- Christmas Eve: The meal centers on fish, in the Catholic tradition to abstain from meat the night before a major holiday. La Vigilia di Natale (the vigil) is also called The Feast of the Seven Fishes. The origin of the “seven” is somewhat of a mystery. Some say it comes from the number of sacraments; others say it relates to the phase of the moon (seven days). Some families even serve 13 fish dishes, one for Jesus and one for each of the 12 apostles.
- After Midnight Mass: Families return home for pannetone (the dome-shaped fruit cake that originated in Milan) and Prosecco (sparkling wine).
- Christmas Day: Italians eat tacchino (turkey), which arrived in Europe in the mid-16th century, or fagiano (pheasant). Dessert consists of countless cakes and cookies such as pandoro (a light, golden cake from Verona) and rococco (crisp almond rings).
If you want to prepare your own authentic italian meal, the online food store DITALIA has all of the specialty food items you need! Our friend Vince, president of DITALIA, is graciously offering Dream of Italy readers *15% everything* in their wonderful online food emporium through midnight, Friday, December 14th. Use coupon code: DOITALY