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.
A few days before the event, I also made some gingerbread men to use as signposts.
See what lovely little Santa’s elves we have?
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”)!
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:
- Parmigiano Reggiano chunks
- Prosciutto di Parma rolled on breadsticks
- Warm baked prunes wrapped in crunchy bacon and sage
- Smoked salmon, mascarpone and chives mini tramezzini (sandwiches)
- Potato frittata squares
- Artichoke and ricotta mezzelune (stuffed pasta) on a Parmigiano Reggiano fondue
- Cocoa gnocchi with mascarpone and walnut sauce
- Espresso, mixed nuts, mandarins and home-made chocolate covered honey torrone (mixed nut nougat)
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).
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.
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
and Cannoli Siciliani, you can already see them by clicking on the links.
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.
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.
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.
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
Artichoke and ricotta mezzelune (stuffed pasta) on a Parmigiano Reggiano fondue
Cocoa gnocchi with mascarpone and walnut sauce
Beef Fillet Roast stuffed with pureed chestnuts
Orange, Fennel and Black olive salad
Potato, speck and leek bauletti (parcels)
Semifreddo al Torroncino (semifreddo of mixed nut nougat) with hot chocolate sauce
Home-made chocolate covered honey torrone (mixed nut nougat)
So, stay tuned and Merry Christmas in July everyone!!!
If you liked my Christmas in July event, please head over to this month’s Foodbuzz 24×24 and send some buzz my way! 🙂
Jill Colonna 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!
[email protected] 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!
Parsley Sage 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 🙂
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!)
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
Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts says
What a great idea! I can’t imagine having to get used to the reversed seasons! We talked at one point of living in New Zealand, that would just be strange! Christmas in the summer?
bè..allora non mi resta che augurarvi buon natale …..^ __ ^
Bellissimo! We spent one month in Australia between June and July and yes, it was so confusing that it was winter in June. Buon Natale a te e alla tua famiglia 😉
Sandra's Easy Cooking says
First let me say Congrats on 24×24! You had a wonderful idea, and your menu look amazing and so delicious..Your family is adorable…nicely done sweetie!
Tina (Pinay In Texas) says
What a perfect theme for foodbuzz 24×24, Manu! I should say you did everything beautifully! The decorations and all the food are amazing! Congratulations, my dear!!!
Food Lover Kathy 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.
Carina - Kitchen Groovy 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!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Manu, what beautiful photos! Everyone looks like they had a wonderful time too! 😀 Merry Christmas in July!
purabi naha 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!!
Mi Vida en un Dulce says
Nice post…my Christmas is always in Summer…even all recipes and decoration thing reminds us the winter season.
The Harried Cook 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!
Beautiful family and such a fun Christmas in July 🙂 love every bit of this post 🙂 adorable!
Nuts about food says
What a fab meal! Pure il torrone!!! What a lovely family…I was about to complain there were no pics of you
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!
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)))
Joan Nova says
Everything looks wonderful (and familiar having grown up on that kind of food). Your photos are terrific.
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!!
Wow! Great meal for x’mas u have there!
Cookies are cute & all the food looks good too 🙂
Ur daughter is so cute! 😉
Nami | Just One Cookbook 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!
What a great idea for a 24×24! It looks like so much fun, I might just need to throw one next year 🙂
[email protected] in disguise says
Manu congrats on 24*24
You did a great job..I can’t even begin to choose a favorite from this amazing feast
Sent you some buzz love
What a cute idea Manuela!! Everything looks so delicious and your little gingerbread cookies are just too cute! 🙂
What a lovely idea! The pictures look so festive, and when it is as hot as it around here Christmas actually sounds pretty good.
congrats on the 24 x 24 beautiful dishes looks wonderful
Just buzzed, love this. What a fun idea, I bet the kids were so happy. Put a smile on my face.
What a freaking awesome post! … and if you have the chance, please, PLEASE send me some of that nougat and gnocchi! LOL
Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker says
What a beautiful celebration for you and your family! It’s making me want to do the same despite the heat of NYC!
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?!:-)
Kim Bee says
I am speechless. This is remarkable. Well done!
Jill @ Dulce Dough says
What a great idea! You did such a great job and I loved seeing pictures of your beautiful family.
[email protected] Bake Your Day says
What a great post. It’s so nice to be reminded of the holidays in July! Your table is awesome, the food looks and sounds delicious and your family is beautiful, I hope you enjoyed it!
Hester Casey @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says
Buzzed over at 24 x 24. Manu, what a beautiful family and what a feast for your out-of-season Christmas! I love the gingerbread name tags and the Torrone in particular.
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!
lovely table layout, im sure your lovely children enjoyed the food 🙂
Beth Michelle 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!!
Amy @ Gastronome Tart says
Your children are absolutely beautiful! They probably loved celebrating Christmas when it was cold outside! The food also looked fantastic!