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Christmas with Gualtiero Marchesi
Christmas with Gualtiero Marchesi
Gualtiero Marchesi, L'Albereta, Italie
Gualtiero Marchesi, L'Albereta, Italie

Flavors of Italy

In recent years in Italy, as the firm hold of tradition has begun to be loosened, changes and innovations to the time-honoured holiday menu have been introduced, establishing themselves as new traditions in their turn. Though Christmas dinner still retains many beloved elements of generations past, a close look will show just how much it has evolved.

The innovation has come about partly because tastes have changed, but also because, admittedly, not many Italian mammas are now willing to make ravioli by the hundred on Christmas Eve and cook a stuffed capon on Christmas morning. So for these reasons, even seemingly unalterable Christmas customs have been modified in recent times. In the 1990s, the innovations of previous years took root and became established as new traditions. Smoked salmon has replaced culatello and Parma ham, and a glance at any delicatessen window in the days before Christmas reveals the array of food that will appear on the Christmas table: pâté, mousse, shellfish in aspic...

These observations led me to invent an unusual Christmas menu that moves beyond the usual conventions...

You'll find all the usual elements of an Italian meal: antipasto, pasta, veal... but in a lightened modernized version that's quick to prepare.


The antipasto I have devised is so tiny it fits inside an eggshell: scrambled eggs, returned to their shells and garnished with little pieces of dried chub fillet, preserved tomato and chervil.
Montisola Scrambled Eggs

The first course features lake fish: spaghetti with a condiment of anchovy sauce and fillets of shad, bleak and other small lake fish.
Spaghetti with Small Lake Fish and Anchovy Sauce

The soup is based on freshwater crayfish and turbot, garnished with a vegetable julienne and served in a broth made from the crayfish and turbot bones.
Turbot and Langoustine Soup

The centerpiece of the meal is a lovely
Glazed Loin of Veal with Jardiniere of Vegetables

I suggest Yogurt and Almond Milk Ice Cream
to refresh the palate and prepare us for dessert.

Here we acknowledge tradition with a fragrant panettone. As a good Milanese, I'm particularly fond of this cake. This version, topped with icing, can be enjoyed all year round, not just at Christmas!

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