. But zeppole can also be filled with custard, jelly, or pastry cream.

Washington state chef Holly Smith prepares a zeppole tossed in sugar and sprinkled very lightly with truffle salt. The zeppole are fried in Arbosana extra virgin olive until golden browned. Smith, who heads the kitchen at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, accompanies them with a gelato made from EVOO.

It’s a great flavor match. And an unusual one at that. Recently, we were at a healthy living and eating conference at the Culinary Institute of America’s campus in California’s Napa Valley. During one session, senior chef-instructor Bill Briwa served his own take on EVOO gelato.

Beforehand, a buzz had developed among the doctors, nutritionists and others who were in attendance. Extra virgin olive oil gelato? But they were sold after one bite. Even without a zeppole to go with it.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch