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Typical Italian Christmas Sweets: From Italian Christmas Cookies to Italian Candy

Christmas in Italy is tradition-rich, from the folklore shared between family members to the typical Italian Christmas sweets served throughout December. This holiday has been an important celebration throughout the world for many years. However, Christmas began as a celebration in Italy around 300 AD

Christmas in Italy

The tradition of consuming a large meal on Christmas Eve began with the initial celebration of Christmas in Italy. At the time, Emperor Constantine had recently shifted to Christian beliefs. Thus, he began the tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ. An ancient Roman god, Mithras, was typically celebrated via a feast on December 25 annually. Due to the significance of this date, it was selected to be Christmas. The feasting aspect of the December 25 date solidified the importance of food during Christmas.

The idea of having a Christmas feast continues today, with large meals served on Christmas Eve and Day in Italy. On Christmas Eve, it’s customary to serve a large dinner. On Christmas Day, the celebratory feast is often provided during the early afternoon and is considered a “lunch.”

Why is food important for Christmas in Italy?

The tradition of consuming a large meal on Christmas Eve began with the initial celebration of Christmas in Italy. At the time, Emperor Constantine had recently shifted to Christian beliefs. Thus, he began the tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ. An ancient Roman god, Mithras, was typically celebrated via a feast on December 25 annually. Due to the significance of this date, it was selected to be Christmas. The feasting aspect of the December 25 date solidified the importance of food during Christmas.

The idea of having a Christmas feast continues today, with large meals served on Christmas Eve and Day in Italy. On Christmas Eve, it’s customary to serve a large dinner. On Christmas Day, the celebratory feast is often provided during the early afternoon and is considered a “lunch.”

What food do you eat for Christmas in Italy?

Unlike in America, Italy’s main dishes for a Christmas Eve feast are fish-based. According to Catholic tradition, avoiding meat before a religious holiday is necessary. Thus, Christmas feasts include various fish dishes, which change depending on what is available in the region. Christmas Eve dinner, also known as the “big supper,” includes multiple courses. Some common dishes include spaghetti with clams and fried salted cod. The final course consists of dried fruits, nuts, and a piece or two of traditional Italian desserts, like panettone or struffoli (made with a dough hook).

The following day (Christmas Day), the celebrations continue with even more mouthwatering options, including pork roasts, frittatas, pasta dishes, and more. Again, the final course of this meal is a delicious traditional dessert.

Traditional Italian Christmas Sweets

The below Italian sweets are staples around Christmas Time for people of all ages. These sweets offer a nostalgic experience and a delicious flavor. Celebrate the biggest holiday in Italy via these sweet treats, which can be made at home or purchased from authentic Italian brands.

Italian Christmas Cookies

Various cookies fall under this category, including torcetti, biscotti, and pizzelle cookies. These cookies are typically crafted by the Italian nonnas (grandmothers) with recipes and baking techniques passed down from generation to generation.

As expected, the type of cookies served after Christmas Eve dinner and the Christmas day feast depends on the region. For example, cornmeal spritz cookies originate in the Piedmont region, a northern area in Italy. Italian Christmas cookies are one of the easiest options for gifts for family and friends during this time. You can bake various traditional cookies, pack them in tins, and hand them out as a delicious treat for loved ones.

Panettone

This Christmas sweet treat is one found easily throughout the world – panettone. It’s a sweet bread that is filled with dried and candied fruits and in some cases, lemon zest or orange zest. Panettone is quite dense, providing a deliciously sweet but not too sweet taste.

This sweet Italian bread was initially a staple of Milan. However, it has spread throughout Italy. Now, panettone is a traditional Christmas treat for Italians. This cake is so beloved that Italy has competitions to determine the best panettone.

You can purchase this sweet bread in small, individual sizes or as a large cake that can be shared with friends and family. This is another sweet treat that varies by region, as each area of Italy includes local ingredients.

