Christmas is coming around the corner and its always a great idea to plan early. When it comes to Christmas in Italy, there are a few traditions that is not common to the rest of the world. Most of us are well acquainted with the usual roast beef or turkey, but did you know that in Italy Christmas and New Year is celebrated quite differently? For example, did you know that eating fish for Christmas is considered tradition as well as having a Panettone for dessert?
When celebrating Christmas in Kuala Lumpur, you would not expect that you would be able to experience an authentic Italian Christmas in Malaysia, however you would be very wrong. Marini’s on 57 served traditional and modern Italian cuisine, and all the while offering some of the best food and wine paring available with a rooftop view to match.
A Feast Of Seven Fishes
In traditional Italian Christmas dinners, fasting the day before Christmas Eve was an integral part to the festivities. This would usually result in the breaking of the fast with the Feast of Seven Fishes, where seven types of seafood would be served. This is why any Italian restaurant worth their salt today would at least prepare one dish with a nod to this Italian tradition. Oysters would also be served at some of the more opulent homes, with dollops of caviar adding only to the luxury.
What’s On An Italian Christmas Dinner Menu?
Today, traditions have evolved and changed, with many Italian homes evolving the way they eat and celebrate. On Christmas Day, meat is served, but with strong and very traditional ingredients. A nod to its early Christian history would include the Cenone, the “big dinner”, celebrated with a mix of meats, seafood and desserts. On Christmas day, it would not be unusual to find turkey, an American import, placed beside a serving of pasta vongole, a nod to its seafood tradition.
A Charcuterie? Why Not?
Many would assume that a charcuterie would only appear in a non-festive dinner, but cold cuts and cheese is tantamount to the Italian experience. Cold cuts and dried meats were first made to last through the colder months of the year and coincided with Christmas because of this timing. It would not be unusual to have some bresaola with Parmigianino Reggiano served as a starter for the festive meal.
Regional Italian Christmas Pasta
Pasta is synonymous with Italian culinary heritage, and this one doesn’t get a miss when it comes to Christmas. For the Natale lunch, cured meats will normally be served as the appetisers, followed by pasta as the first course. Depending on region, this may vary, with Southern Italians preferring a baked pasta al forno, whereas Northern Italians would serve ravioli and lasagne. These courses are then followed up by the mains you will find including chicken, beef or turkey as proteins, as well as risotto and vegetables as sides.
Panettoni, The Christmas Bread
One Italian tradition that some may be familiar with is the Italian Christmas dessert known as the Panettoni. As with many cultural traditions from around the world, each country has their distinct take on their dishes, and Italy is no different. Like France with its buche de noel, better known as a Yule Log, Italy’s Pannetone is a sweetened bread that originates from Milan. The bread is usually filled with either fruits, like a fruit cake, or chocolate. The word panettoni comes from panetto, which means a small loaf of cake, which is exactly what it is. It’s a nice finisher to an Italian meal and will bring your Italian Christmas experience together.
The Christmas Countdown
A common drink to have during an Italian Christmas can vary from region to region, where in Milan, the panettoni is best experienced with a nice flute of Asti, or if you’d like to take it up a notch, the Moscato d’Asti, a protected sparkling wine. The Moscato is famed for its sweetness and effervescence that brings the meal to a wonderful close. The refreshing taste is great as a way to end the meal so do try to get your hands on some to experience a truly Italian Christmas.
New Year Celebrations in KL
For a wonderful Italian Christmas experience, we suggest you make a booking for Christmas Eve with Marini’s on 57, and if you won’t be able to make the wonderful courses, there’s always the Christmas Day Menu along with the New Year Eve Menu for one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Malaysia. The New Year package at Marini’s on 57 not only promises some delightful dishes, but also offers arguably the best view of the fireworks
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