Italian food is arguably one of the most popular cuisines on the planet and during Christmas (known as ‘Natale’) the quality of food is only enhanced by the special occasion.
There are three key meals that take place over the festive period, including Christmas eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing day. However, it’s traditional on Christmas eve for Italian families to only enjoy fish rather than heavier dishes, including meat. This is sometimes referred to as ‘The Feast of the Seven Fishes’ and can include tuna, salmon, octopus salad, smelts, swordfish, calamari, spaghetti with clam sauce and the famous Italian classic: salted cod (baccalà).
On Christmas Day, the meals are usually meat-based and dinners can last for hours at a time. The appetizers include delicious, dry-cured meats, salamis, fine Italian cheeses, briny olives and artichokes. Next up are pasta-based dishes, including lasagne, manicotti, and ravioli. Then comes the main meal, the pièce de résistance that everyone has been waiting for, the meat. This often includes roasted veal, baked chicken, sausages and/or braised beef.
Finally, to set off the occasion, guests may enjoy an array of sweet options, such as biscotti, pandoro, and a candied loaf of panettone.