Loison Panettone

One particular brand of panettone worth trying is Loisin. This authentic Italian panettone features high-quality ingredients which exude a traditional Italian flavor in each bite. Loison only uses ingredients from producers who are highly rated and well-established. Creating panettone at Loison includes a 72-hour prep time, which includes creating the flour mixture, letting the dough rise, cooking, then allowing the finished bread to cool completely.

The interior of each panettone from Loison features a soft, spongy consistency. The dried and candied fruits are sourced locally, providing a fresh taste. These panettones come in various flavors, from cacao to chocolate, salted caramel, and lemon.

Like the above ingredients, there are many ways to use Italian tomato puree. For example, you can include this Italian sauce in lasagna or with various types of pasta, such as fettuccine. You can add tomato paste for a thicker sauce to pair with homemade pasta.

More About Loison

Loison is a company with humble beginnings, initially starting as a bakery specializing in bread in 1938. After a negative impact on sales during WWII, the owner of Loisin chose to include a few sweet recipes as offerings. These sweets led to wedding cakes with multiple tiers and, eventually, offerings of Christmas sweets. Finally, Loisin started providing panettone as an option during Christmas.

Eventually, Loison began selling items overseas and in other areas of Europe. This shift allowed more people access to Loison’s delicious treats. Through the years, Loison has continuously offered high-quality products, eventually receiving the BRC Food Standard certification. This certification notes that Loison’s items are made with top-tier ingredients, feature a delicious flavor, and are created according to the food laws of Italy, Europe, and the EEC.

This continuous effort toward producing tasty, high-quality pastries and products has led Loison to win multiple awards and recognition, such as the coveted Made in Italy Award for Excellence.

Italian Sweet Bread (Pandoro)

Pandoro is a sweet bread that many compare to panettone, as it’s made with many of the same ingredients. This sweet bread typically includes honey, egg yolks, butter, and flour. The primary difference between the Italian sweet bread pandoro and panettone is the absence of dried fruit in pandoro.

The name pandoro translates to gold bread, referring to the delightful golden color present on the exterior. This delicious sweet bread also features a particular shape – a star with eight points. Pandoro is served with a delicious dusting of powdered sugar on top. This sweet bread is meant to represent the Italian Alps.

This tasty Christmas sweet bread is originally from Verona. However, it has spread in popularity throughout Italy, like panettone.

 

Italian Candy (Torrone)

It’s not Christmas in Italy without torrone. This Christmas candy is made with nougat and nuts. The consistency and flavor of torrone vary greatly. Depending on where you purchase torrone (or who is creating this dessert), you can expect either a morbido or croccante texture. Morbido torrone is usually soft, fluffy, and chewy, while croccante is crunchy.

Torrone’s flavors also vary greatly from chocolate to an herbal liqueur. Some options come dipped in chocolate. This dessert is traditionally eaten throughout Italy. However, seeing it in Benevento, near Naples, is more common. It is said that torrone has been produced in Benevento since before the Roman times.

Sperlari Candy

The best way to enjoy authentic Italian Christmas sweets is by purchasing items from a supplier which provides real Italian food items. Sperlari Candy is an excellent example of an authentic Italian candy producer. Sperlari Candy has been producing delicious Italian sweets since 1836, including their famous torrone.

This Italian candy maker began as a small shop near the Piazza del Duomo in Cremona. The idea behind this shop was to sell two local products – torrone and mostarda (a fruit condiment for meats). The store’s popularity quickly spread, and it is now a candy producer known worldwide. The original store is still open and frequented by locals.

These marinated vegetables include a variety of produce, from onions to peppers to eggplants, zucchinis, artichokes, and more. Depending on the vegetable, the produce may be grilled first before it is submerged into a marinade.

More About Sperlari Candy

Sperlari Candy has a sweet mission – to provide products that help make consumers’ lives “sweeter and richer” while shifting toward becoming the top Italian sweets provider worldwide. By creating new and innovative sweets, Sperlari Candy can maintain an edge over its competition. This company consistently improves to provide customers with the best experience possible.

MaveatStaff
MaveatStaff
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