12 Festive Days

December 17, 2021

The tree is sparkling. The presents are wrapped. The cookies and fruitcakes are made and the Christmas cards are in the mail. Now the real work begins and that means the menus for the holidays, because Christmas is a season, not just a day. It’s 12 days in fact until Epiphany on January 6th when the Three Wise Men finally come to Jesus.

Christmas Eve will start off for most Italians with the multi-fish dinner including the classic baccala’ (salt cod). For Christmas dinner, ravioli or other pasta will start the meal but only after a groaning board of cured meats like prosciutto di Parma, mortadella and salami are served with marinated veggies and assorted olives. Roast capon is the star of the table but sausages and meatballs will be there too but before all this we must have breakfast on Christmas morning and that means panettone, the classic sweet Christmas bread from Milan. 

I make them every year and it is a long process but worth it. Along with it, I sneak in my mom’s warm cinnamon rolls. Add a frittata, coffee and fruit and the 12 Days of Christmas are off to a jolly start. Buon Natale.

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