The Italians love their food that’s for sure. If you are interested in knowing about what the Italians eat on Christmas Day then read on to find out.
Christianity happens to be the most prevalent religion in Italy and Christmas happens to be the biggest Christian event of the year. Irrespective of the religious zeal of the many different individuals that live in Italy the Christmas holidays are celebrated in full flow. Practicing and non-practicing Christians alike take the holiday as an excuse to indulge in some delicious treats that have been prepared for the day. Over the years the Italians have developed their own special cuisine for the biggest holiday of the year and it has become more or less formalized as authentic Italian Christmas food.
Although Christmas time is a time to prepare good food you will find there to be some variance in the kind of foods that is prepared in the different regions of Italy. Some areas of the country have developed a tradition of eating fish on the day. You may see some regions enjoy a Christmas Eve meatless meal whereas others enjoy the full fledged heavy meal on the big day itself.
Regional Christmas Cuisine
Each region has its own formalized menu as mentioned earlier and it is interesting to note the differences that occur in regional food for the day. Amongst the most popular menus is the La Vigilia Napoletana which starts off with a spicy broccoli rabe and goes on to the main coarse which can be eel, lobster or the like. The meal is ended with lasagna and struffoli. Another Christmas Day menu for the Italians is the II Natale in Altamura. On this menu you will be starting off with fish such as baccala, eel and other seafood. This will then be followed up by orecciette, timballi and some roasts.
In Dalmatia you will find the people to be starting off with cabbage soup. The big bird turkey is consumed as the main item of the day which is accompanied with stuffed cabbage leaves commemorating the army that fought the Turks. Then you have the world famous Christmas food of Tuscany which starts off with crostini and cold cuts. This is followed up by cappelletti in broth and a boiled dinner consisting of roasted meats and other items. To end the feast you get a special treat of Panettone or Pandoro along with other pastries from the supermarket.
On a closer observation the Christmas food traditions of Italy reveal to be distinctively different from what you normally find in America and other European countries. There are a number of reasons for this difference starting out from the different races that have come in close contact with the Italians and had an influence on their cuisine. Some of the Christmas food is influenced by the regional structure of land and the availability of ingredients. For example the coastal areas are fond of preparing fish and different kinds of seafood. Mostly however you will find the Italians to be eating what they love to eat at the Christmas feast. If there is one thing that is common in all the different regions of Italy during Christmas Day it has to be coffee, which is usually consumed at the end of the meal.