Christmas Eve dinner

Christmas Eve dinner

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Christmas Eve dinner

Dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas lunch? These two traditions are the two most popular events in the world. There are those who prefer to celebrate Christmas Eve in a particular way, preparing the typical dishes of their region, complex and very rich dishes, sweets and so on and those who, instead, opt for a rich Christmas lunch and a lean eve fish based. Eve dinner dishes differ from region to region and from country to country; on this occasion many are prepared, sometimes even days earlier to have them all on the table on the fateful day. On Christmas Eve the housewives get up early in the morning to prepare the last things, the last sweets, the last dishes that will make this so important day special; they work hard to make sure everything is perfect and that Christmas Eve is a beautiful family celebration. As we have said, everyone has their own traditional dishes, but there is a dish that many Italian regions have in common. On the evening before, the marinated capitone cannot be missing.

Christmas Eve in the Italian regions

In the previous paragraph we said that each region has its own typical and traditional dishes that it prefers to bring to the table during the Christmas Eve dinner, below we will illustrate some of them.

The tradition of the Christmas Eve dinner in Lombardy varies according to the city. For example, in Milan, Christmas lunch is given greater importance and people prefer to spend a lean eve based on tortellini in broth, pumpkin tortelli, barley soup; while in other cities, on the other hand, the eve takes on greater importance, so here they prepare meat tortelli, capon, canapes of all tastes, capitone, nougat, panettone and pandoro, dried fruit and so on. In Calabria, a typical dish that starts the Christmas Eve dinner are fried artichokes with zeppole, and then continue with cod and typical sweets of the region. A region whose eve is very rich are certainly the Marches, it is in fact composed of pasta like macaroni as a first course, cod and capitone to name are some dishes. In Emilia-Romagna people prefer to stay light during dinner on Christmas Eve, in fact they prepare lean tortellini, the filling must be absolutely meatless, and a second course based on fish. In Puglia, as in Basilicata, tradition has it that the Christmas Eve dinner should consist of thirteen dishes, the first based on pasta, the others based on fish; of course you can't miss the marinated capitone. Obviously, in a region like Campania, the menu will be exclusively based on fish, spaghetti with seafood or clams, marinated capitone etc., the typical sweet struffoli. In Sicily, one of the most cooked dishes on the eve is pasta with anchovies, especially desserts such as Sicilian cannoli, rich in ricotta and candied fruit, nougat and pignolata, the latter also typical of the Calabria region. . An unmissable dessert on Venetian tables on Christmas Eve and beyond, is the famous sbrisolona, ​​a sweet made with almonds and corn flour that must be accompanied by a glass of good Venetian grappa.

Panettone and pandoro

In the previous paragraph we wanted to talk above all about some typical sweets of the various Italian regions, but we must not forget about panettone and pandoro, sweets par excellence now present on almost all Italian tables during the Christmas holidays. Panettone, a dessert rich in raisins and candied fruit and pandoro rich in butter and with the classic shape of an eight-pointed star.

Christmas Eve in Europe

As in Italy, even in Europe the Christmas period is very heartfelt and celebrated, the cities are dressed up, are decorated with lights, colors and decorations; obviously also in these countries this period is characterized by the preparation of typical dishes and sweets. Below we will tell you about some of their Christmas Eve traditions.

In these all European countries, the evening of the eve is magical, on this occasion we exchange gifts and give life to a dinner with all the trimmings. In Germany and Austria one of the typical sweets are almond biscuits or christstollen, a dessert made from eggs, flour, candied fruit and raisins, very similar to our panettone but a little more consistent, usually before being consumed. sprinkle with butter and powdered sugar. In these villages, other typical Christmas sweets can be anise-based biscuits, marzipan or bread made with dried pears, the kletzenbrot. In Austria, especially in the Vienna area, the typical savory dishes on Christmas Eve are carp or stuffed goose, in Germany, on the other hand, roast pork or duck is preferred. In the Provence area, the typical dishes of this day are snails and garlic soup. In countries like England, Spain and Holland, the most savory dish cooked on Christmas Eve is certainly the stuffed and baked turkey.

Christmas Eve dinner in a Procidan house

“Amma cucenà” is an even more categorical imperative during the Christmas holidays. The two words almost become an interlayer in everyone's conversations, especially those who usually work in the kitchen at home.

It is not uncommon, then, to come across questions such as "and spuniet u cod"(Did you put the cod to soak)?

