Christmas is so close we can taste it! (and not just because we can’t stop feasting on our festive menu..). It’s the most beautiful time of the year and there’s nothing like filling this festive period with delicious food and wonderful family to share it all with!
Traditional British Christmas food is wonderful – who can resist roast potatoes covered in rosemary and turkey stuffed with the finest sage and onion? There’s no denying that the smell of Brussels sprouts and bread sauce ignites something in all of us BUT should you decide to take a break from the many Christmassy roasts being presented to you over the festive period, we’ve compiled a selection of traditional Italian Christmas dishes that are equally as delicious and meals that you can get the whole family involved with:
A fantastic addition to any party is the Italian style holiday party tray! There are many ways in which you could concoct your party tray to cater for all different tastes; but usually there tend to be a few key elements that are always included:
- A large selection of handpicked cheeses
- Nuts and spreads
- Crispy gourmet toasts
Feast of the Seven Fishes
The Italian Christmas Eve meals consist of traditionally lighter dishes with no meat but a lot of seafood. On the table you’ll usually be able to find sword fish, tuna, salmon, octopus salad, smelts, calamari and salted cod, also known as ‘baccala’.
Feast of the Seven Fishes doesn’t always just have to have seafood though – other meatless dishes are common too such as gnocchi, stuffed pasta and spaghetti. However, regardless of what main course you choose to have, it should always be followed by biscotti, pandoro, torrone and panettone.
Christmas Day Lunch
The most important of the Natale meals is the Christmas day lunch that will last for hours! This will be a typically meat-based meal consisting of:
Antipasto spread with dry cured meats, salami, fine Italian cheese, olives and artichokes
Southern and Central Italy – Baked pasta
Northern Italy – Lasagne Bolognese, manicotti and ravioli
Roasted veal, baked chicken, sausages and braised beef
Santo Stefano’s Lunch
On December 26th (our Boxing Day!) lunch is key for carrying on the Natale festivities. The 26th is traditionally a day where extended family and friends are invited along to the feast and whilst the meal isn’t quite as indulgent as the Christmas lunch, it’s just as delicious! Leftovers are often enjoyed and whilst there aren’t many culinary traditions on this day, the meals tend to be much more creative with unusual pasta dishes and exotic soups such as:
Timballo Di Pasta Al Forno In Crosta (Crusty Baked Pasta) which is macaroni in pork sauce baked in a breadcrumb-lined pan
Vincisgrassi (Marche Lasagne). This is a baked pasta dish made with ground beef, sausage, chopped chicken, cured prosciutto ham and mushrooms
Minestra Di Cardi (Cardoon Soup) which is a soup made of broth and cardoons, flavoured with nutmeg and giblets
So there you have some traditional Italian Christmas meals and what goes into them to make them so delicious and unique. Let us know if you choose to give any of them a go!