Christmas Food

There are a lot of traditional Christmas food served on Christmas day and the day after (since it’s still a holiday for us) but it depends on where you live.

Everywhere, anyway, the most traditional food is the Panettone and for us who don’t like candied fruits, the Pandoro.

Where I’m from, Lombardy, staffed capon is the main dish even if we, as family, don’t have it.

Moreover, there are families who celebrate and have a big Christmas Eve dinner (usually fish based), and families who celebrate on Christmas day, but anyway both have hors d’oeuvre, first course, second, cheese, fruit and dessert.

This is my traditional Christmas lunch (yep, we celebrate on Christmas day).

For hors d’oeuvre we have a plethora of mixed cold cuts, form salami, to ham, raw ham, pancetta, pork cup and on. This is the most traditional starter, then we have fish starters like mussels and clams, scallops and octopus salad. On the table there is a plethora of different pickles such as olives, mushrooms, small onions, anchovies, tomatoes, pepperoni, a type of Olivier salad and more. Another starter is a mix of croutons of bread with different toppings such as stoked salmon, caviar, goose paté, anchovies, tunas, etc.

The first course is a pasta based dish (duh!), for us is Lasagne Bolognese (which aren’t bologna based, there’s no bologna in lasagne!), sometimes ravioli or crespelle or both (for us it’s crespelle, crepes with ham, cheese and mushrooms drowned in bechamel).

Usually no one eat second course because too full already but we always have “spinaccino” which is beef meat staffed with spinach omelette. Sometimes we have roasted rabbit or roasted veal or beef.

Then there are the cheeses, the Italian ones, zola, mascarpone and walnuts (a caloric bomb that after all you have already eaten is the icing on the cake), mozzarella, provolone cheese, some particular cheese that are made only at Christmas, lemon ricotta (this is divine!) with the most common the Grana Padano (or Parmiggiano Reggiano which I think it’s translated with Parmesan but they are different kind which don’t have a real translation in English).

Fruit is everyday fruit, sometimes exotic fruit is added, usually the ones received as a gift in Christmas gift boxes, and a mix of dried fruit such as nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds. Fruit covered with chocolate is sometime added and dates.

As for dessert? No we don’t eat tiramisù at Christmas! Panettone is the main traditional dessert with Pandoro and mascarpone for the ones who don’t like Panettone.

Panettone is type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan. It has a cupola shape, which extends from a cylindrical base and is usually about 12–15 cm high. It contains candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as raisins, which are added dry and not soaked. Many other variations are available such as plain or with chocolate. It is served in wedge shapes, vertically cut. In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone, eggs and typically a sweet liqueur such as amaretto, rhum or cognàc.

Pandoro is another traditional Italian sweet yeast bread, typically a Veronese product, pandoro is traditionally shaped like a frustum with an six-pointed star section. It is often served dusted with vanilla-scented icing sugar made to resemble the snowy peaks of the Italian Alps during Christmas.

This, too, is eaten with mascarpone cream, sometimes it’s cut horizontally, like in the image, and filled with mascarpone cream on each layer and then covered with melted chocolate.

Sometimes whipped cream is added on top to decorate.

How can I forget Torrone? I prefer the soft one.

Lunch ends with small treats like special chocolates and coffee can’t be missed. In the afternoon Tombola is played (like bingo, I believe) until dinner time, when a very small dinner is served (or dinner is skipped like in my family because we eat too much).

The next day, Saint Stephan’s day it’s a repeat of Christmas day, eating leftovers (and there are a lot of them).


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