Codfish ready for flour and frying - Photo by @Cucenellista

"E fatt a pizz r scarol"? (have you prepared the escarole pizza?) "E ccattet u capton? Viv or muort " (Did you buy the capitone? Dead or alive?) "Is it rrestut u capton? There is mis a leaf r'alevn " ("Did you roast the cap, did you put the bay leaf in it?"), "And fett i struffol?" ("Did you make struffoli?"). You will have understood, the cod, the capitone, the escarole pizza, the struffoli and company are practically inevitable elements on the Christmas Eve tables in Procida.

Flouring codfish - Photo by @Cucenellista

I asked my father what the Christmas Eve dinner was like at his house a Furrow many years ago. It always started with a taste of "Past egghie and uogghie" (pasta, usually spaghetti, garlic and oil). Then there was often a second pasta, with cecaredde (mantis shrimp) or with other sea elements.

Past cu r cecaredd - Photo by @Cucenellista

My father remembers fishermen who went door-to-door to sell bags of cecaredde in Solchiaro, especially during the Christmas period.

As a main course, then, there was the fried fish or fish soup, the roasted capitone, the fried cod and finished with the escarole pizza.

Pizz r scarol - Photo by @Cucenellista

My father and his uncles "Ievn a mmare" (they went fishing on the lamparas) and provided them with the capitone: the owners of the boats on which they worked, went to Pozzuoli where they sold their catch at the market during the year and used to receive prawns and capitons from the Puteolan second-hand dealers as a gift before Christmas.

When these fish gifts arrived on the quay, the owners made the rations for all the crew members, which included my father and uncles.

The capitoni, then, once brought triumphantly within the home, were placed in basins with water. The women of the house armed themselves with patience and strategy to catch them, then they proceeded to kill and roast them, flavoring them with a bay leaf after cooking. If they left live capitons, they threw themselves into the rainwater tank: these particular Christmas fish ate insects in order to keep the water clean.

The capitone, on Christmas Eve is inevitable on most of the tables of the whole Campania. I remember the scene from the film "The mystery of Bellavista" set in Naples, where there was a complaint about the sale of possible remote-controlled capitals.

But let's go back to Solchiaro, many years ago. The Christmas Eve dinner ended with dried fruit and fresh fruit at will, roccocò *, mustacciuoli ** and a pyramid of struffoli *** that dominated the table for all parties.

Fried cod - Photo by @Cucenellista

My mother, also from Solchiaro, remembers above all about dried fruit "R nucedd" (hazelnuts) given away on Christmas Eve. Each child received 10 or 15. He then organized himself "A foss" (the pit), a game to win even more. A hole was dug in the ground and a distance was established from which r nucedd were pulled. We counted and decided who was the first to shoot. The hazelnuts were hit with the fingers - the index finger pushed the thumb. This throwing technique was called "Disic" (the children said "amma ddisicà").

Risic technique - Photo by @Cucenellista

Throughout the Christmas period, in my mother's memories of the late 1950s, the children of the area played this game with hazelnuts, sometimes even arguing.

On the eve of this year, at my parents' house in Procida the great absentee on the table is the capitone, which my mother does not like. We did not miss, however, neither pasta with cecaredde, nor fried cod, nor endive pizza.

In the foreground, the roccocò. The struffoli are in the background and you can see a mustacciuolo in the center of the photo - Photo by @Cucenellista

We too, like our ancestors, ended dinner eating dried fruit, struffoli, roccocò and mustacciuoli, but without playing the foss.

* Roccocò: Roccocò are dry sweets of Neapolitan pastry, made with flour, almonds or hazelnuts, sugar, candied fruit and a mixture of spices. Roccocò is baked in the oven and has a rounded shape similar to that of a flattened donut. The name Roccoco comes from the French term rocaille (stone used together with shells to build garden decorations).

** Mustacciuoli: Mustacciuoli (or mostaccioli) are typical sweets of the Neapolitan tradition. The mustacciuolili have a rhomboid shape and are covered with a chocolate glaze, while inside they are characterized by a soft paste with a taste of honey and candied fruit.

*** Struffoli: Struffoli are typical sweets of the Christmas period of southern gastronomy, mainly Neapolitan. The dessert is made up of small balls of dough (made with eggs, flour, lard, sugar, a pinch of salt and liqueur) fried in oil, wrapped in hot honey when cooled and arranged in a pyramid on a serving dish. The pyramid is then decorated with pieces of cedar and other candied fruit, and with colored sprinkles.

