Italy’s oldest and most celebrated legend Painting by James Lewicki, from “The Golden Book of Christmas Tales” 1956 . Or has it killed the game? So as you can imagine I’m not a big fan as I was always a bit too curious on Befana night. We finish it off with grated sturgeon roe, similar to bottarga.". For Christmas Day the menu runs regionally, and with enormous diversity, with traditional dishes ranging from tortellini or natalini in brodo (or the local version of tortellini) to lasagna (or both); from baccalà (cod) to anguilla (eel), and from cappone (capon) to … Do you eat Zampone or Cotechino? Breakfast. Another classic Italian dessert is cannoli, a pastry filled with sweetened ricotta cheese. It’s just so nice and fresh as it puffs up in the oil – you can’t imagine how good it is! Along with the fancy lights, wreaths and trees, presepi (nativity … Since most Italians do not eat meat on Christmas Eve, here are some traditional second-course items to enjoy. Unsurprisingly for a country with such rich culinary traditions, there are dozens of delicacies which are all but unheard of abroad. This is especially true at Christmas, when a few ingredients from the local area are prepared in ingenious ways to create snacks and dishes. Photo: an Italian panettone, a sweet bread for Christmas. Some popular ones are: Calamari, Scungilli (conch), Baccalà (cod), Scampi (shrimp), Clams, Mussels, and a larger fish like snapper. Italians also cook fish on Christmas Day, not just Christmas Eve. Italians shouldn’t eat meat on Christmas Eve, cause Catholic tradition implies that you shouldn’t eat meat before the festivities in general. The traditional Christmas Eve dinner is steeped in folk tradition and as Maria Laurino writing for the NY Times has said, the ritual varies from region to region, including the number and type of fish served. 55 views Editor's note: This article by Tom Shingler first appeared on Great Italian Chefs. In Puglia, sweet wine is one of the flavors most associated with Christmas and is used as the basis for two of the region’s most beloved festive treats, cartellate and vinocotto. Well, if you’re eating fish White Wine if you’re having a hefty meaty dinner red. One of these is agnolotti del plin, a specialty in Piemonte that’s always served at big gatherings, particularly Christmas. A popular Christmas food in Emilia-Romagna and the north: filled pasta. What is the difference between Pandoro and Panettone? JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Spend just $99.00 more and enjoy free shipping. So I headed to Italian restaurant Union Street Café in London to talk to the chefs there and find out about some more of the traditional Italian Christmas recipes they cook when they go home. Photo Courtesy of Manu’s Menu . Afterwards, we always have a grappa. In Italy the Christmas season lasts for a few weeks up until Epiphany. Now it seems more common to have meat at an Italian Christmas dinner, with many eating turkey and … Presepi, presepi, and more presepi. She’s the good witch that brings sweets to all the Italian kids. We’ve all heard of ravioli and tortellini, but there are countless other filled pastas that aren’t ever really seen outside Italy. It is absolutely delicious but wouldn’t work in a restaurant like ours!". A strict fast is observed for 24 hours before Christmas, and then an elaborate feast is served on Christmas Day. 5 things that matter in life: i) something ii) something else iii) another thing iv) something completely unrelated v) and something that rules out everything I said in the last 4. Traditional Italians eat 7 different kinds of fish for Christmas. In the case where there are no relatives visiting, people will eat leftovers or try innovative recipes with leftovers from the night before. Potatoes. Il Giorno di Santo Stefano (Boxing Day) You pass it around the table and everyone has a sip. Especially in the South, traditional food for this evening are broccoli with garlic, oil and lemon, spaghetti with clams, fried salted cod, big fried eels, boiled cauliflower with olives, anchovies and capers. For dinner on Christmas Eve, most Italians eat fish and seafood. How much does it cost to build a house in Italy? Lunch is the main meal. Sometimes referred to as The Feast of the Seven Fishes, not everybody sticks to exactly seven; some go up to 11 or 12, predominantly shellfish. That’s how you know that you’re really in Italy with those tasty tasty flutes. The foods served vary with each region but may consist of turkey, chicken, rabbit, spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, or another variation of a pasta dish. The immaculate conception on the 8th of December, this is the day where you get together with family and decorate the house for Christmas. "Durum wheat makes a much rougher pasta than what you find in the north; theirs is better suited to ravioli