Christmas at Table

The old neapolitan tradition suggests that which was classified by the Duke of Buonvicino, Ippolito Cavalcanti, one and half centuries ago, where the suggestion for the arrival of Christmas should be: fried broccoli, fine vermicelli (pasta) with garlic and olive oil, fried eels and squids, boiled crayfish, roast capitone (large roast eel), mixed fish and eel coarse pate, Struffoli (sweetmeat), typical fried pastry dish consisting of small hardballs, covered with honey candied fruit and tiny coloured sugared balls.

For the main meal of Christmas Day one should eat: chicory soup, boiled mixed meats, eel (capone) in the pot, giblets of chicken, wild boar in sweet and sour, roast filet of pork from Sorrento and cauliflower salad. Biancomangiare-alight diet with out coloured additions!

As one can understand simple dishes which enhance the genuine and fragrant tastes of our land. A separate volume merits the traditional cakes and sweet meats of Christmas. Their names are very strange but their tastes will arouse one’s palate with their secret perfumes and flavours.

The knowledge of the quantities of their ingredients and the goodness of their tastes are without comparison. They are sweetmeats which originally were baked mainly at home or were purchased in the convents of the closed order of nuns, who were specialised in their production. Today one goes to a bakery, where only sweetmeats and cakes are baked – no bread! Times have changed!

Some names for who is not from Sorrento ? Roccocò Mustaccioli, Susamielli, Pasta Reale cotta o cruda (Marzipan baked or unbaked) Raffiuoli Struffoli, Zeppole di farina bollita, fritte e candite (fries and candied fruits).

Struffoli: appear to be of ancient tradition. They were supposed to have been brought to Naples by the ancient Greeks, if the story is true! The name derives from Struggolos which means “a globe” their form and colour is just like chickpeas, besides being good to eat, they are considered as for lentil beans good luck symbols. Whoever eats them is assured plenty of profitable earnings for the coming year!

 Antonino Fiorentino

[Photo Credits]


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