Desserts: panettone, chocolate and surroundings

The classic Roscioli panettone Roscioli
Alexander is Pierluigi Roscioli they need no introduction. In the heart of Rome, near Campo de 'Fiori, they attract customers from all over the world with the specialties of their bakery, bar and delicatessen-gastronomy-gourmet restaurant. The right place to attend, as well as all year round, especially during the Christmas period because panettone is pandori they are handcrafted to be purchased and received at home throughout Italy. Daily production and different types and weights (half a kilo, a kilo or two or five kilos). Prepared with natural yeast, the panettone is available in the classic version, chocolate and pears or, for the sweet tooth, triple chocolate. We also pack Christmas baskets with Langhe biscuits, nougat is wines. In the delicatessen, on the other hand, you can buy (and receive at home), French foie gras, excellent wines, artisan cured meats and cheeses, as well as preserves and niche pastas.

The classic Bompiani panettone Bompiani pastry shop
What Christmas is without panettone? If then to sign it is the pastry shop of Walter Musco you can be sure that the end of the dinner will be very sweet. Its leavened products are among the best in Italy and this year the panettone can be ordered online on the pastry shop's e-commerce site. In addition to the classic version, the production will allow you to savor the panettone with poppy and black cherry or with strawberries and white chocolate. And then the coveted special panettone, with caviar and white chocolate. But from the site you can also order gitf boxes with wine shop products, nougat and Christmas baskets.

The panettone of the Ciambella bar à vin with kitchen La Ciambella bar à vin with kitchen
The owners took advantage of the evening closure due to anti-Covid restrictions and focused on the art of leavening to pamper their customers with artisanal panettone for connoisseurs. For the first time the chef Francesca Ciucci, inspired by Mirka Guberti, he decided to try his hand at the preparation of Christmas sweets and, with the help of Francesco Rocco, has baked three types of panettone (which can be ordered by phone and to be received with home delivery throughout Rome). In addition to the classic, there is the variant of the panettone with gianduia and raspberries (both at a cost of 30 euros) and one with pistachios (35 euros). It goes without saying that the quality reaches very high levels.

Said's Christmas box since 1923 Said dal 1923 - Old chocolate factory
The name says it, this shop opened in the San Loreno district at the beginning of the last century is the kingdom of Willy Wonka, a group of gourmands who Fabrizio De Mauro decided to dedicate to chocolate lovers. From the site you can order (home delivery in every area of ​​the capital) the specials Christmas box. One hundred euros for the one with the homemade chocolate panettone, sparkling wine and nougat, or the one for Christmas breakfast (cups, quality preparation for hot chocolate, biscuits and other delicacies 52 euros) the small box for the Christmas snack (pack of coffee beans, bottle of hot chocolate, chocolate wafers, biscuits and more for 32 euros).

The classic panettone by Casa Manfredi Manfredi house
Password: panettone and pandoro. It cannot be otherwise in this pastry shop in the Aventino district devoted to the sacred rite of the sugar art. To knead, dose (and taste, why not) there are Giorgia Proia is Daniele Antonelli who, thanks to their online shop, have decided not to miss the sweets symbol of the Christmas holidays on the tables of the Romans. Quality ingredients and a dough so soft and light as to seem like a cloud are the characteristics of the pandoro (and panettone, woe to forget them) produced here. The specialties? The classic panettone (38 euros) with French butter, the original cube chocolate panettone (38 euros) with double dark and milk chocolate, cocoa glaze with cocoa crane and cocoa dough and, indeed, the Pandoro (35 euros) with bourbon vanilla. Very elegant packaging and deliveries in the city and in the rest of Italy.

The triple chocolate panettone from Forno Monteforte Monteforte oven
Close your eyes, imagine a gourmet shopping and then order it at home at this tasteful address in via del Pellegrino (Campo de'Fiori area). They deliver throughout the city (within the ring road) and you can order the delights signed by master baker Franco Palermo, which he prepares by hand panettone. Available in two weights (500 and 750 grams) ranging from the classic (19 or 25 euros), to the al Bronte pistachio (22 or 30 euros). And then panettone al chocolate (19 or 25 euros), pangiallo, pappery bread, homemade nougat with chocolate and hazelnuts and, for breakfast or Christmas snack, orange plum cake, candied ginger and cinnamon (but there is also the savory version with pumpkin, speck and smoked provola). You can also buy preserves, wines and champagnes.

The Christmas creations of Cafè Merenda Cafè Merenda
He could Chiara Caruso leave your customers alone during the holidays? The answer, of course, is no and so the beloved pastry chef from the Marconi district for Christmas will bring special packages full of Christmas flavors to the homes of those who request it. Which, translated, means artisan panettone prepared with the best ingredients, a lot of passion and very long leavening, but also artisanal preparations for making hot chocolate or zabaglione, traditional and always appreciated gingerbread houses, spiced tea packs and Christmas spice cookies.

