“There is no Christmas like an Italian Christmas!“– Paul Ebeling
I Italy they have a saying: “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con i vuoi” meaning Christmas with the family, Easter with who you like. That is about the only thing common to the whole of Italy.
When it comes to eating everyone eats differently.
Eating is what an Italian Christmas is all about; in England it’s about giving presents. For Italians, Christmas is a festival of eating. And talking. Talking and eating, eating and talking. But it is a rule that people never talk business. Italian may fight all the time except at Christmas.
The most important of the Natale meals, Christmas Day lunch can last for hrs. Unlike Christmas Eve’s meal, Christmas Day is typically meat-based.
Natale lunch begins with a classic antipasto spread featuring dry cured meats, salumi, fine Italian cheeses, briny olives, artichokes and more.
The 1st course is pasta that varies by region.
In Southern and Central Italy, baked pasta is a must. In Northern Italy, Lasagne Bolognese and filled pasta like manicotti and ravioli are traditional Christmas fare.
Next comes the main event, the meat. Roasted veal, baked chicken, sausages or braised beef are common Natale entrées worth celebrating.
On 26 December, lunch carries on the Natale festivities.
For this meal, more distant relatives and friends are invited. The meal is not as indulgent as Christmas lunch, but just as well composed.
If there are no new guests to the party, it is customary to enjoy leftovers, like the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. Try a batch of Fried Baccalà with your leftover salted cod.
While there are no particular culinary traditions, Santo Stefano’s lunch tends to be less elaborate and much more creative. Now is the time to try some unusual pasta dishes or exotic soups.
Also, on this day, restaurants are very popular, offering a refreshing change from days cooking at home in the kitchen
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