food tour / 2 posts found
Merry Christmas from Bella Milan Tours
Mirella & Valeria – together with our four-legged family members – wish you all a very merry Christmas! Whether you are celebrating a secular or religious Christmas, your day is sure to be filled with happiness. You may be wondering what we do for Christmas in Italy. Actually, traditions and customs are quite different in the 20 Italian regions, so there is not just one answer to such question. But all through our country, food is going to be on the front stage during the Holiday Season. So, follow us on a little virtual food tour of Italy and discover what Mirella and I are going to do on Christmas Eve and Day.
In the South of Italy, Christmas Eve is the peak
Valeria’s husband Andrea is from the South of Italy, where Christmas Eve is the peak of season’s celebrations. We will gather at Andrea’s parents’ house and his mamma Iolanda will prepare for us all a so-called “cena di magro”, literally “meagre dinner”, that is meatless dinner. It is supposed to be a light dinner, as a token of respect for the imminent birth of Jesus. But, come on, we are in Italy, a light dinner is blasphemy! So our menu will include risotto with cuttlefish, codfish with bellpepper, and a dessert named “calzuncini”, sort of sweet ravioli stuffed with wine must and chocolate. Definitely, no meagre dinner here. Late in the evening we will go to church for the solemn midnight mass, and when we are back it is finally time to open our gifts.
In Piedmont, Christmas day is the day
Mirella is from Alessandria, in Piedmont, a Northern region with a spectacular food and wine tradition. In the North of Italy Christmas Day is the day, and Christmas lunch the crowning moment. The menu at Mirella’s parents’ always includes typical agnolotti del plin, made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over a filling of roasted meat or vegetables. A triumph of roasted meat will follow, as lavish and generous as on the table of Henry VIII. Panettone will be the dessert; as a matter of fact it is traditional of Milan, but nowadays it can be found on every Italian table on Christmas Day. And presents? Unwrapping time is in the morning, when the family reunites, after the hugs and kisses and laughter, while everybody is sipping a heart-warming glass of wine and getting prepared for the festive lunch that lies ahead.
This is how we celebrate family ties and show our gratitude for all the things we have. We wish everybody wonder and warmth and happiness and joy. Merry Christmas!
A tasting journey through Italy in just one day. Is it possible? Yes, if you follow your local guide around Milan. This city is a crossroad of cultures, people and traditions and is the only place in Italy where you can find everything that you can desire in terms of food.
Italian culture includes a rich food tradition, as well as an incredible artistic heritage. So while visiting Milan, save some time for a mouthwatering food safari. Your stops should include cafés, deli shops, groceries, bakeries, farmer markets and definitely a feast of street food.
Speaking about street food, we suggest an ideal travel from northern Italian specialties to southern delicacies. You should start with Sciatt: crunchy buckwheat fritters with a heart of melted cheese. This is a traditional dish from Valtellina, a valley in the Lombardia region bordering Switzerland.
For a taste of Tuscany assemble your ideal panino-to-go picking among a wide range of salumi (prosciutto, salame, pancetta, fennel-scented finocchiona, mortadella…), pecorino cheese, pickles and home-made tasty toppings.
Sunny south is warm and scrumptious as an arancino. For the ones who haven’t tried it yet, an arancino is a deep fried rice ball filled with ragù, mozzarella and peas. Arancino’s origin dates back to early Middle Ages, when Sicily was under Arab rule, and its shape is usually round but in Catania, the city at the foot of volcano Etna, it has a more conical shape and it’s so hot that when you bite it a puff of steam comes out.
Are you feeling hungry? Do you want some more? then ask your local guide for a tailor-made culinary tour in Milan.