An Italian Christmas


Baubles LRAs I have been based in Italy for the past few months I could well be initiating a new tradition of having Christmas, ‘Natale’, here in Serralunga d’Alba, Piedmont, and I’m banking on the following being served for lunch:

Lentils with cotechino (a pork salami) as an antipasti/starter; the dish is thought to bring good luck and it will probably be accompanied by a fresh smooth Verduno Pelaverga from Fratelli Alessandria.

The primi piatti/pasta dish will be agnolotti, small hand-pinched ravioli filled with meat, smothered with Ligurian olive oil and seasoned with salvia (green sage) and paired with Davide Rosso’s Barbera d’Alba, grown just down the road on minerally white solid; a lush sapid thing.

For the main/secondo I trust it’ll be roast conoglio (rabbit), more common round these parts than chicken, and tastier too, especially alongside Nebbiolo. Being Natale it’ll have to be a Barbaresco or Barolo – rabbit’s got a subtle gamey flavour so I hope it’s refined, traditional Barbaresco from Rivella Serafino; a 1999 if I play my cards right.

As for the finale it can only be panettone, the peerless sultana cake-like bread whose candied fruits go oh so well with Moscato d’Asti, ideally the 2008 Vigna Senza Nome (translated Vineyard without a Name) from Braida and which will last for days (providing you’ve invested in a turkey-sized panettone!)

And finally perhaps a drop or two of Tocasana Nero, a 20% herbal, liquorice liqueur, or Barolo Chinato from Capellanno failing that…

Buon appitito!