Traditional recipes

Christmas lunch in Umbria

Make yourself comfortable and celebrate Christmas at the dinner table  as Umbrian rural tradition dictates: many tasty dishes for the whole family 

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A full table, with succulent meat-based dishes and wonderful desserts to enjoy: it's undoubtedly an experience not to be missed if you're in Umbria over the Christmas period.

Beginning with simple ingredients, the local traditional cuisine will impress even the most demanding palate. These uncomplicated but tasty dishes were originally created by Umbrian peasants, who managed to compensate for the lack of opulence with imagination and wit.

Every part of Umbria celebrates Christmas with traditional local dishes, but the basis of the menu is the same for everyone. Take a seat at the table and begin with the starters, enjoying the tasty crostini di fegatini (crostini with liver paté): a white meat paté on a slice of toasted bread (the bread must be unsalted), which is considered one of the cornerstones of Umbrian traditional cuisine.

Continuing onto first courses, to discover the real stars of the table:  cappelletti in brodo di cappone (handmade cappelletti in capon broth). There is no family in Umbria, that doesn't celebrate the 25th December around a plate of this fresh pasta, preferably home-made, and cooked in flavoursome capon broth. The broth, which is already cooked for the first course, is eaten as a second course, accompanied by torta al testo (a type of bread) as well as something which the Umbrians eat at every festive occasion: the grigliata di maiale e di agnello (mixed grill of pork and lamb).

The side dishes on the Umbrian table on Christmas Day celebrate a vegetable which is often overlooked: Cardi (Cardoons). They may be simply boiled or cooked in delicious oven-baked "parmigiana", a dish which is enjoyed by young and old alike, made with cardoons, milk, parmesan and mozzarella.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a feast of sweets and desserts. In Umbria the Christmas desserts vary, depending on the area: you can try Torciglione, an almond paste-based sweet, in the Trasimeno area. Instead, in Terni, you'll find Panpepato, made of dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg and grape must. People from Perugia celebrate the festivities with a bite of Pinoccata (or pinocchiata) which, as the name suggests, is made of pine nuts and is flavoured with chocolate or vanilla.

All you need to do now is take a seat at the table and try the delicious delicacies, the result of time old cooking traditions!