and filled pasta as it’s more flexible," says Stefano. Discover the varied food traditions observed in Italy during the Christmas period, and how each region approaches the festive season. "An example of this is agnolotti del plin – which means ‘pinched’ – which we eat at Christmas time. We then grate the dough into the broth, which cooks it and turns the dish into a sort of soupy pasta. Baccalà Con Peperoni Cruschi (Cod with Fried Peppers). Epiphany is also important in Italy. Tradition implies that you need to eat fish for Christmas Eve, but again this really depends on where in Italy you’re from, and what your plans are for the next day. So, is Christmas a good time to visit Italy? Especially the children look forward to the start of the Christmas season in December when Christmas trees are put up and houses are decorated. Try simply unwrapping your panettone and setting it out. And today Italians continue the tradition, singing carols in front of nativity scenes during the 8 days running up to Christmas known as the Novena (16 th to 24 th Dec). On the day after Christmas, Italians have another feast, Santo Stefano’s Lunch. Often, no meat and sometimes no dairy is eaten, but a light seafood meal is eaten before people go to Midnight Mass. Italians do not eat bacon, eggs, toast or pancakes for breakfast. ... A soup made of broth and cardoons (artichoke... BASILICATA. Since most Italians do not eat meat on Christmas Eve, here are some traditional second-course items to enjoy. Most shops close for the pausa pranzo (lunch break) between 13:00 and 15:00. Italians have the right idea by abstaining from meat on Christmas Eve. If you’re interested in Florence read more about Florence in December). On Christmas my family has always eaten meat, we start with meat appetizers as vitello tonnato (veal tonné), cold cuts, cotechino and boiled potatoes or purée, then a main course of lasagna or cappelletti in capon's broth, and so on. Sign up for our newsletters and be the first to learn about the latest news and promotions! Not only Italians but most of the nations of Catholic culture, like Poland. Select Italy puts you in touch with the heart of Italian culture, from the Tuscan countryside to the capital of Rome, and provides the information needed to organize a once in a lifetime tour of Italy. So to get you into the festive spirit (but hopefully not the dentist's chair), here is a selection of 10 brilliant Italian sweets! This collection of authentic Italian Christmas Eve and Christmas Day recipes will help you to plan a holiday just like Nonna. But the one thing that is ever-present on an Italian Christmas table is Spumante or Prosecco, the Italian Champagne, the Bubbly. It was brought to America in the early 1900s when immigrants wanted to stay connected to their culture. Panettone is a sweet bread originating from Milan, Italy that is often eaten around Christmas time. Question after question that only enjoying a nice Italian Christmas meal you’ll discover the answers to. Turkey. – Stefano Decostanzo, "The grolla is something nobody really knows about outside Italy. Surprised? Italy is known for its recipes that combine taste and a unique piece of home. The traditional Christmas Eve dinner is meatless. This dessert is as simple as it is delicious: it is basically fried sweet bread dough. Christmas is that one celebration that really brings everybody together, be it the joy of receiving gifts or spending time with the family, it’s all about the opportunity to enjoy some quality time together indoors away from the cold. Well that is a pretty good question, but one that you’ll be surprised to hear the answer to, the original idea was to eat only fish, but mostly because you’ll eat like a mad man on Christmas day. Instead, the tradition is for Italians to eat fish dishes. Google gelato:P They often eat fruit and cheese for dessert. What do Italians Eat for Christmas? Unsurprisingly for a country with such rich culinary traditions, there are dozens of delicacies that are all but unheard of abroad. You’ll be surprised, Italian Cuisine and traditional italian food, Leonardo da Vinci – The first and last Renaissance Man, The Italian Christmas Witch? Going all the way down the Christmas traditions in Italy route, you can’t find anything better than the feasts, and the more feasts really, cause Italian traditions are made for gaining weight, especially being there are so many of them. Minestra Di Cardi (Cardoon Soup). In my home, Christmas Eve began around 3 pm. Italians celebrate New Year's Eve, known as the Vigilia, Capodanno, or Festa di San Silvestro, with a cenone (big feast).This celebratory meal often features several courses and lasts for many hours. PANETTONE. Natale (Christmas) 3. It’s like the age-old debate of what winter desert is better, Panettone or Pandoro? Explore more cultural and culinary articles from