Christmas in July 2011

Since I moved to Australia from Italy 5 years ago I haven’t gotten used to the “reversed” seasons yet.  For someone who has spent the majority of her life in the Northern hemisphere where it is summer in July and winter in December, I have to live with the seasons reversed and believe me, it can be hard.  The hardest time of the year is Christmas… for me it is always been a “winter Christmas”, often a “white one” and my traditional Christmas meal has always been made with winter ingredients.  Yet, living in Australia, you have Christmas in summer.  Don’t get me wrong, I love barbecues, the sun and the beach but I just can’t get into a “Christmas mood”… and I am not the only one.  This is why, many people around here celebrate what is known as “Christmas in July”, which is basically a winter Christmas celebrated during our coldest month of the year.

So, when I got Foodbuzz’s email for this month’s 24X24, I thought it would be nice to hold a 24X24 event about my family’s Christmas in July celebration.  This was my first time ever submitting a 24X24 proposal, so I was double excited when I got Foodbuzz’s acceptance email!

The idea behind this event, which was held at our house on Saturday 30th July, was to “pretend it was Christmas”.  So my husband and daughters helped out decorating the house… we even got a little Christmas tree out of the garage and decorated it for the occasion.  We set the table with our red Christmas table cloth and lit a red candle in the centrepiece we use at Christmas.

Christmas in July 2011

A few days before the event, I also made some gingerbread men to use as signposts.

Christmas in July 2011

See what lovely little Santa’s elves we have?

Christmas in July 2011

The girls had a blast… who doesn’t like Christmas?  They got so excited the moment I told them about the event!  We also played Christmas music all day!  Victoria loves the Italian version of “Holy Night” (“Tu scendi dalle stelle”) and of “Jingle Bells” (“Din Don Dan”)!

Christmas in July 2011

The menu I submitted to Foodbuzz’s 24X24 is for a traditional Italian Christmas meal with a few modern twists.  It was divided into Antipasti (appetizers), Primi (pasta main dishes), Secondo (a meat main dish), Contorni (sides), Dolci (desserts) and Dopo pasto (after meal).  Here is the detailed menu of what I prepared:


Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011


Christmas in July 2011 - Primi



Christmas in July 2011


Christmas in July 2011

Dopo Pasto

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011

I had to make most of the dishes from scratch (from the artichoke and ricotta mezzelune to the cocoa gnocchi, cannoli shells and even the nougat) as you cannot find them ready made where we live (and some are only sold at Christmas time).

Christmas in July 2011

Let me say that a traditional Italian Christmas lunch is long and very rich.  We take almost the whole day to eat it and it is our only meal of the day.  In this specific case, I did not make huge quantities as we wanted to enjoy a bit of everything without getting stuffed.

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011

Anyhow, I will post the recipes with the usual quantities for 4 people.  As I have quite a few recipes to post and I want to write about them the way I always do (so with detailed instructions and step by step pictures), I will post the new recipes over the next few days… so stay tuned!  As for the recipes of the Potato Frittata

Christmas in July 2011

and Cannoli Siciliani, you can already see them by clicking on the links.

Christmas in July 2011

I will not post about the Parmigiano Reggiano chunks as it is really not a recipe, but just pieces of Parmigiano Reggiano cut out from a bigger form.

Christmas in July 2011

Nor will I post about Prosciutto di Parma rolled on breadsticks, as they are simply very thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma rolled on grissini.

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011 - Prosciutto rolled on grissini

Similarly, I will not write a separate post about Smoked salmon, mascarpone and chives mini tramezzini, as they are small layered sandwiches made with smoked salmon and mascarpone mixed with chives.

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July 2011 - Slamon, mascarpone and chives sandwiches

Christmas in July 2011 - Slamon, mascarpone and chives sandwiches

I will write a dedicated post for each of the remaining recipes and post them over the next week or so.  All you have to do is come back here to check out:

Warm baked prunes wrapped in crunchy bacon and sage

Christmas in July 2011 - Warm baked prunes wrapped in bacon and sage

Artichoke and ricotta mezzelune (stuffed pasta) on a Parmigiano Reggiano fondue

Christmas in July 2011 - Artichoke and ricotta mezzelune on a Parmigiano Reggiano fondue

Cocoa gnocchi with mascarpone and walnut sauce

Christmas in July 2011 - Cocoa Gnocchi

Beef Fillet Roast stuffed with pureed chestnuts

Christmas in July 2011 - Roast Fillet

Orange, Fennel and Black olive salad

Christmas in July 2011 - Orange & fennel salad

Potato, speck and leek bauletti (parcels)

Christmas in July 2011 - Potato & Speck parcels

Semifreddo al Torroncino (semifreddo of mixed nut nougat) with hot chocolate sauce

Christmas in July 2011 - Semifreddo al torroncino

Home-made chocolate covered honey torrone (mixed nut nougat)

Christmas in July 2011 - Chocolate covered torroncini

Gingerbread Men Signposts

Christmas in July 2011 - Gingerbread Men

So, stay tuned and Merry Christmas in July everyone!!!

