Marketing for our Christmas Feasts
The Christmas Feast in Italy is, of course, taken very seriously. Most meals here are taken seriously, but there are specific foods that you must prepare for Christmas in every part of Italy, and the expectation around the table is just that. We kept with Neapolitan tradition this Christmas Eve with seafood, limiting ourselves to only three fish, as opposed to the seven that we enjoyed last year with my in-laws. We started with both fritters of cauliflower and baccala, followed with a spaghetti and clams, after which my husband granted me with honorary Nepolitan citizenship, a great honor indeed. We finished the meal off with a gorgeous 2 kilo sea bass prepared alla ligure with potatoes, olives, pine nuts and tomatoes. With a mere three we felt like blowfish by the end of the meal.
The Christmas day feast in Naples is a little less festive with fresh pasta served in a meat broth, either tagliatelle or tortellini. Followed by the meat that made the broth as the secondo, essentially boiled meat and broth. I love fresh pasta, and I love tortellini in brodo, but boiled meat and broth just aren’t festive for me, so we went for a slightly more celebratory Christmas feast.
My husband started preparations for his famous brasato al barolo on Christmas Eve, letting the veal roast marinate in the wine and vegetables overnight. He woke up at 6 on Christmas morning, before our daughter was even stirring, to start cooking it for a 1:30 lunch. When I woke up with a very excited 3 almost 4 year old he was cleaning escarole and the smells of braised meat were dancing in the kitchen. We stewed the escarole with olives, anchovies, raisins, pine nuts and capers, traditionally the escarole is stuffed and wrapped in twine to keep all of the goodies inside. We had buttery mashed to soak up all of the gravy and a delicious Pino Nero that we bought on our trip to the Alps.
One of the best parts of living in Italy is food shopping. I love to market, going to the butcher for my meat, the fish market for my seafood, the covered market for my vegetables and the bakery for my bread. It takes a little more time, sure, but I enjoy the interaction with everyone and after two years living in Grottaglie, they know me, ask about my daughter and I have a unique relationship with every one of them.
I figured that since most of the dishes that we made this year I have posted at some point in the past, I decided that it would be more fun to post a series of pictures from our outings to purchase our Christmas feast, no frozen turkeys in this house!
Three Years Ago: Stuffed Acorn Squash
Four Years Ago: Maple Pear Upside-Down Cake