We had a busy Christmas and feasted for three days.
Friday night we had our little Christmas together and exchanged the few gifts we bought for each other and received from family and friends in the US. On Saturday we drove to Rome to visit our friends Giorgio and Francesca, they are moving into a new house and we went to help. We spent Saturday and Sunday moving some furniture and then arranging things and cleaning in preparation for the holidays. They moved from a two bedroom apartment that they lived in for over thirty years to a three story home on the outskirts of Rome.
La Vigilia, Christmas Eve, is the big Christmas day in Italy where there is a huge dinner with family. We had this meal in their new taverna, all fish, and it lasted three hours with antipasti, pasta, secondo and a variety of dolci. As midnight approached the kids got excited as that is the traditional time to open their presents. There is no up at sunrise to rush to the tree on Christmas morning that we knew as kids.
Christmas day we had another large multi-course meal for lunch in the new dining room with some of their friends which we again finished up with dolci including a chocolate covered panettone with a presepio carved into the side. Christmas night we went to mass with Francesca.
The day after Natale is la festa di Sant' Stefano, another holiday, and requiring another special meal. This day we had polenta with sausages and sauce on top, which is placed on a large board and everyone eats directly off the wood. To get to the meat you must make a path through the polenta, the smaller your path the less full you will get. This is a traditional meal for this day in many parts of Italy and was a first time experience for us.
After the polenta pranzo we drove back to Ascoli Piceno. We don’t have a scale at our apartment but with those three days of feasting I think we will stick to salads for a few days.