The nougat with almonds, spices and raisins by Grezzo Raw Chocolate Raw Raw Chocolate
For those who keep an eye on the line and diabetes, but also more simply for those who love artisan taste and sweets, this raw chocolate shop proposes a delicious end of meal with which to celebrate the holidays. From the site you can order specialties such as Ankle boot in a raw and vegan version with a base of dried fruit and dates, two layers of pistachio and orange cream and a coating of the finest raw chocolate. Or you can choose, among the many products, almond nougat, chocolate, spices and raisins. All Christmas nougats are produced only with cane sugar and a few ingredients and range from the classic to the whole hazelnuts to the one with a creamy pistachio heart.

Panettone with yeast pizza bread Yeast Pizza Bread
The master of water and flour, the young man Francesco Arnesano, has decided to turn to sugary preparations for Christmas. Between breads, slices of gourmet pizza and baked goods for the holiday period, you can buy artisan panettone to receive at home (throughout the capital) on the pizzeria's website. The minimum cost is 15 euros, but it takes little to reach it because it is impossible to resist specialties such as "Let's do it strange", panettone with clementine, licorice and salted caramel (38 euros) or the "Bitter sweet" with black cherry, chocolate and lemon balm (38 euros). Also available classic version at 17 euros per half kilo) or the greedy one ai three chocolates (17 euros for half a kilo).

Panettone and pandoro from Panificio Marè Prati Marè Prati bakery
If Santa Claus was greedy, he would certainly not miss this address. Daniele Marè in his bakery in Prati (open for 20 years now) he bakes panettone and pandoro for the holidays to be ordered online and delivered at home. In addition to the classic, there will be the panettone with chocolate pears, the one only chocolate and the pandoro (each one will have a kilo of weight and will cost 30 euros). But they can also be ordered 4 types of cookies (with milk or with chocolate chips, 100% wholemeal rye and wine donuts, 10 euros per pack of 350 grams). Finally, to accompany the main courses of the dinner you can order the rye and seed box bread, the country bread or the spontaneous leavening bread.

Alessandro Pipero with the Pipero Panettone in limited edition Pipero
The most original gift for the holiday season is undoubtedly the one signed by Alessandro Pipero, owner of the starred restaurant of the same name in the center of Rome. By ordering from the site, you can choose to have the kit to prepare carbonara pasta (now famous specialty of the restaurant), a box with quality ingredients and original recipe to prepare the first of the Roman tradition (25 euros for two people or 80 euros in the version with a bottle of Champagne Brut Premiere Louis Roederer). Those who prefer to go classic can opt for the purchase, also online from the shop section, of a artisan panettone in limited edition signed Pipero (35 euros for a kilo) to be purchased alone or in the boxes with Champagne or amaro pairing.

The Wonka triple chocolate panettone by Officina confectionery Woods Woods Sweet Confectionery Workshop
The world of cinema, poetry, literature and music have inspired the panettone created by Mãitre Pãtissier Alessandro Fabbri, which in the laboratories of the former Cerbiatto plants in Tor Cervara created four truly delicious panettone for the 2020 holidays. All can be ordered and received at home through deliveries made in all districts of Rome through the Ecco delivery service (until 1 December deliveries are free). But what are the proposals for panettone? First there is the Pablo (inspired by Neruda), a classic almond panettone. Then, in a crescendo, we move on to Isabelle (Allende), with apricots and ginger, up to the Triple chocolate wonka (from the movie The Chocolate Factory), Finally, the Mozart, with marrons glaces and crispy white chocolate, and Eva with annurca pdo apple, walnuts and cinnamon chocolate.

Panettone and pandoro from Panificio Marè Prati Daniele Marè bakery
If Santa Claus was greedy, he would certainly not miss this address. Daniele Marè in his bakery in Prati (open for 20 years now) he bakes panettone and pandoro for the holidays to be ordered online and delivered at home. In addition to the classic, there will be the panettone with pears and chocolate, the one only chocolate and the pandoro (each one will have a kilo of weight and will cost 30 euros). But you can also order 4 types of biscuits (milk or with chocolate chips, 100% wholemeal rye and wine donuts, 10 euros per pack of 350 grams). Finally, to accompany the main courses of the dinner you can order the box bread with rye and seeds, country bread or spontaneous leavening bread.

