Showing posts with label Vino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vino. Show all posts

25 December 2015

Natale – Christmas Day

Celebrating Christmas the Italian way


Christmas Day in Italy is very much a family feast just as in other parts of the world.

After la Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve), when traditionally a fish meal is consumed and the adults go to midnight mass, Natale (Christmas Day) is a time for feasting.
Panettone, the traditional end to the
Christmas Day meal in Italy

While the children open their presents, the adults savour a glass of good Prosecco or uncork a special vintage bottle while they prepare the festive table.

Friends and relatives who drop in with presents or to exchange good wishes will be offered a glass of wine and nuts, biscuits or torrone (a type of nougat from Cremona).

Antipasti is likely to include Parma ham or Bresaola, served with preserved mushrooms, olives or pickled vegetables.

Stuffed pasta is usually served as a first course, either in the shape of ravioli or tortellini, which are said to have been offered as Christmas gifts to priests and monks during the 12th century. In the south a baked pasta dish is often served.

For the main course, turkey or capon is likely to be served in the north of Italy, with potatoes and vegetables as side dishes. Veal, beef and chicken can be served in the south.

The traditional end to the meal is almost always Panettone, served warm accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine or Prosecco. 

Salute e Buon Natale from Italy On This Day!

Travel tip:

Cremona in Lombardia is famous for producing confectionery. Negozio Sperlari in Via Solferino specialises in the city’s famous torrone (nougat). The concoction of almonds, honey and egg whites was created in the city to mark the marriage of Bianca Maria Visconti to Francesco Sforza in 1441, when Cremona was given to the bride as part of her dowry.

Travel tip:

Milan, the main city in Lombardia, is believed to be where Panettone originated.  It is said to have been concoted by a Milanese baker, Antonio (Toni), to impress his girlfriend at Christmas time in the 15th century. The result was so successful that ‘Pane de Toni’ has become a regular feature of the Christmas season all over Italy and now even abroad.


6 November 2015

Vino Novello

Raise a glass to autumn in Italy

Italy’s new wine for 2015, Vino Novello, goes on sale in the shops and will be served in bars and restaurants from today.

The light, fruity, red wine, produced throughout Italy from different grape varieties, is enjoyable to drink and a bargain buy to take home with you.

Vino Novello on sale in Padova
Vino Novello is often similar in taste, body and colour to the French wine, Beaujolais Nouveau, which is exported to a number of other countries after its release in the third week of November.

Like Beaujolais Nouveau, Vino Novello has a low alcohol content and is meant to be drunk while it is still young. The wine should be consumed quickly after the bottle is opened and unopened bottles should be kept for only a few months.

In some parts of Italy there is a tradition that the last days to drink it are i giorni della merla (the days of the blackbird), which are traditionally the coldest days at the end of January.

A major area for production is the Veneto, with the merlot grape being the one most used by wine makers to make Vino Novello. Many wine producing areas hold feste to celebrate and will serve local specialities to eat with the new wine.

Vino Novello is produced using carbonic maceration, which involves accelerating the fermentation process.

Whereas 100 per cent carbonic maceration is used to produce Beaujolais Nouveau, only 30 per cent is required for Vino Novello.

However, one Italian Vino Novello that is produced using 100 per cent carbonic maceration is Bardolino Novello, which is made in the area around the resort of Bardolino on Lake Garda in the Veneto.

According to the Bardolino wine consortium (Consorzio Tutelavino Bardolino Doc), 100 per cent carbonic maceration is used in order to produce an excellent wine.

A wine bar on Bardolino's main street
Vino Novello has a vibrant colour, a fresh bouquet and goes well with chestnuts and dishes made from chestnut flour, such as castagnaccio, a popular cake served in the autumn.

Travel tip:

In 1987, Bardolino Novello was the first Vino Novello to receive DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status. To celebrate this achievement a wine festival is held every year in the first week of November in Piazza del Porto in Bardolino.

Travel tip:

Bardolino is just a short boat ride away from Desenzano del Garda. After disembarking, walk down the main street, which is lined with shops, restaurants and bars where you can sample Bardolino by the glass. Make a point of visiting the church of San Severo, which dates back to the 11th century and the small church of San Zeno, which dates back to the eighth century and still contains traces of its original frescoes. If you want to learn more about Bardolino wine and the history of wine making, visit the museum run by the Zeni family of winemakers at Via Costabella 9. For opening hours visit