An Italian Christmas
Italy is known for its generous hospitality and strong family bonds. So, it is no surprise that family plays one of the most important parts in an Italian Christmas.
Christmas Eve in Italy is a celebration in itself. Italian families tend to stay away from meat on Christmas Eve, opting for a more pescatarian diet. This is known as The Feast of Seven Fishes. Common types of fish eaten in the feast include cod, clams, calamari, sardines and eel. We asked Michela Di Carlo, the Italian Lifestyle Ambassador for Piccolino Restaurants, what an Italian Christmas truly means to her.
""Christmas in Italy is all about family, friends and never-ending meals. The Christmas Eve menu is usually based on fish and gently battered vegetables. For Christmas, tortellini in brodo is a must. We usually end our lunch with Panettone, Prosecco and a digestive called Nocino which is made with walnuts"".
The Midnight Mass is a very important Christmas Eve family tradition. After the Feast of Seven Fishes, Italian families will head to church for Mass. When families return from Mass it is not uncommon to return home to a slice of Panettone and a warming mug of hot chocolate before bed.
If you want to experience an authentic Italian Christmas, there is no better way to do this than to visit the Italian Christmas markets in December. Check out the link below for 5 of the best traditional Italian Christmas markets to visit.
A German Christmas
Germany is famous for its Christmas markets, where a variety of food, drinks and decorations are sold. Glühwein is a firm favourite for anyone living in or visiting Germany. Virtually every drink-serving establishment has their very own homemade version of this spiced mulled wine.
As most Germans are Catholic, attending a Midnight Mass is on the itinerary for many families. On Christmas day, carp or goose is often served as the main meal. The sides served vary from a classic German potato salad to the more mainstream apple sausage or chestnut stuffing.
Stollen is also a popular Christmas food. This popular fruity yeasted bread is traditionally served with butter, honey or jam. Another big part of the German celebrations is Advent. In Germany, Advent usually starts on the first Sunday of December. This year Advent will run from the 3rd December to the 24th December. To create your own Christmas Stollen, check out Red Magazine’s recipe
A Parisian Christmas
What better place to get into the Christmas spirit than wandering the streets of Paris. Paris is home to some of the most exquisite traditional Christmas markets. What better place to spend a weekend in December than visiting the Marché de Noël de Paris Notre-Dame or the Marché de Noël du Mail Branly situated a stone’s throw away from the Eiffel Tower.
Like most European countries, in France, the main celebration takes place on Christmas Eve. As you would expect, the French Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals are extravagant and elaborate. Most common starters will include smoked salmon, foie gras, pâté on toast or blinis, snails, oysters, prawns and many other varieties of seafood.
A popular tradition for French natives is petit fours, which are pastries filled with a variety of different ingredients – cheese, meat, salmon. Something that is very on trend in France is an amuse bouche “Verines”, a small glass filled with either sweet or savoury ingredients.
The main meal itself includes turkey with accompaniments such as roasted potatoes, vegetables, mash potatoes and homemade chips. But it is also very common for people to cook guinea fowl, capon, game bird and duck.
For dessert, the traditional “Bûche de Noël” would be served. Other common desserts would include a fruit salad, ginger bread along with any type of cakes/patisserie, chocolates and clementines. To create your own “Bûche de Noël” see BBC Good Food’s recipe for a traditional Parisian Christmas dessert.
If you’re feeling inspired by Christmas traditions across the globe, don’t forget to share your culinary creations with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.