Wednesday 24 December 2008

“I also like to dine on becaficas.” (Lord Byron)

I love Christmas in England. Not so much because of its atmosphere, but because we receive massive boxes full of goodies from Italy. Over the years, we have managed to set my parents against my in-laws in a kind of secret competition, so that they try to outdo each other in terms of quantity and quality. I’ll give you an example. This year, my parents sent us a huge box containing:

2 Kg of Grana Padano parmesan
1 piece of pecorino romano
5 chocolate torroni
5 almond croccanti
7 bags of ciambelle al vino
2 bags of bussolani (local handmade sweets from my area near Rome)
2 pangialli (ditto)
1 pack of fettuccine
plus a few presents for our children

But they came a clear second to Elisabetta’s parents, whose shipment contained:

7 Kg of parmigiano reggiano (!)
20 litres of olive oil
various cheeses
a 1-Kg prosciutto piece
2 salami
assorted chocolates
3 packs of taralli pugliesi
2 packs of orecchiette pugliesi (fresh pasta)
1 handmade panettone
1 big box of figs wrapped in dark chocolate (imagine that)
various presents for our children

You will think that there are enough provisions here for twelve or fourteen months – wrong. By the end of January, maybe with the exception of the olive oil, we’ll be already scraping the barrel. Matter of fact, we spent a very busy morning at the Borough Market today to stock up our larder, just in case.

If you were to assume, from the above, that Italians love their food and can’t talk about anything else, you’d be absolutely right. Now, if you will excuse me, it’s time for me to go and prepare tomorrow’s lasagna.

Happy Christmas,


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