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Italy celebrates Carbonara Day on 6 April

Carbonara celebrated in the largest "spaghetti social" in the world.

Carbonara, one of the signature dishes of Roman cuisine, is being celebrated in Italy and around the world with the annual #CarbonaraDay on Thursday 6 April.

There will be a virtual marathon of carbonara-themed events on the day which is also a good excuse to visit your favourite trattoria for a bowl of the much-loved Roman dish with five essential ingredients: pasta, guanciale, pecorino, egg, pepper.

CarbonaraDay, organised by the Italian Food Union and the International Pasta Organisation since 2017, features a series of online culinary events, with the chance to follow the carbonara recipes of top chefs live from your own kitchen.

Over the last seven years the annual celebration has become the world's largest "spaghetti social" online, with more than 1.8 million Instagram posts containing the hashtag #Carbonara.

The 2023 event can be followed on social media via #CarbonaraDay with fans posting live video recipes and sharing their opinions, photos and tips on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

But what are the origins of the classic dish which can be found in Italian restaurants all over the world? The answer is slightly hazy.

To some, the name suggests a connection to the coal-workers, or carbonari, of the Lazio and Abruzzo regions, with the black pepper used to season the dish thought to resemble coal dust.

This would indicate that the carbonara was first created in the mid-19th century.

However another theory suggests that the dish arrived in Rome during world war two when American troops brought their army rations of bacon and eggs to the Italian capital.

Carbonara made international headlines recently after the Financial Times stirred up a culinary controversy over its interview with Italian food scholar Alberto Grandi who claimed that "Italian cuisine really is more American than it is Italian."

The article also cited food historian Luca Cesari, author of A Brief History of Pasta, who claims that carbonara is “an American dish born in Italy”.

Internationally there is an ever-increasing amount of variations to the classic dish to the consternation of Italians who insist that any deviation from the original recipe means it simply cannot be called carbonara.

In 2020 Romans reeled in horror at celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's "nightmare carbonara" while in 2021, and again recently, The New York Times caused upset in Italy with its Smoky Tomato Carbonara recipe.

This year's Carbonara Day comes a couple of weeks after the Italian government launched a bid to have Italy's cuisine inserted on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

Some of Rome's best "carbonara restaurants" include Flavio al Velavevodetto in Testaccio, Armando al Pantheon in the historic centre, Da Enzo al 29 in Trastevere, and Da Danilo in the Esquilino quarter.

Meanwhile for those seeking to create their own perfect carbonara at home, here is our recipe in English.

Marymount - International School Rome
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Ambrit 320 x 480
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia