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Traditional Italian Christmas Dinner

The traditional Italian Christmas dinner mostly follows the Sicilian dining custom for the occasion, where the entire family gathers around the festive dining table decorated with assorted dishes, all made from fish. This is the traditional Italian Christmas dinner menu of the Catholics, which is very different from the rest, as they observe a “day of abstinence” on Christmas and abstain from eating dishes cooked with meat. So, they prepare their traditional Italian Christmas dinner food with fish, which has earned this traditional course the title of “La Vigilia” or the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” The seven different kinds of seafood delicacies included in this traditional Italian Christmas dinner menu are believed to be all Italian-American and some families are even known to enjoy with more seafood dishes comprising 9, 11 or 13 different seafood items. These foods symbolize Vigilia di Natale or the wait for the birth of baby Jesus, after which, the traditional Italian Christmas dinner on the following night witnesses a fresh change with dishes that comprise sweet breads, fish, fruits, cenci and candied almonds. Some other popular Italian Christmas dinner recipes are pasta, prosecco and panettone.

The Concept of Italian Christmas Dinner Recipes in Different Cuisines

Unlike in the UK cuisine, where the culinary traditions feature bright on the traditional Italian Christmas dinner platter, there’s no set meal for Christmas in Italy. Rather, each region in the country has evolved its own set of Italian Christmas dinner recipes, and there is a lot of similarity in the nature of the dishes and the meal size in the traditional Italian Christmas dinner. Also, in every traditional Italian Christmas dinner menu, the prosecco, panettone and pasta are a must feature.

Popular Italian Christmas Dinner Recipes

The various Italian Christmas dinner recipes include all the staple ingredients like olives, meatballs, pasta and vinegar. On the Christmas Eve or the Vigilia di Natale, the traditional Italian Christmas dinner comprises meat free meals and all kinds of fish delicacies. Some of the most popularly cooked items include roast sea bass, baccala, ravioli di magro and bruschetta. These dishes hold the main attraction of the traditional Italian Christmas dinner, especially in Southern Italy and Sicily. On the Christmas Day or Natale, salami, Parma ham, prosecco, agnolotti, tortellini, panettone and pandolce are popularly eaten as a part of the traditional Italian Christmas dinner. On the next day or the Boxing Day, stuffed tortelloni or ravioli, meat pasta and dishes made of lentils make up a major portion of the traditional Italian Christmas dinner menu.