December: culinary traditions and curiosities
We have now reached the month of December. Winter is one of the most beloved seasons, both for the traditions and for the folklore that the Christmas holiday arouses. Tradition reminds us that the Christmas atmosphere starts in November, but officially from December 8, the date of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, until January 6, the day of the Epiphany. Capri has always been the most popular destination to celebrate the Christmas period, to experience the magical atmosphere of the lively streets, the joy and hospitality of the place in the company of family and friends.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic that the country is going through, we will greet 2020 in a different way, favoring a sense of responsibility towards ourselves and towards others, without any merrymaking, hoping to resume traveling and to reclaim the habits that we miss so much. Officially this year Capri will not experience music, sport, fishing competition, movies at the "The Capri Hollywood" and its premieres and, not even the traditional dance in the Piazzetta, but one thing that will certainly not be missing is the art of culinary traditions. Indeed, because one of the most beautiful activities that Christmas offers, where no exceptions are allowed, is to enjoy all the recipes and typical delicacies of the tradition. This article is dedicated to all the courses that should not be missing on your table during these holidays. Let us proceed with order.
Let's start with December 24, Christmas Eve. The Italian culinary tradition speaks for itself: from the appetizer to the main course, the whole menu must smell of the sea - except for the dessert. Christmas Eve is considered a lean day: we don't eat meat, but fish. Contrary to what one might think, the renunciation of meat in the dinner of December 24 is not linked to religion, but it is a popular custom. The starting point are appetizers, Olivier salad, scallops, canapes with caviar, canapes with butter and salmon, mussels, oysters. Then we move on to the first and second course with the typical spaghetti with seafood and all the second courses as tradition dictates, from eel, to fried cod, to prawns with homemade mayonnaise. Another step that requires attention is the moment of dessert with a wide choice of struffoli, pastiera, cassata, nougat, panettone, roccocò and mostaccioli, all desserts that cannot be missed.
Let's now move on to the lunch of December 25, where after a few hours the menu continues to be nourishing. Yes, because if the menu of the 24th is based on fish, the 25th one is based on meat. Many families opt for homemade ravioli or casoncelli topped with butter and sage. There are those who prefer stuffed cannelloni or crepes with béchamel, while risotto is less frequent. On the other hand, when the second courses arrive, space is given to roast beef tenderloin and pork loin with herbs and roasted potatoes or baked au gratin. If there is still room, dried and candied fruit, in addition to the familiar desserts, with panettone and pandoro in forefront.
Saint Stephen Feast
Let's move on to the Saint Stephen feast. In Italy it has been a public holiday since 1947, established to extend the Christmas holidays. Even on this day, lunch is rigorously characterized by a particular and substantial menu. The appetizer is a serious course, with a plate of mixed cold cuts, various cheeses, fried foods and vegetable preserves. The first course, on the other hand, is at the preference of the local tradition, there are those who prepare pasta with sausage and mushrooms, or those who cook conchiglioni with raw ham and artichokes, or even those who bring back seafood dishes such as spaghetti with clams and mussels. While for the second course there is a wide choice of pork fillet with shallots, roast pork or fish steaks of your choice. On the other hand, the dessert does not undergo any variations as it is the same as consumed in the previous days.
New Year's Eve
We now reach December 31st, the New Year's Eve dinner, the last one of the year. What makes this day’s feast special are some dishes that must not be missing. Since ancient times, in every part of the world, there have been "propitiatory" dishes for the end and the beginning of each year. For this reason, with the arrival of 2021, we recommend which lucky foods cannot be missing on the table. Lentils are the lucky food par excellence, everywhere. Their round and flattened shape resembles that of coins, therefore, the more you eat, the more money will be received. Usually accompanied by zampone or cotechino. Grapes, which represent abundance. In Italy, according to an ancient peasant tradition, one should eat 12 grapes, one for each month, to obtain abundance all year round. Finally, dried fruit is considered a good luck charm, especially in France, where 13 types of dried fruit must be eaten. Here in Italy, however, we are satisfied with eating only hazelnuts, peanuts, raisins, almonds, figs and dates.
We are sure that the magic that Christmas offers, even if with different shades, will not be lacking this year.Suite Time Collection and Villa La Pergola Capri wish you a Merry Christmas with hopes for a Happy New Year to everyone.