Christmas Dinner in Emilia Romagna, Italy

Italians do Christmas feasting arguably better than anyone else. Whole days are dedicated to multi-course banquets, with dozens of family members working together to create traditional dishes to celebrate this most important holiday in Italy. The dishes are often decided by the availability of local bounties of a particular region. Many of the most intricate and time-consuming dishes that each region is known for are prepared for especially for Christmas. Emilia-Romagna is considered one of the richest regions in the world for producing gastronomic products, so much so that it has earned the nickname of “Food Valley”. The fame of Emilia-Romagna is due to two gastronomic pearls: Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano, which have become famous Internationally. Here are other items produced in the region:

  • Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • Prosciutto Ham from Parma
  • Mortadella of Bologna
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Parma and Reggio
  • Grana Padano cheese from Piacenza
  • Tortellini of Bologna
  • Tagliatelle egg pasta of Bologna
  • Zuppa Inglese of Emilia Romagna
  • Lambrusco sparkling wines from Emilia Romagna

The Christmas dinner menu below showcases many of the foods that this food-crazy region is so famous for, as well as a few banquet dishes from Bologna’s renaissance past.

Italian Christmas Banquette in Emilia Romagna

Antipasto

  • Salumi (Mortadella, Prosciutto de Parma, Coppa and Pacetta Piacentina)  
  • Fromaggio (Gran Padano, Fossa, Parmigiano Reggiano flakes with drops of Balsamic Modena)
  • Verdura (Marinated Mushrooms and Red Peppers in Olive Oil, Giardiniera – pickled vegetables)
  • Bagna Cauda w/ Crudo (warm anchovy dip with crudites)
  • Salad of Tart Greens with Prosciutto and Warm Balsamic Dressing
  • Pane Focaccia (flatbread or “pizza bianca”)

Regional Wines: Dry Lambrusco, Sauvignon Blanc di Parma, or a light Barolo  

Primi

  • Tortellini en Brodo (meat-filled pasta in broth)

Regional Wines: Piedmonts’ dry red Freisa d’Asti or “La Monella,” or fruity white Arneis 

Secondi

  • Cappone Natalizio (Christmas Capon)
  • Pasticcio di Tortellini con Crema di Cannella (renaissance tortellini pie with ragu and custard)
  • Tagliatelle con Arance e Mandorle (Tagliatelle pasta with caramelized orange and almonds)
  • Fagiolini alla Bolognese (green beans with mortadella)
  • Panzanella (bread salad)

Regional Wines: Aged red Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone or Classico   

Dolce

  • Torta Barozzi (rich chocolate cake)
  • Zuppa Inglese (Italian trifle)
  • Café Expresso

Regional Wines: Nocino (walnut liquor) or Black muscat-based Elysium dessert wine

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