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Remembering Italian Christmases past, preparing for the future! -Tasty Tidbits E-zine, Issue #11

December 13, 2011

In this Issue...

  1. My Italian Christmas History, traditions to keep alive!
  2. Latest site additions
  3. Italy in the News
  4. Create an Italian gift basket for a loved one this holiday season!

red pepper Ciao,

Benvenuti! I'm so excited to share this issue of the Tasty Tidbits E-zine with you!

In this issue I want to reminisce a bit on my Italian holiday traditions, the ones of Christmases past and present, and maybe touch on some New Year's ones, too!

I've also included a couple of stories from recent Italian news. If you're interested to see how the country is faring after the Prime Minister stepped down and other such tidbits, read on below to see more.

And of course, you may be doing some last minute holiday shopping at this point in the season. If that's the case I have a tip for a great gift that is easy to put together and that your family will love!

Enjoy these stories and more...Until next time...

the word arrivederci, stylized


My Italian Christmas History, traditions to keep alive!

There's something about the holiday season that puts an extra bounce in my step. Looking back at all the years gone by, I marvel at the moments that have been created and the memories that have been made - many including traditional Italian customs and treats.

When my mother was a young girl in Italy, Christmas was one of her favorite times. Of course it is an extremely religious time of year. The birth of Christ is the main focus in Italy and I remember setting up a presepio or Nativity every year and covering the baby Jesus with a white cloth, only to reveal him at midnight on Christmas Eve. My sisters and I would stand around the set-up and sing "Silent Night".

I've always loved singing, and Christmas carols are at the top of my list of favorite songs to listen to and belt out at this time of year. One of my favorites is the Latin version of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" or as it was known as I was growing up Adeste Fideles. If you're interested in listening to an Italian version of this song, much like the one my mother and her mother before her loved to sing, here is a great children's cd of Italian holiday music, including Adeste Fideles

anise cookies
Of course, the food is one of the most memorable parts of the holidays for me. Traditionally Christmas eve consists of a banquet of dishes featuring fish as the star. Our family focuses on spaghetti with red clam sauce, baccala (also known as cod fish), and a variety of other savory treats.

And then there are the sweets! Panettone is NEVER far from the table, both on Christmas Eve and day and also reappears a week later at New Years. You can make your own panettone following this recipe, or even purchase panettone online or check your local grocery store to see if they have them (you'd be surprised to see how many do).

There are many Italian cookies that you can whip up during the holidays and some of my favorites include this recipe for anise cookies. I love to dye the frosting with red or green food coloring to make them extra festive!

Or if you want to create a tray of traditional biscotti, these are great wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a decorative bow to give away as gifts! Check out my other idea for a great Italian themed gift below for more ideas, too!

Oh Christmas, so many memories! I can't wait to continue the traditions of an Italian Christmas this year with my family, my son and with all of you! Buon natale!

portabella mushroom tops Latest site additions

This month I've added a wonderful stuffed baby portabella mushrooms recipe .

It's a terrific holiday appetizer to serve and the leftover stuffing can be baked in "meatball" form and tossed in soups or sauce and pasta.

This recipe is vegetarian and I guarantee your family and friends will be coming back for more and more! Make a bunch! Saporosi!

Do you have any exciting new recipes you'd like to share?
Share them with us!

We'd love to hear from you!

Italy in the News

view of the Vatican
Italian Women Rally Against Machoismo Women across Italy are making their voices heard when it comes to their country's attitude about their rights. See what they are asking for here.

And will the Roman Catholic church be required to start paying taxes? The pressure is mounting amongst financial unrest in the Eternal City and across the country. Check out the story to learn more.

spilled jar of pasta

Create an Italian gift basket for a loved one this holiday season!

Need a last minute gift idea? What about an Italian classics gift basket!

To create this one of a kind gift is simple.

  • First find a vessel. A basket, a gift wrapped box or even a large pot will do!
  • Then fill to the brim will Italian classics! Dried pasta (spaghetti, farfalle, whatever you wish), canned crushed tomatoes to create a wonderful sauce, spices, cheeses, even wine! Why not?
  • Include a couple essential cooking tools, like a wooden spoon, garlic press, cheese grater or cork screw.
  • Add a festive bow and a note with a link to my site to inspire your gift recipient to make a great meal!

    Then pass out your gift with confidence that it will be loved and enjoyed this holiday season!

    See more ideas for Italian wine gift baskets on my site....

    Or find gourmet holiday gift baskets online at and support my site by shopping for your friends and family!

    Did you enjoy this issue of the Tasty Tid-bits E-zine?

    And please forward this newsletter to someone you also think would enjoy it asking them to subscribe...

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    See you next time! Arrivederci...

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