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LAKE GARDA Newsletter - An inspiring Italian Christmas meal
December 03, 2009
Christmas is fast-approaching, and you're probably busy getting ready for the exciting festive season. It seems like there are always loads of things to do, like get your presents bought and wrapped and the Christmas tree up and decorated. And, of course, probably the most important thing you need to do is plan your menu. If you're not going to Lake Garda this month, then what about bringing some wonderful Lake Garda dishes to your table?
This month, I thought I'd do something a little bit different. After a lot of research, I've come up with an Italian Christmas Eve menu for you to try. You're probably asking, "Why Christmas Eve?" Well, in some areas of Italy, Christmas Eve dinner is the most important meal of the holiday season: the entire evening is spent at the table and, after the panettone (which is a traditional cake), presents are opened and then everyone bundles up to head out for Christmas mass.
This 4-course dinner is in keeping with the Italian tradition of not eating meat, mangiare al magro, the night before Christmas. I have also sourced these recipes as much as possible from the Lake Garda area. I hope you'll try them; you'll be immediately transported to Lake Garda with these wonderful dishes!
Appetizer: Venetian-style Scallops
This dish is from the Veneto Region. Most of the towns along the eastern shores of Garda are in Veneto. This is a hot fish hors d'oeuvre. In Venice, scallops are served both as appetizers and as a tasty second course.
Difficulty level: Easy; 20 minutes prep + 10 minutes cooking; Serves 4
Carefully brush the shells when still shut. Wash repeatedly, then open to prepare for the cooking, remove the yellow part and the slimy part.
Heat the oil in a pan, add finely chopped garlic and the mussels. On high heat, add parsley and dill. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.
Re-arrange each shell by placing two mussels inside and pouring a little of the cooking liquid over each one.
First Course: Pumpkin Ravioli
A traditional vegetarian dish from the Emilia-Romagna Region, just south of Lake Garda.
Difficulty level: Medium; 1 hour prep + 30 minutes cooking; Serves 4
For the filling:
For the fresh egg pasta:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Second Course: Codfish Vicenza-style
A delicious fish recipe from Veneto - the same Region as our appetizer!
Difficulty level: medium. 30 minutes preparation + 3 hours cooking. Serves 4
1 lb dried cods
Soak the codfish for 24 hours.
Remove the spinal bone and the other fish bones. In a casserole with oil, brown the onion, add a little salt.
Add crushed anchovies and chopped parsley.
Cut the codfish into chunks, flour the chunks then sprinkle grated cheese on them.
Add a little milk to the casserole, keep on low heat, add codfish and cook. Add more milk if necessary, season with a little salt and pepper and cook until ready.
This is from the Lombardia Region, which is where the western shores of Lake Garda lie. Panettone is a type of sweet bread studded with currants and raisins. It is Italy’s most famous Christmas sweet.
Difficulty level: medium. Ready In: 2 Hrs 40 Min. Makes 1 loaf that can serve about 10
0.25 oz package active dry yeast
In a medium bowl, combine yeast, water and sugar. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, or until foamy. Add eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well.
In most towns around the Lake, you'll find many things going on throughout the year, including art exhibitions, festivals, wine and food tastings, theatre events and sports events.
If you'd like to know about any events in particular for this month, then please contact us, as we only cover the main events each month.
Christmas in Riva del Garda from 5.12. – 03.01.2010
Riva offers families a special Christmas with the Casa di Babbo Natale – the house of Santa Claus. Castle Rocca changes into a fairyland, where fairies open their Santa Claus house and welcome both children and adults.
The Christmas market in Arco from 20.11. – 23.12.2009
Against the scenery of historic palaces, regional delicacies, traditional arts and crafts and other characteristic products are on offer at this Hapsburg market. Entertainment for adults and children, fireworks and a Christmas market for children in the enchanted lanes bring out the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas in Tenno from 05.12. – 06.01.2010
In the village, exhibitions of Christmas mangers and traditional craftsmanship dominate the displays. There are also gospel concerts, theatre performances and an entertainment programme for children which contribute to provide a festive atmosphere.
Natale tra gli Olivi 2009 – Large Christmas market in Garda from 20. 11. to 06. 01. 2010
Garda is celebrating Christmas between olive trees. A pretty and varied Christmas market enchants holiday makers and natives alike. Traditional craftsmanship, culinary and musical contributions from different Italian regions and a large Christmas manger provide a festive atmosphere.
There are, of course, all the usual markets that are definitely worth going to. To find out more about when and where they are,
We really want to hear about your Lake Garda experiences and stories, even if it's just a sentence or two. Get your story in a future newsletter and share your experiences with others! Whether you want to share your favourite hotel, town, family outing, or sport you've experienced at Lake Garda, we'd love to hear all about it.
We really hope that you'll try out this Christmas Eve menu. Even if you just try one recipe, it's worth doing. The delightful tastes will transport you to Lake Garda and make you wish you were there!
See you next month!
Marcus and Sylvia
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