Dreaming Of Christmas
Celebrate Christmas in Naples like a vero napoletano  
with old-world traditions such as:  nibbling on dolci Natalizi,
creating a presepe, eating baccalà e capitone on Christmas eve, 
playing tomobola and spending time with la famiglia! 
Standing in the shadow of Vesuvious, Naples is a city with vibrant contradictions!  And Christmas time 
is no different.  The Neapolitans talk with their hands, they're proud of their cuisine, superstitions 
and traditions, including Pulcinella who is present everywhere.  It is because of Vesuvius boiling 
under their feet?  
     Often called Parthenope, the city has a rich and colorful past.  Perhaps it's the influence of  the 
many rulers and invaders who came and left their mark.  There were the Greeks, Arabs,  French, 
Spanish & Bourbons, Lombards and Normans.  At one time, it was even called the  Kingdom 
of Two Sicilies. 
     Start your morning with a visit to the Mercato Pignasecca, the famous fish and produce market  that's located on Piazza Pignasecca.  They specialize in fish, but wander around the square for  the best street food ever ~  pizza  fritter taralli , and  libretto , a small Margherita pizza folded over and eaten with your hands.  It's an outdoor market but feels like a theatre as vendors shout out their catch of the day, while Neapolitans elbow for the best biggest fish.  It's open from 8am to 1pm daily.
     Naples is home to the first opera house in Europe, the Real Teatro di San Carlo and the first pizza, la pizza Margherita.  But most of all, it's a city that keeps its Christmas tradition alive and continues making presepi, mangers, that are known around the world.  Head to Via San Gregorio Armeno, a street filled with shops that  sell presepi.  At this time of year, it's teeming with visitors from all over the world.
     After you've soaked up the sights on Via San Gregorio, make your way to the Piazza dei Martiri and slip into Gran Caffè La Caffettiera for an aperitivo. This famous locale is the place where Neapolitans sip Campri overlooking the Piazza dei Martiri. When you've worked up an appetite, head over to Piazza Francese for a traditional bite at Osteria degli Angioni.
Bella Napoli is, after all, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet!
     Join us in Italy and celebrate the Christmas season starting December 8 with the Immaculate Conception; then December 13 for Santa Lucia, up to December 24 for La Vigilia and the 25th for Christmas. Then, put on your red undies just like all Italians do (for good luck they say) and stew up your lentils (for more good luck) for New Years. The holiday culminates on January 6 for the Epiphany when the good befana brings gifts and sweets for all!
Buon Natale!
~From all of us at Cooking Vacations!

Table Talk

 Celebrate Christmas In Naples

 Christmas in Naples is an unforgettable experience of traditions.  Il Pranzo di Natale, Christmas lunch, is a glorious feast celebrated by all Neapolitans.  The first course begins with minestra maritata, chicken soup slow cooked with winter vegetables.   Pasta follows with every mamma making maccheroni al ragù and cannelloni . The second main dish is chicken, which is used to prepare the soup, followed by broccoli di Natale - a popular leafy broccoli found in Campania.  Then there are desserts!  Neapolitans love their ancient biscotti, crostata, struffoli and roccocò, divino amore and panettone to name a few.
A must-see in Naples during Christmastime are the presepi, decorated nativity scenes that adorn every Italian family's home starting December 8th.  This old-world tradition dates back to the 13th century when St. Francis of Assisi built a creche to celebrate mass. Strolling through Bella Napoli on Via San Gregorio Armeno, known as Christmas Alley, visitors will be surrounded by these beautifully handcrafted nativity scenes. These creations have elaborate lighting, hand painted backdrops with figurines ~ cobblers, carpenters, bakers, fishermen, seamstresses, saints...~ making cheese, rolling pizza, baking breads and fishing; with running water in fountains and turning carousels. A little touch of Christmas magic that you won't forget! 


What's Cooking
Celebrate Christmas In Italy
Our Kitchens are open and cooking for Christmas & New Year

I talian Mamma Cooking Classes In Naples™ 
Nonna's Cucina In The Roman Countryside   
Chef Stella's Countryside Rome ~ 6 Day
Cooking With Mamma Lucia in Sorrento
Sorrento Cooking Classes & Market Tour~5 Day
Signor Fabrizio   The Tuscan Estate
Happy Cookers  At Cooking Vacations
We love welcoming guests to our kitchen  
and sharing our cooking traditions and culture!