some of Italy’s best chefs and writers! Pasta in brodo —pasta in broth—is a common kickoff to … Even the most common Italian Christmas traditions will vary from region to region. For many Italian Americans, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a can’t-miss Christmas tradition. What do Italians Eat for Christmas Dinner?? Photo Courtesy of Manu’s Menu . They’re dipped in hot water for less than a minute, then served in a pile on the middle of the table on top of a napkin covered in Parmigiano Reggiano and truffle. Davide and Stefano describe what they drink throughout the festive season, along with Davide Gagliazzo, the bar manager at Union St Café. That’s how you know that you’re really in Italy with those tasty tasty flutes. It’s not uncommon that in any family 4 to 8 pieces are bought or received as a gift in the festive season. Polish clear barsch with uszka (small ears) dumplings filled with dried wild mushrooms. Italians typically eat a … Grolla is very common in the mountains of Piemonte when it’s cold outside; everyone sits down next to the fireplace and passes it around." "You put them all in a pot and simmer the mixture very, very slowly, whisking until it all comes together. Cause Italy Christmas traditions are as important to your Italian experience as going out on a bender when you first arrive, I know that’s defo not the case, but yeah…..and I’m not only talking about uni students also your family coming over enjoying that sweet sweet Italian wine. The street of San Gregorio Armeno is nativity scene central, the whole street is full of sculptors that prepare the figurines, and during the rest of the year, you can also find some pretty fun figurines of celebrities as well. Just as you thought your feasting would end with Christmas Day, you were wrong you were dead wrong my friend, cause even though you did your fair share and ate all the good food that was on your plate. Anyway, Italians (shouldn’t) really don’t eat much on Christmas Eve, I mean with the increase of divorced families in the country the situation is evolving and it’s becoming another Christmas feast, but the real feast is on Christmas Day, and the menu varies from region to region. Served with mostarda di Cremona, a spicy candied… You pinch the pasta over each tiny block of cheese, then cut them apart. Let’s find out what are some Christmas traditions in Italy? This is especially true of Italian holiday traditions, the vast majority of which are rooted in the country’s traditional observance of Christian holy days. Keep an eye out for the traditional shepherd bagpipers or zampognari, who accompany the carol singers too, especially in Rome, Southern Italy or Sicily, heralding the start of holy festivities. "It’s basically pizza dough made very roughly in a pot by hand; nothing more than flour, a touch of yeast, water, and salt. Indeed, capitone is eaten on Christmas Eve, since it is a well-known rule around the country that it is better to eat fish on this day. – Davide Degiovanni. 7. Especially in the South, traditional food for this evening are broccoli with garlic, oil and lemon, spaghetti with clams, fried salted cod, big fried eels, … In this piece, Great Italian Chefs features editor Tom Shingler compares what Italians love to eat — and drink — during the holidays in northern Piemonte and southern Puglia. Capitone (eel) The "capitone" is the female eel, and it is named like that because of the larger size of … It is mostly seen in southern Italy and Sicily, where fish is the most abundant, and each area celebrates in their own way. I remember waiting for it to be cooked and my grandmother slapping my hand because I wanted to eat it right out of the oil. Despite its popularity among Americans, many Italians do not even know about the tradition — or its origin. The real tradition in Italy comes at midnight on Christmas Eve when the Duomo of each city celebrates the midnight mass, I’m sure that if you’re in a country with a majority Christian population it’s the same for you. Will probably make you change your mind. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is something that dates backs to the first Roman Catholics, but today is something that isn’t really celebrated in Italy itself. The average Christmas Day meal is enough to fill your belly for a good few days. 42. Ask most people what Italians eat for Christmas, and they’ll almost always say panettone; it’s one of the few specialities that have started to influence Christmas celebrations in other cultures. No that’s La Befana. Originally published December 16, 2016. The tradition is based on the Three Wise Men, but don’t ask me how they became an old witch that is pretty chill if you’re sleeping, but whacks you in the head if you wake up in the middle of the night to catch her. What do Italians eat on Christmas Eve? It started through the Catholic