Christmas in July 2011

If you liked my Christmas in July event, please head over to this month’s Foodbuzz 24×24 and send some buzz my way! :-)


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  1. says

    Oh Manu, this is so lovely. What a novel idea and great fun. You all look so happy and the children definitely are lucky! Wonderful meal and love how you just spend all day eating that. Great feast for the eyes, as ever!

  2. says

    Awesome Manuela-I could not have thought of a better theme, who doesn’t love Christmastime!
    Looks like so much fun. You have some delicious plates shown here, no doubt everyone enjoyed this. Buzz Buzz!

  3. says

    I WANT THIS CHRISTMAS! I’ve bookmarked this and I’ve already decided I’m doing your entire menu this year. We always have to stay in Cayman for the holiday cause we’re both reporters and have to work. The island is dead and lonely so Christmas can actually be a little depressing…and of course, there’s no ‘white Christmas.’ I think this menu is just think thing to make things feel festive :) Thanks for sharing, can’t wait for the recipes! Buzzed :)

  4. says

    MANU!!!! Many things to say, first, it´s such a great fun to have a whole Xmas party even if it´s not that time of the year! love Xmas a lot! Then, I understand your feelings about the change of seasons when you moved. It happened to me while in the States but the other way around. I grew up on summer Xmas so I couldn´t get used to the freezing white xmas I had there! Then, the food is amazing!! WOW!! I´m so going to your house for Xmas! LOL! and the decoration and presentation of the plates rocked!! And even if I didn´t like the food, I´d still be there only for the Parmigiano Reggiano chunks (my fave thing ever! no wonder why my nonna used to say ´here comes the mouse´when I went to her house and ate all of the parmigiano reggiano!)

    • says

      Hahahaha Thanks Nat… I have 3 mice in the family (my little ones and… ME)… I am a cheesaholic… I love all kind of cheese and Parmigiano is on the top of the list, always! <3

  5. says

    How strange a Christmas during summer would feel is always the first thing I think about when someone from the Southern Hemisphere reminds me that their winter is our summer. Looks like I’m not alone. What a great idea! And, who wouldn’t want two Christmases each year. Everything looks delicious, but those cannoli look outstanding.

  6. says

    Manu – this is absolutely incredible! This looks like it was quite the adventure – and no easy task! But, I am sure it was completely worth it! I always wondered about those “down south” and how they handle those reversed seasons!! I am with you, I need a White Christmas! Also – I am so impressed with your blog post – I am sure that itself took quite a bit of time! You are amazing!

  7. says

    Manuela, this “summer” Christmas feast is something I can’t resist! Your family must be gorging on authentic Italian dishes (and the most tempting ones!) very often! Your husband has Indian looks… Your kids are so cute! Say hi to them!!
    Award time dear! Come to my recent blog post and collect the same. Congrats and happy blogging!!

  8. says

    Manu, you are just amazing! What a spread!!! I love the idea of feasting through the day… with food like that, I would be in heaven! I can imagine how thrilled your girls must have been with Christmas in July :) Can’t wait to see your recipes soon! Especially that nougat! Fabulous post!

  9. says

    This is a great 24×24! I definitely would have a hard time not having a wintry christmas in december, but your xmas in july feast looks so delicious and it seems like a lot of fun!

  10. says

    Such a BEAUTIFUL post Manu. I am drooling looking at all those pictures and now I want to spend a Christmas with you! Lovely photos and for me the best entry for 24X24 :)
    Merry Christmas in July ! (((HUGS)))

  11. says

    This is such a great topic for your 24×24! I enjoyed your beautiful post and seeing the delicious feast you prepared. It looks like you and your family had a wonderful time and I look forward to seeing the recipes to come!!

  12. says

    Ho ho ho~ Merry Christmas (in July) to you! This is fantastic, Manu! How fun… I’d celebrate Xmas with you in July so I can have 2 Christmas. 😉 All of the dishes look delicious and I love how you decorated name tag on cookies. Very cute and your girls (and hubby) look so happy! Congrats on 24×24 and buzzed you!

  13. says

    What a lovely idea! The pictures look so festive, and when it is as hot as it around here Christmas actually sounds pretty good.


  14. says

    wow Manu! I don’t know how I missed this post. What a wonderful christmas meal. It made me wish I was in the southern hemisphere now and could celebrate it with you. What a lovely dinner with your beautiful family. Shall I say Merry Christmas?!:-)

  15. Angie @ Bigbearswife says

    ooo I don’t know if I could deal with Chritmas being hot… and no snow! I’d have to do a Christmas in July too!! Love your recipes!

  16. says

    Christmas in July! SO fun! You did such an amazing job. I love everything. The little gingerbread men place cards are adorable and all the food looks so yummy. Great job. Your family is beautiful!!

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