The Christmas Eve is a very important occurrence in the South of Italy and most of all in Campania.
According to tradition, families usually meet around the table in the late afternoon to have the most important dinner of the year: there are a lot of dishes and people often continue to eat while chatting and laughing until midnight.
Midnight is a solemn moment in which the family gathers together around the crib to wait for the arrival of the Child Jesus and then unwrap the gifts under the Christmas tree.
But what are the dishes that compose the menu of this celebration in Campania and in the Amalfi Coast?
A first important detail: meat and its derivatives are absolutely banned! The Christmas Eve menu is essentially made by fish and vegetables.
The typical appetizer of Christmas Eve in Campania is the ‘reinforcement salad’, useful to ‘reinforce’ the appetite because mainly composed of pickles: it is usually ‘reinforced’ with the addition of the ingredients which have been eaten because it should last until New Year’s Eve. It is a dish born from ancient rural traditions when housewives stored at home vegetables and anchovies that compose it, to offer them in the most important dinner of the year.
The typical first dish of the Region are ‘spaghetti with clams’ that can be in white or with the addition of fresh tomatoes. Another usual first dish in the Amalfi Coast on Christmas Eve are ‘tagliolini with lemons and shrimps’, in which the lemon sauce is whipped with butter and cooking water. Last alternative as a first dish in the Amalfi Coast are ‘scialiatielli (fresh and homemade pasta) with fresh prawns and tomatoes’.
As second dish in the Amalfi Coast and especially in Cetara, anchovies are protagonists. They can be eaten floured and fried or stuffed with mozzarella cheese before to be fried in boiling oil. Valid alternatives as second dishes are either baccalà alla napoletana with tomatoes and black olives or fresh baked fish.
And to complete your dinner, room to dried fruit and to typical desserts: ‘roccocò’ prepared with almonds, flour and honey to dip in wine, ‘mostaccioli’ made with almonds, flour and honey and covered with chocolate glaze and last but not least ‘Struffoli’, small traditional fritters, submerged in honey and decorated with colorful comfits.
So, let the party started! Good Christmas Eve and happy holidays to you all!