tradition of abstaining from eating meat or animal products on Holy days and Fridays through the year. In Italian Catholic homes, Christmas Eve is a much bigger event than anything following it. Bring on the sword fish, tuna, salmon, octopus salad, smelts, calamari, spaghetti with clam sauce and the … There was always a lot of spiced wine going around, too, flavored with fruit, spices and citrus peel." Registered Eataly.com users may modify their preferences on the page "MY ACCOUNT". This is a religious custom as 24 th December is considered a day of fasting or abstinence, which Italians call ‘giorni di magro’ (meaning lean days). Italian custom has it that if you start the New Year by eating lentils, it will bring you wealth and good fortune throughout the year (the coin-shaped lentils are symbolic of fortune). You can’t keep going all the way till the end of the day just eating right? "We mix the flour with eggs, Pecorino, and parsley to make a dough, then leave it to rest while we make a fish broth. One of the best things about Christmas is the amount of sweet pastries, biscuits and desserts on offer. The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated January 6 with a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana are a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations. Anyway, the idea is don’t eat meat before a festivity, and in this case, it’s a pro for the question above. La Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve) 2. It goes so well with the deep fried dough.". Special offers, new products, and creative gifts, Classes, events, and complimentary tastings, We will be sure that you're up-to-date on the world of high-quality food and drink. NO, give yourself a break and skim through our StudentsVille Blog to read some of the past experience of other students like yourself, and we’re pretty sure you’ll change your mind and find the right accommodation for you. Christmas is a major holiday in Italy… which means Italians celebrate lots of great, unique Christmas traditions! They vary a lot from north to south, I mean it really depends on where you are. What do Italians eat on Christmas Eve? In Italy, Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally lighter with no meat and a lot of seafood, while the Italian-American meal has evolved into much more of a feast. By Jamie magazine • November 23, 2015 • In Christmas. In Naples you’ll eat Lamb, in Emilia Romagna you’ll eat Pasta in Brodo, but it really depends. Lunch is usually regarded as the most important meal. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. Christmas is a joyful time of year, during which everything is light and colorful. In December we’d finish them off with a little sugar syrup and they’d turn out like limoncello but all sorts of different flavors. In this piece, Great Italian Chefs features editor Tom Shingler compares what Italians love to eat — and drink — during the holidays in northern Piemonte and southern Puglia. Christmas week in Italy means one thing: feasting. Christmas traditions in the United States have many eclectic origins with those from the United Kingdom predominant, but many others over the past 400 years have come from Scandinavia, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and, most recently, … It originally comes from Milan and it takes 20 hours for the dough to rise three times, which helps produce the domed shape of the panettone and gives it its light porous texture. Cause maybe you’re with another side of the family so you find yourself having a Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. You’ll get to ski down the slopes only with torches. Epiphany – January 6 . The nativity scenes are a huge deal in Italy like you have no idea how much preparation goes behind them. To properly break down all the stringy fibers, you have to cook them for two or three hours. The answer can be found in the biodiversity of Italy: the country boasts so many differences between the north and south. Breakfast. It’s pretty bad-ass. On Epiphany night, children believe that an old lady called 'Befana' brings presents for them. Morning Tea . Italian Christmas Food and Drink. Puglian cuisine is known for being brilliant in its simplicity. Catholic Italians celebrate Christmas as a “day of abstinence", on Christmas Eve the family eats a meatless dinner that traditionally it followed by a living nativity scene and midnight mass.In some parts of southern Italy on Christmas Eve is served a seven fishes dinner known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes or La Vagilia. Everyone digs in with their hands; there’s no cutlery. Gelato is an ice cream. Italians eat gelato. Usually, in the States, it’s Santa Clause that brings coal to naughty kids right? Italian Christmas traditions. An Italian Christmas Dilemma. 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