The panettone of Cresci Grow up
Right percentage of hydration and high quality of raw materials are the strengths of the panettone made from this bakery-bistro in the Prati district. Made with sourdough, flour from Molino di Paolo Mariani, butter from Normandy and Peppovo eggs, the panettone is available in the classical, to the chocolate or with figs and chocolate. Cost 30 euros for a kilo, upon request we can produce panettone of 750 grams. You order by phone and home delivery all over Rome.

The panettone of Dao Chinese Restaurant by Pasticceria Belle Helène Dao Chinese Restaurant (and Belle Hélène)
China meets the tradition of Italian holidays. For Christmas, the Chinese restaurant in viale Jonio asked for the collaboration of the Belle Hélène pastry shop in Tarquinia to create handcrafted Dao panettone to be delivered to home. THE panettone, stuffed with candied chestnuts and Chinese mandarins glazed with ginger scent, will be available from 11 December and can be purchased in the restaurant at a cost of 30 euros. For home delivery (within 5 kilometers from the restaurant) an additional 5 euros.

Christmas Eve dinner - garden

Connue sous le nom de La Vigilia, cette tradition italienne célèbre la veillée de Noël autour d’un grand festin de fruits de mer. Impressionnez vos invités grâce à notre guide-conseil et récréez, pas à pas, ce menu des Fêtes.

En Italie, les Fêtes de Noël sont l’une des célébrations seem to me so many d’autres qui rassemblent toute la famille. Dans tout le pays, the est d’usage de célébrer la saison autour d’un somptueux repas composé de fruits de mer et de légumes.

Mark Cirillo, écrivain et rédacteur du CucinaTO, vous montre comment célébrer Noël en famille avec le traditionnel festin italien sans viande.

Les traditions se sont enracinées en Italie depuis des générations. Et chacune des vingt régions d’Italie célèbre la saison des Fêtes à sa façon. Mais quel que soit la région, la tradition la plus authentique est de se réunir en famille et de s’abstenir de manger de la viande à la dinner on eve. (Le repas du Réveillon).

Ne vous laissez pas berner par l'idée de l'abstinence: pour les Italiens, cette fête est un repas élaboré composé de nombreux plats de poissons, de fruits de mer et de légumes. Et l'expérience n'en est que plus délicieuse lorsque ce repas est préparé avec de veritables ingrédients italiens.

Chaque région a également ses petits plats préférés: in Naples, on est friands des Of Salt cod fritters (beignets de morue) À Rome, le grand classique est the pasta and broccoli in sprightly broth (pâtes, brocolis et soupe de poisson arzilla) et en Calabria, on ne peut se passer de spaghetti with breadcrumbs and anchovies (spaghettis aux anchois et chapelure).

Aujourd’hui, l’influence de la dinner on eve dépasse de loin les frontières italiennes, en partie grâce aux grandes communautés expatriées vivant à l'étranger. Le festin aux sept poissons est très célébré. À la veille de Noël, les Italiens fêtent la eve en se rassemblant autour d’un repas composé de sept plats de poissons et crustacés.

Et pourquoi pas? Que votre souper soit entièrement à base de produits de la mer ou seulement relevé de quelques accents italiens, il existe un nombre infini de recettes plus délicieuses les unes que les autres, parfaites pour les Fêtes. Voici quelques suggestions de plats typiques du traditionnel repas italien pour vous aider à démarrer: appetizers, first courses, main courses, side dishes and salads et desserts.

Tuscan flatbread with oil - Plat de Toscane, aussi connu sous le nom de ciaccia, crushes, focaccia or ciaccino, servi avec de l'huile d'olive italienne extra vierge et du romarin.

Vegetables in oil - Légumes (comme les piments doux, les artichauts, les olives, etc.) conservés dans l'huile.

Baked smoked scamorza Un simple pain cuit au four avec du fromage Scamorza, ferme et fumé, provenant des Pouilles (et de certaines parties de la Campanie et du Molise).

Scallops au gratin The Parmigiano Reggiano AOP gratiné complète la saveur délicate de ce plat de pétoncles cuit au four.

Mussels marinara Un délice italien classique où les moules marinières peuvent être servies sur des bruschetta à l'ail ou avec des spaghettis.

Of Salt cod fritters Les bouchées de morue sont l 'starter préféré de tous les rassemblements familiaux, et un incontournable de la Vigilia.

First dishes

Spaghetti with tuna Vous ne pouvez pas vous tromper avec les fameux spaghettis surmontés de thon italien en conserve, de câpres et de tomates.

