Christmas in Tuscany

London Mums’ travel blogger from Italy, Rita Kobrak, has sent us lovely tips on how to spend Christmas in Tuscany.  

Take advantage of the school holidays to go on a trip to Tuscany and let a local Tuscan chef prepare a delicious Tuscan Christmas lunch feast for you and your family to remember. No shopping, no cooking and no washing up! The fantastic food, the welcoming attitude and inclusion of children makes Tuscany so special for families. There are less tourists at Christmas time and more Italians walking around the streets and squares. There are plenty of Christmas markets, Arezzo being a good one to visit.

Picturesque image of snowy Florence (Firenze sotto la neve)

The official holiday season kicks off with the feast of the “Immacolata” (Immaculate Conception) on December 8th, which is a public holiday in Italy. Many towns are only decorated after that day and finish with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th when an ugly old lady called ‘Befana’ leaves presents for the good children and lumps of coal for the naughty ones. My Mum was from Sicily where it was even worse: the naughty kids received a stick in their stocking! The Befana is awaited by Italian kids almost more than Father Christmas and marks the end of the holiday season.

La Befana

 

A Tuscan Christmas lunch  feast

Christmas lunch normally starts off with chicken liver or tomato crostini.

The meal continues with the “primo” (first course) which is a pasta dish such as homemade ravioli stuffed with either meat or ricotta and spinach  or “crespelle alla Fiorentina”, which are pancakes stuffed with ricotta and spinach.

Crespelle alla Fiorentina

They are made like normal pancakes, then they are stuffed with ricotta and spinach and coated with bechamel sauce (Besciamella), tomato sauce, grated Parmesan cheese and baked in the oven .

The main course is normally roast pork flavoured with herbs such as rosemary, sage and garlic and white wine poured over it in the oven to keep it moist. It is served with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Dessert is the traditional Panettone, Panforte  or Ricciarelli biscuits, the famous almond flavoured biscuits which originate in the Siena area. And, of course, some liqueur  or sweet dessert wine (Vin Santo) to aid digestion! The Cantucci biscuits are supposed to be dipped in the sweet wine.

There is also a big family New year’s eve dinner (Cenone) which is normally fish based and in most parts of Italy a plate of lentils is eaten at midnight to bring luck in financial matters. 

 

Where to stay 

A family friendly villa is an ideal base to stay in Tuscany.

At Villa Radicata, close to the medieval village of  Caprese Michelangelo, we will prepare your Christmas lunch or any other meals you like so you can really relax and enjoy your holiday rather than just doing the same household chores that you do at home. We also offer Wine Tasting experiences, cooking lessons or pasta making lessons.

The villa (with pool in the spring and summer) sleeps 10-12 and is set on three levels with a large garden and outdoor eating area Plenty of games and toys for children , plus mountain bikes. Villa Radicata is available for rental throughout the year and London Mums readers will receive 10% discount.

www.holiday-villa-in-tuscany.com

Contact Rita Kobrak 07983821282  (whatsapp) or  00393495018679  [email protected]

We also run mum and child yoga/cooking and fitness weeks.

Closest airport is Perugia or Florence. Closest large town is Arezzo.

 

Recipe for Chicken liver crostini and Tomato crostini – A simple and delicious starter 

I was never a fan of chicken livers until I tasted these one year at Christmas in Tuscany. Here I am sharing the easy-to-make recipe. 

Ingredients                                           

Well-cleaned chicken livers

1 onion 

tbsp capers 

4 anchovies 

vin santo (sweet Tuscan desert wine )

olive oil 

chicken broth

crusty bread

 

Fry the chopped onion in the oil, add the chicken livers and cook for 10 minutes. Don’t overcook as they will become chewy. Add the capers and anchovies, a few tablespoons of broth and a tbsp of Vin Santo. add salt and pepper and cook for further five minutes . In the meantime cut up some slices of baguette and place in oven so slightly toasted. Spread the toasted bread on a plate and coarsely cut up the chicken livers and place on the top . Serve warm .

 

For the Tomato Crostini , cut up some ripe cherry tomatoes, mix  with garlic, salt , pepper and good olive oil. leave to marinate for an hour. Rub a garlic clove on toasted baguette slices . Top the toasted bread with the tomato mixture adding some basil. 

 

Related features

https://londonmumsmagazine.com/mums-tips/travel-with-kids/my-week-at-villa-radicata-in-tuscany/ 

 

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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