The holiday season is upon us, and Italian cities are all twinkly and lit up. The weather has gotten suddenly colder, contributing to the festive mood. But the best way Italians honor the season is gathering around the table and feasting on holiday foods.

holiday foods panettone

Tasty celebrations in Italy normally begin on December 8th with the Festa dell’Immacolata, during which large mugs of hot chocolate are enjoyed by the blazing fireplace.

holiday foods hot chocolate

Next on the calendar is the Feast of Santa Lucia, when Sicilians traditionally honor the Patron Saint of Catania by devouring arancini.

On Christmas Eve Italian-American families and southern Italian locals share a common menu made up of fish and seafood. Read about what dishes and what wine pairings make up the Feast fo the Seven Fishes.

holiday foods christmas eve

On Christmas Day, the northern Italian side of my family will be making traditional tortellini in brodo and bollito misto. Bagnèt vert and bagnèt ros––the sauces that complement this elaborate meat dish––are simple to make. Just follow nonna’s recipe.

In addition to holiday breads such as panettone and pandoro, Italians love to eat torrone during the holiday season. Read our recipe to make it at home.

holiday foods torrone

If baking cookies is more your thing, try making authentic buccellati from Sicily.

Take a peek at this year’s gift guide for some Santa inspiration, and check out what fruits and vegetables are in season in December in Italy for sustainable food shopping.

Italians finish off the year with a celebratory meal that involves lentils. Find out what other luck-endearing food practices we adopt on December 31st at midnight!

Buone Feste!

 

Photos ©Ti-Press/Carlo Reguzzi – ChocolateCodex – Buonissimo