Spaghetti with clams - Si les spaghettis sont souvent accompanied by sauce à la viande, ils se marient à merveille à la douceur saumâtre des palourdes.

Risotto with cuttlefish ink - A risotto fait à base d'encre noire de calmar, a régal pour les yeux comme pour l'estomac qui nous vient de la Vénétie.

Pumpkin tortellini with butter and sage - En Lombardie, les tortellinis au potiron bercées dans le beurre et la sauge sont un inévitable du souper de Noël en famille.

Second courses

Sea bass baked in foil Le loup de mer takes a texture délicieusement beurrée, une fois cuit à l'huile d'olive extra vierge italienne.

Sicilian Swordfish Ce simple plat d’espadon se fait plus sophistiqué accompanied by ingrédients méditerranéens italiens comme la tomate, les olives et les câpres.

Grilled squid Le calmar grillé est une specialité de la region des Abruzzes et une alternative plus légère aux grandes assiettes de pâtes qui remplissent si bien les ventres.

Side dishes & salads

Mixed salad Cette salade traditionnelle mixte se savoure avec une vinaigrette faite d’un mélange d’huile d'olive extra vierge italienne et d 'Balsamic vinegar of Modena PGI ou Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena AOP of première qualité.

Fennel and orange salad - Dans cette salade de saison, le goût clair et citronné d’orange balance très bien le goût sucré du fenouil aux saveurs de réglisse.

Baked potatoes La clé de la preparation de ce classique italien qui réchauffe le cœur est de s’assurer que les pommes de terre en cubes sont cuites jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient dorées et croustillantes.

Cauliflower with Parmigiano Reggiano AOP Cuisiné avec une croûte croustillante de Parmigiano Reggiano AOP râpé exclusivement italien, ce plat ravira les palais les plus fins de la famille.

Amaretti, cantuccini, ricciarelli from Siena -

Aucune table italienne des Fêtes n’est complète sans un classique plateau de biscuits mélangés.

Panettone, Pandoro, Panforte que ce soit le Panettone de Milan, le Pandoro de Vérone ou le Panforte de Sienne, chaque région possède son gâteau traditionnel des Fêtes. Et au Canada, nous avons la chance de pouvoir déguster toutes ces authentiques gourmandises Italian venues de toutes les régions.

Nougat Cette confiserie faite de nougat se décline dans une palette de saveurs et de textures.

Almond brittle The croquant and addictive texture of ce dessert du sud de l’Italie provient des meilleures amandes maison.

Dried figs Les figues sucrées et séchées de la région méditerranéenne sont un classique qui agrémente très bien la plupart des tables de desserts en Italie.
Avez-vous purposes to concocter your menu du Réveillon? Des conseils que vous aimeriez partager ou des questions que vous aimeriez poser? Joignez-nous sur Instagram, Facebook or Twitter et n’oubliez pas d’utiliser #MadeInItaly pour partager your ideas and images on the authentiques Italian products.

The tradition of Christmas in Naples: the Christmas Eve dinner

TO Naples during the Christmas period there are two important moments at the table: dinner on Christmas Eve, on the evening of December 24, a dinner generally "di magro ”based on fish and then the meat-based Christmas lunch. Below we will see the Neapolitan tradition for dinner on December 24, which must be strictly based on fish.

In fact, the famous Neapolitan cook and scholar already at the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries Ippolito Cavalcanti, Duke of Buonvicino, wrote in his famous "Treatise on theoretical-practical cuisine", published for the first time in Naples in 1837 these indications:

For Christmas Eve there are vruoccoli (broccoli) zuffritti (sautéed) with salted anchovies, vermicielli with breadcrumbs and clams or pure zuffritti with salted anchovies, fried eels, vollute (boiled) ragoste with sauza (sauce) of sugar (juice) of lemon, and uoglio (oil), cassuola of calamarielli and seccettelle (cuttlefish), fish pie, roast of capitone and struffoli ”.

So let's follow what is an ancient tradition in Naples and let's talk about a menu "Typical" of the Neapolitan tradition for Christmas Eve dinner, on the evening of December 24th, a lean dinner, all substantially based on fish.

For the Christmas Eve table they must not be missing white and dry wines from Campania served cold such as excellent bottles of Falanghina, Fiano, Greco di Tufo or Solopaca or Coda di Volpe or some Ischia wines.

