Yeah…that’s what my grandma would tell me. Let’s find out what are some Christmas traditions in Italy? "This is a perfectly balanced dessert and it’s so simple," says Stefano. The meal's components may include some combination of anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, baccalà (dried salt cod), smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels and clams. But even with this common practice, another tradition is to go to town with the fish meals on 24th December. So, while you’re still in your apartment why not start this tradition with your house-mates. Will probably make you change your mind. "My grandmother used to make pettole for the whole family," says Stefano. "On Christmas morning, we traditionally always start with an aperitif at the bar in my town while all the wives, mothers and grandmothers cook the big meal – normally a Negroni or glass of Prosecco. Do you eat Zampone or Cotechino? Editor's note: This article by Tom Shingler first appeared on Great Italian Chefs. On Epiphany night, children believe that an old lady called 'Befana' brings presents for them. Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re celebrating an “Italian Christmas” then you’ve most likely heard of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.. 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 … Lunch is the main meal. The menu may also include pasta, vegetables, baked goods and wine. 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. 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. Tombola…It’s Bingo really, but Italians make it all the much more fun putting numbers and characters together. Often, you serve this tasty fish dish over polenta. It’s a sort of lidded clay jar with lots of little spouts to drink out of, which we fill with a mixture of coffee and either brandy, cognac or grappa. But you know that I’m going to give you an Italo-centric Christmas post. Mine eats octopus. Try something different this year with an Italian take on Christmas lunch. (in some families it may be mushroom soup or żurek (sour rye soup). One of these is agnolotti del plin, a specialty in Piemonte that’s always served at big gatherings, particularly Christmas. Italians do eat American favorites like meat sauce and Alfredo sauce, but during a normal week, most pasta dishes are served in a light sauce with basil or a small amount of meat. In Italian Catholic homes, Christmas Eve is a much bigger event than anything following it. This is especially true at Christmas, when a few ingredients from the local area are prepared in ingenious ways to create snacks and dishes. Christmas in Italy is celebrated over several weeks as Italians celebrate from early December, depending on the region, until the day of Epiphany, on the 6th of January. Eat like the Italians this Christmas. Ask most people what Italians eat for Christmas, and they’ll almost always say panettone; it’s one of the few specialties that have started to influence Christmas celebrations in other cultures. Presepi, presepi, and more presepi. This dessert is as simple as it is delicious: it is basically fried sweet bread dough. So as you can imagine I’m not a big fan as I was always a bit too curious on Befana night. Also typical of the southern regions (Campania, Pulia, Calabria) are the zeppole (also called struffoli in some areas). 10 Steps To Making Espresso In A Moka, The Italian Coffee... Best Street Markets in Florence the complete list. Discover the varied food traditions observed in Italy during the Christmas period, and how each region approaches the festive season. Another classic Italian dessert is cannoli, a pastry filled with sweetened ricotta cheese. Now it seems more common to have meat at an Italian Christmas dinner, with many eating turkey and … Interested in Italian Cuisine and traditional italian food? In Italy the Christmas season lasts for a few weeks up until Epiphany. – Stefano Decostanzo, "The grolla is something nobody really knows about outside Italy. In my home, Christmas Eve began around 3 pm. 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. (In Emilia-Romagna, cotechino and zampone are not just a New Year’s eve tradition, but are also eaten on Christmas day.) Try simply unwrapping your panettone and setting it out. To answer the question what do Italians eat it is best to list all the individual meals eaten in a typical day. You should really check Naples out, cause the nativity scene game is real strong ( discover the complete Naple’s guide). Another way that Italians enjoy panettone doesn’t involve slicing it at all. Traditionally served for Christmas Eve dinner, this meal consists of a spread of seven different types of seafood, from appetizers to main courses—and it can last for hours! […] going to talk about Panettone and Pandoro. 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. Mostly the Neapolitans play the Tombola in the Christmas period, I mean you need a break from all the food really. … Even some of the vegetables enjoyed throughout Piemonte are all but unheard of outside Italy. An Italian Christmas Dilemma. Once these two bad boys come out, you know it’s Christmas time in Italy ( discover more about italians holidays and […]. The region of Calabria serve dry codfish and eel is still used as part of an Italian Christmas dinner in mainly Campania, Sicily and Puglia. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Meats. It goes so well with the deep fried dough.". It started through the Catholic tradition of abstaining from eating meat or animal products on Holy days and Fridays through the year. Cardoons look like giant stalks of dark green celery but taste completely different. 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. Epiphany is also important in Italy. December is the month when many workers are eagerly awaiting for their tredicesima (13th month pay), an extra month’s salary that arrives just in time for gift shopping. Copyright © 2015 - 2019 Eataly Net USA LLC - All Rights Reserved, Ravioli di Zucca (Butternut Squash Ravioli Recipe). Christmas breakfasts and dinners are feasts, to be sure, but they are not as formal or festive or sacred as Christmas Eve dinner. People from the mountains seem to love fondue. The foods served are symbolic of wishes for the coming year and are accompanied by plenty of festive drinks like Prosecco or spumante (sparkling wine). 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. Served with mostarda di Cremona, a spicy candied… Well, the perilous companion of every Italian Christmas tradition. Italian Christmas Dinner . Gelato is an ice cream. The answer can be found in the biodiversity of Italy: the country boasts so many differences between the north and south. 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. So, even Good Friday you don’t eat meat, but today the traditions are evolving just like the Italian population, and it’s up to you to decide if you want to eat meat or not. Puglia’s bountiful coastline means fresh fish usually makes up the majority of the Christmas dinner, but it’s one of the other ingredients the region is famous for – durum wheat – that takes the spotlight in the festive fish soup known as semola battuta. To end it all off we have the Befana, some say she’s Misses Claus, but others believe she is totally separate from Saint Nick. They’re usually made of cheese, but at Christmastime in Piemonte, they enjoy a much more savory dip made of quintessential Italian ingredients, called bagna cauda. Usually on this day, retailers lower their Panettone prices in order to get rid of them quickly. It’s just so nice and fresh as it puffs up in the oil – you can’t imagine how good it is! "It’s basically pizza dough made very roughly in a pot by hand; nothing more than flour, a touch of yeast, water, and salt. "A lot of the traditional foods we cook at home are rough and ready, so they don’t necessarily work very well in a restaurant setting," explains Davide. Explore more cultural and culinary articles from some of Italy’s best chefs and writers! It’s not uncommon that in any family 4 to 8 pieces are bought or received as a gift in the festive season. But the real mad one is how you also have a massive ski-out for Christmas Eve, usually in the dolomites. Vegetables. 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. Discover the varied food traditions observed in Italy during the Christmas period, and how each region approaches the festive season Christmas is a major holiday in Italy… which means Italians celebrate lots of great, unique Christmas traditions! Head chef Davide Degiovanni hails from Piemonte, a northern, mountainous region known for hearty, meaty, warming dishes which fend off the cold, winter months, while his sous chef, Stefano Decostanzo, was born and raised in Puglia – a southern coastal area known for its brilliant seafood and olive oil. What Do People Do? Question after question that only enjoying a nice Italian Christmas meal you’ll discover the answers to. 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. It is mostly seen in southern Italy and Sicily, where fish is the most abundant, and each area celebrates in their own way. Generally on the 24th of December (Christmas Eve) we have a great dinner with all the family (I mean parents, Grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins). 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. So to get you into the festive spirit (but hopefully not the dentist's chair), here is a selection of 10 brilliant Italian sweets! It’s like the age-old debate of what winter desert is better, Panettone or Pandoro?

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