Today is Santa Lucia’s day. I’ve been living on a small island on the west coast of Norway for five years and Santa Lucia’s day was one of the most exciting days of the year. During that day, us parents were invited to arrive in the kindergarten early in the morning, during the so-called “Blue Hour”. At that time, we better appreciated the blue light of the sky, the brilliant whiteness of snow and the only light coming from the candles. Children, dressed up with a long white tunic and with a crown or wreath of candles on them, walked around singing the “Santa “Lucia” song. After the parade, we were served a steaming cup of coffee and the ever-present, saffron sweet buns, called Lussekatter. These buns were prepared the day before form our children and the shapes of them were of the most diverse. Now that we don’t live in Norway anymore, we are still preserving the tradition of baking the Lussekatter. We can’t help smelling the fragrance of cardamom in our house, nostalgically humming the Santa Lucia song.
This French-influenced Neapolitan Savoury Potato cake was subsequently rendered in Italian as Gatto’. This is considered an informal dish to be served warm and sometimes accompanied by a slice of pizza, just to make the meal more Italian :-). Our version is just made with mozzarella cheese and the ubiquitous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, but you can enriched it by adding ham or a mature cheese of your choice.
Take advantage of the many benefits that the winter vegetables give us, preparing our flavourful and healthy salad. Thanks to the virtues of the oranges, fennels and red cabbage you’ll supply a wealth of vitamins to face the cold season.
This heady cake, called Babbà, will be a truly show-off dessert for your Christmas table. This rhum drenched dessert is originally from Poland and then spread in Europe, arriving till Naples where the name was changed from Babà to Babbà‘. So it was pronounced by the Neapolitan pastry chefs. In the following years the Neapolitan phrase “Sì ‘nu babbà” (you are as nice as a Babbà) was coined to describe a very handsome and nice person. We realised that the Italian language has many catchphrases that refer to the Italian cuisine. We are very keen to hear whether the same goes for your mother tongue.
We want to thank our friend Danila from Campania region, for giving us her family recipe of this scrumptious dessert.
The zucchini cream takes on an Italian twist with the addition of garlic sautéed clams. It can be served as an entree or as a first course. In either cases give your diners a unique experience pairing the cream with a well structured white wine like the Nanni Cope’- Polveri della Scarrupata.
This wine, made by autoctone grapes Fiano, Asprinio and Pallagrello bianco in the Campania region – Southern Italy, has a golden, straw-yellow color and an extraordinary scents of acacia, eucalyptus, hazelnut and smoky notes as well as notes of apricot, chamomile and citronella.
*This wine is imported to Denmark by Vinimondo.dk, a wine wholesaler that works with some of the best wine suppliers in Italy, Portugal, France and Spain.
These biscuits, from the town of Matera, Southern Italy, are also known as Friselle. This recipe is from my cousin’s grandmother, Carmela, who used to prepare them for her grandchildren. It features smooth dough that becomes an especially crunchy cookie outside, while maintaining its softness inside.
They are usually served with an Italian dessert wine like Vin Santo. Fill your shot glass once the biscuits are ready for dunking!
If you don’t have the typical spatzle maker device, the potato masher will work great to prepare these small gnocchi. You just have to pour the batter through the holes of the masher and let the spatzle fall gently into the boiling water. Don’t worry about the shape of the spatzle. They come from rustic cousine, so they have their fashion!
This Lambrusco Manfreina wine, from Emilia Romagna Region, features a pleasant freshness and vivacity at every sip. We recommend the wine to be uncorked as an aperitif, served with this delicate creamy Polenta with prawns. While pouring the wine let it form a rich foam before giving off its notes of violet, cherry and raspberries. Cheers! 🍷