An appetizer with salad octopus and escarole pizzas

The appetizer serves to keep the guests while the house cook prepares the pasta and the last things. The appetizer is prepared first and is made with octopus salad, but many also put marinated anchovies and salmon, ma senza esagerare perché c’è tanto da mangiare. Non manca la pizza di scarole, che in genere si mangia a pranzo del 24 per mantenersi leggeri per cenone, ed è sempre fatta in casa. Alcuni la fanno grande e rettangolare da tagliare a pezzetti, altri preparano tante piccole pizzette singole: la pizza è fatta sempre con un impasto della pizza fatta in casa, o a volte con la pasta della pizzeria. Il ripieno è con scarole, ulive nere di Gaeta e capperi e talvolta anche con pinoli.

Il primo con spaghetti con le vongole

Il primo è sempre a base di pesce ed è preparato con spaghetti o vermicelli con le vongole. Qualcuno preferisce farlo con gli scampi, con l’astice o con la saporita pescatrice ma la tradizione parla di vongole, al più arricchite con lupini che danno più sapore. La questione che a volte si decide all’ultimo momento è se fare gli spaghetti con i pomodorini, rigorosamente del “pinnolo” vesuviani, o in bianco ma, comunque, è questo il primo piatto della Vigilia di Natale.

Il secondo con Spigola all’acqua pazza o cefalo in bianco o frittura

Secondo piatto a base di pesce preparato al forno o, a volte con una frittura, ma sempre di pesce fresco Anche qui la tradizione richiede del pesce al forno da scegliere tra spigola all’acqua pazza o al forno, orata in cartoccio o molte volte una bella frittura fatta al momento di gamberi e calamari con anche dei merluzzetti piccoli. Il Cavalcanti consigliava anche una casseruola di “calamarielli e seccettelle (seppioline)” eventualmente fatta con la salsa, ma il pesce in bianco ha tutto un altro sapore.

Immancabili: il Baccalà fritto a zeppoline e il capitone

Nella cena della vigilia non devono mancare il Baccalà e il Capitone, principalmente il baccalà che si prepara fritto a zeppoline accompagnato da pezzi di capitone fritto o in umido. Il baccalà è il vero piatto della tradizione e dev’essere spugnato bene e non troppo salato.

I contorni tradizionali con Insalata di rinforzo e broccoletti all’agro

Il pesce è leggero e dev’essere accompagnato da una bella e ricca insalata di rinforzo che non deve mai mancare. E’ fatta molto tempo prima e preparata in genere con cavolo bollito, condito con molte acciughe salate, olive verdi e nere, giardiniera e pezzi di papaccelle, i peperoni rossi e verdi, meglio se piccanti. Il tutto condito con un buon aceto. Ne esistono versioni più “delicate” fatte con poco aceto e olio extra vergine con funghi, pezzi di salame ed altro ma la tradizionale è la prima. For i broccoli servono quelli di Natale, i baresi, che vanno “girati in padella con aglio, olio e peperoncino o lessati e conditi con olio e limone.

La Frutta fresca e Frutta secca in abbondanza

La frutta fresca non deve mancare e dev’essere locale con tante ottime e dure mele annurche del beneventano e poi mandarini dei campi flegrei, il melone bianco conosciuto anche come il melone di pane, e un grappolo d’uva che porta sempre bene. Non devono assolutamente mancare le Scioccéle cioè la frutta secca detta anche ‘o spasso con un assortimenti di noci, preferibilmente della penisola sorrentina, mandorle, nocciole campane e poi fichi del Cilento e datteri. La frutta secca è buona e fa bene ed è meglio prendere quella locale perché in Campania ci sono tante ottime specialità.

E finalmente i dolci natalizi

Dopo una cena “leggera” non devono mancare gli ottimi dolci natalizi, specialmente gli struffoli già indicati da Ippolito Cavalcanti, duca di Buonvicino, come pezzo forte del finale della cena della vigilia. Gli struffoli, per chi non li conoscesse, sono palline di pasta frolla ricoperte di miele e confettini colorati, e sono i dolci di Natale per eccellenza. Ma sulla tavola della vigilia devono anche esserci gli altri dolci napoletani tipici come i roccocò, i raffiuoli che sono simili alle cassatine e poi i susamielli, le paste reali e i mostacciuoli al cioccolato. Naturalmente c’è chi prepara anche la pastiera e la cassata che ci stanno sempre bene e mette in tavola anche il panettone e pandoro meglio se artigianali. I dolci devono essere accompagnati da liquori digestivi come il nocillo o qualche rosolio e da uno spumante bello e secco anche campano.