Recipes From Our Kitchen


~ Antipasto 
Insalata di Rinforzo
'Reinforcement' Salad
Pair with



~ Primo
Spaghetti e Vongole
Spaghetti with Clams
Pair with



~ Secondo
Baccala Fritto
Fried Salted Cod
Pair with



~ Secondo
Insalata di Baccala
Salted Cod Salad
Pair with



~ Dolce
Christmas Almond Cookies
Pair with


With Love From Italy

Dolce di Natale 
Take a visit or order online from great Neapolitan bakers and coffee shop Scaturchio. This historic locale opened in 1905 and has been delighting the palates of Neapolitans ever since with its renowned babà, sfogliatelle and pastiere. It is said that biting into a Scaturchio pastry is to hear the vibrant chatter and laughter of the city's alleyways and crowded bars! The online shop offers a wide variety of delectable Christmas treats and Neapolitan traditions like struffoli, roccocò, and panettone, perfect for holiday feasts and parties.
Learn more at   http://www.scaturchio.it  
Neapolitan Caffè      
Long, short, or cappuccino, Neapolitans love their coffee. Amoy, a Neapolitan favorite, offers endless on-line shopping options and an emblem of wellbeing. The products are sustainably made with the best ingredients to help mind and soul. From beans, to capsules, Amoy satisfies the palate of any coffee connoisseur with the store's mouth-watering aromas, deep colors, and unique blends. With one sip, Amoy transports the drinker from the kitchen table to the vibrant streets of Naples, where an abundance of sweet smells, chatting voices, and sunshine travels by an outdoor café.
     Pasta & Fashion  
Gragnano is the pasta capital of Italy.  Set in the hills overlooking the Bay of Naples, artisan pasta makers continue to make and cut on bronze tools the 100% grano duro pasta that is loved by all Neapolitans. Pastificio Di Martino, has been making this classic Italian pasta for years. To celebrate the beauty and magnificent creations of Italy, Dolce and Gabana have developed exquisite packaging, aprons, and gift boxes with intricate designs representing the nation for Pastificio Di Martino. Two of Italy's greatest achievements, pasta and fashion, collide for a remarkable gift sure to delight all this Christmas. 

FICO ~ Farm To Fork 
FICO, (Fabrica Italiana Contadini) which translates to made in Italy by artisans, is a food emporium showcasing the food and wine of Italy.  Located in Bologna, the 100,000 sqm acre-agri food court is home to artisans throughout Italy producing genuine products from pasta, to pizza, sausage, desserts, wine and cheese; a real farm with animals along with restaurants and shops.  Go to their website, its slogan invites: Italy For The World To See, because it's a must for all foodies. Experience Italian food, wine and la dolce vita at FICO!
Learn more at   www.eatalyworld.it 

Italy On A Plate  
Flavors Of The Season 
By Germaine Stafford
We continue our roundup of what's happening in the culinary world in Italy and give you our chef of the month, book recommendation, and a list of seasonal foods for December.
What's In Season  
Red Beets
Brussels Sprouts
Turnip Greens 
Citrus Fruits
Jerusalem Artichokes
Winter Squash

Dining in Naples
Mimì alla Ferrovia

Some locales manage to encapsulate the spirit of a city, offering authentic local dishes that are neither overly rustic nor too sophisticated, and Mimi Alla Ferrovia is one such place. Opened over 70 years ago just a short walk from Naples' main train station, the restaurant quickly became popular with locals and visitors alike. As the years passed, Neapolitan singers and film stars sat cheek by jowl with couples and families, everyone there to enjoy the warm atmosphere and comfortingly familiar dishes. Today it is just as popular, with folks gathering to enjoy a brief menu of traditional favorites: the house seafood salad, stuffed peppers and perhaps a simple fresh  ricotta di fuscella served with tomato jam to start, followed by spaghetti with clams and tomatoes, pasta with lard, bacon and pecorino, or ravioli with sea bass and lemon served on a bed of baby quid and shrimp. Main dishes bring the catch of the day, which may be sea bream or bass, cod or turbot, but there is usually also braised beef with carrots and onions or a simple entrecote for meat lovers. Finish with the home-baked dessert of the day or a plate of local cheeses, and there's only one last thing that needs to be done to make like a true local - toss back an espresso!

Mimì alla Ferrovia  
Via Alfonso D'Aragona, 19/21, Naples
Tel: +39 081 5538525
Book Corner
Cucina Napoletana: 100 Recipes from Italy's Most Vibrant City
Beautifully presented, this book showcases all of the Neapolitan classics.  From antipasto to fresh pasta, main courses and desserts, every chef and cook can take inspiration from Signor Iengo.  Make your Christmas a Neapolitan one with Cucina Napoletana.
Buy on Amazon 
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USA: 20 Park Plaza, #400, Boston, MA 02116, USA
 T: 617.247.4112 | 1.800.916.1152
Italy: +39.339.604.29.33
Lauren is always cooking & writing from Positano, Italy,
while welcoming cooking guests from around the world.

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