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sportella

very feminine sweet cake

On Elba, in the town of Rio, there is ancient custom on Palm Sunday of men giving women they are courting a basket of flowers with a phallus shaped cake called a ceremito amid the blooms.

To accept the cake means the man's advances are welcome, a done deal when the women give the men a sportella, shaped like their own private parts, on Easter Monday.

The custom nearly died out but has since been revived to the delight of the locals and tourists. On Easter Monday, the Hermitage of Santa Caterina in Rio nell'Elba holds a traditional Festa della Sportella.

On the other side of Elba, they make a similar round cake with a hole in the middle called a corollo, which was made for May Day. Bachelors would serenade the women they loved, and if their suit was accepted, they would find a corollo stuck with ribbons on a special pole in their carts. These days they are made for any special event.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by traghetto di Elba