Natale: periodo di feste, di regali, di alberi e presepi, di pranzi tra parenti…
Ecco: qui arriva la nota dolente! Ed è quasi imbarazzante raccontarlo, ma ci proverò.
Mi permetto di tornare a qualche giorno fa: eravamo a casa di nonno, nel salottino dominato dal pomposo e arcigno ritratto di un mio arcavo seicentesco, un prolifico vescovo e abate che risponde al nome di Pompeo Prospero. Mia madre, dopo le opportune chiacchiere di preparazione, ha pronunciato il consueto e fatale invito per la cena della Vigilia di Natale, estendendolo “anche agli altri componenti della famiglia”.

Parole veramente mal scelte: sta di fatto che oggi, oltre alla consueta tribù di parenti, si è presentato anche… LUI!
Intendo Pompeo Prospero, in persona… o meglio in quel che rimane dell’anima della persona.

In realtà non so in che vesti si sia presentato: in quanto fantasma è liberissimo di stare invisibile, e non ha bisogno di bocca per parlare. Noi, quando poco fa eravamo a tavola, sentivamo la sua voce nella mente, ma con la stessa chiarezza che se fosse stato là seduto insieme a noi (e forse lo era…).

Niente da dire, per carità: è un uomo di altri tempi, cortese ed elegante, molto spiritoso (per quanto possa sembrare una definizione schernitoria per un fantasma). Inoltre da subito è stato chiaro che non avrebbe dato nessun piccio domestico né avrebbe gravato sull’apparecchiatura o sul desco.

“Grazie dell’invito: erano secoli che non passavo una serata natalizia in famiglia” diceva, mentre un imbarazzata inquietudine permeava tutti noi commensali e ci asciugava la lingua, invano umettata nello spumante. Né sorgevano spontaneamente sulle nostre labbra le, da lui attese, risate, mentre raccontava quel buffo aneddoto sulla zia Polimnia nel pranzo di Natale 1643 (alla zia, maniaca religiosa, il cui fervore era scaldato da numerosi bicchieri di vino, lui e il cugino Cesare avevano messo a credere che il suo pasticcio, il cui piatto si muoveva “spontaneamente” per il tavolo, era posseduto da demoni, tanto che l’innocente piatto era stato prontamente sottoposto ad esorcismo).
Ma il fantasma, evidentemente, era divertito, più che dai propri aneddoti, dall’attonimento nostro, tanto che chiacchierava sempre di maggior gusto.
Noialtri, d’altronde, – io e il mio cinismo compresi! – cercavamo tacitamente di convincerci che non c’era nessun altro: dopotutto non si vedeva nessuno, e ogni parola sentita era solamente mentale, e dunque poteva essere una fantasia. Dagli sguardi e dal silenzio, però, ognuno di noi capiva che la sensazione era comune e tutti quanti sapevamo che lui era lì, senza spiegarci come.

Un solo volto, un solo sguardo, era immune a tale sentimento: nonno, seduto a capotavola, sembrava quasi divertirsi, mentre sornione ci guardava in giro per il tavolo con uno sguardo che era ancora più eloquente (e circuitorio) proprio perché non era accompagnato da parole.

E meno male che lui, a un certo punto, ha infranto il perplesso ghiaccio, interrompendo sul più bello una storia di lazzi amorosi ecclesiastici secenteschi, con un “Pompe’, sci che tieni quattrocento anni, però se te sci stupidito cuscì non è solo l’età!”
È stato realmente liberatorio, e al “senti chi parla!” del fantasma io, come tutti gli altri a tavola, abbiamo risposto finalmente con delle sincere risa.

Dopo questo scambio la cena si è normalizzata, per quanto possibile, e anzi l’antenato pure è stato coinvolto nelle vuote ma calorose chiacchiere familiari.

Ora abbiamo da poco finito: io, sul divano dietro al pianoforte, guardato dal busto di un altro antenato (che però non ha mai dato segni di vita fantasmatica) ne approfitto per scrivere questa nuga natalizia.

Nel frattempo, mentre gli altri parenti sono in giro per casa, sulle poltrone davanti al camino acceso nonno chiacchiera con lo zio Pompeo Prospero, e la gattina Tosca, sull’altra poltrona, ronfa e fa le fusa, accarezzata da una mano invisibile. Mi sa che il prozio vuole rimanere da noi… non credo che mamma la prenderà tanto bene.

Comunque, al momento, davanti al focolare si ritrova una Famiglia:
è Natale.

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  1. Mikazuru

    mmm Right.

  2. Daine

    It agree, it is a remarkable phrase

  3. Erromon

    I can't take part in the discussion right now - I'm very busy. I will definitely express my opinion very soon.

  4. Adriyel


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