ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Traditional Italian Christmas foods

Updated on May 4, 2011

Tortellini and Ravioli are Favorite Premier Dishes


Best Christmas Italian foods


In Italy Christmas may be almost defined as a family celebration where people go to church open presents and gather at the table for a full course meal. Having been raised in Italy, I have had my share of Christmas celebrations. One of the most looked forward to events was the meal preparation and of course the consumption at the table.

I have grown up in Southern Italy, so I will therefore, depict the culinary specialties of that region. I must admit, an Italian Christmas meal is not for the fussy anorexic eater, rather it may suit the overindulgent or the culinary conoisseure that will enjoy one meal after the other. I must confess that I had to try to skip a few meals boforehand, so to have the extra "capacity" for the event.


A five course meal cannot lack the "antipasto" -the appetizer- There are lots of different antipasto's in Italy. A famous one for Christmas consists of bread slices spread with mayonnaise and topped with caviar or smoked salmon.

Other variants are bruschettas or cold cuts colorfully aranged with green and black olives, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp salad, caponata (a special eggplant mix), pickled vegetables, fried calamari etc. Each family seems to have their favorite.


A traditional Italian christmas will display any hearty meal that gives a sense of richness and celebration. It can be rich backed lasagna, tortellini, ravioli or any other pasta dish that feels hearty and satisfying.


Cotechino with lentil beans are a traditional specialty in the South. Lentil beans are seen around Christmas time as a symbol of money, so they say the more you eat the more money will be coming your way the following year.

Some homes will serve fish instead of meat. In central Italy a special dish with eel may be made. Others will go with dried salted cod that requires a few days of immersion to get tender and less salty before being cooked.


A contorno is a side dish and it usually varies from home to home. Fresh vegetables are often offered such as lentil beans, broccoli, potatoes, zucchini or eggplants. They are served alongside the second dish to basically fill up the plate.


In small Southern towns where traditions seem to linger, grandmas start baking famous cookies called "Buccellati". These cookies are made with basic dough ingredients composed of shortening, eggs, flour and sugar. Most likely these cookies are traditionally filled with a rich almond paste and candied citrus peel, or in its more rustic variant they are filled with raisins, chocolate and dried figs.

Creativity is the key word in making these cookies as they are shaped as a crescent moon and decorated with left over dough cuts. Relatives exchange these on their Christmas visits and a little competition in who makes them better contributes to a vivacious atmosphere

"Panettone" is a traditional sweet that is store bought and comes in creative tin boxes or colorful cartons. This is a large almost bell shaped sweet bread with candied orange peel and raisins. It is sliced vertically and shared after meals on Christmas day.

"Pandoro" is a variant of Panettone and it is a simpler version of the sweet bread. It lacks the raisins but still retains the candied orange. It is typically covered by an abundant layer or powdered sugar.

"Torrone" a sugary paste with almonds, it can of a soft, chewy consistency or rock hard. New flavors have developed such as honey, chocolate covered, liqueur, or orange.

As seen, a Christmas meal in Italy can be very " full-filling", but after all what to expect, since Christmas comes only once a year? In Italy there is a well known saying "Christmas with your family and Easter with whoever". This saying clearly depicts the importance of celebrating the holiday as a big get together of aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and friends. Homes may feel over crowded on Christmas night in Italy and long tables are especially set to accommodate everyone. However, the general athmosphere is pretty unique and still nowadays, I must admit, I still miss such gatherings when Christmas comes along each year....


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      6 years ago

      yall r good

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      wow that sounds great

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This website is cool it is all I need for a skool project

    • profile image

      Traditional Italian Food 

      8 years ago

      It is very interesting to see what foods are the real traditional foods around the holidays and how each culture is different. I have found even areas within a country have different variations within their main dishes. This is usually based on accessibility of local ingredients.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)