Saturday, 19 December 2009

Panetone, Xmas tree, decorations and the Weather

I find that the variety of Panetone in Italy is almost endless compared to back home with its standard dry and commercial Panetone. I look in Enotecas (wine merchant stores) for good chocolate 70% cocoa + and for other delicacies including original panetoni, I found one made with figs and beautifully wrapped. It is basically a big soft bread but it is so good with coffee.

The Christmas tree is up, it takes up to 8 days to make our Xmas tree, this is faster than in the past when it took 2 weeks to set it up. The tree is only 7 feet tall or 2.14 meters and all the lights are already in place, this is why it is faster now to set-up. What still takes time is the polishing of the 30 (1978 to 2008) Nieman Marcus sterling silver balls and the Towle flower ornaments.
We were concerned that the puppies might want to jump on the tree, but so far they have totally ignored it.

The weather is changing and so is the climate, now in Rome we often have in winter -3 C at night and around 5C in the day time with a lot of cold humidity. It use to rain in winter in years past and the temperature was never under 6 C at night and 11C in the day time. The buildings are not properly heated and there is no insulation, floors of marble and walls of concrete make for a cold house. So we dress up and use one room. The kitchen is really cold if the oven is not turned on, there is no heat in that room of the house. Also by law we can only heat from 6am to 10am and from 6pm to 11pm. The rest of the time there is no heat, the building concierge turns the furnace off. We can also only have heat in buildings as of 15 November until 15 April. It is usually cold as of 30 Oct and at least until 1 May. Many people do not have clothes dryers so they use the radiators to dry their clothes or hang them on the balcony and it usually takes about 5 days to dry. You got to be resourceful but with the changing climate it makes things harder.

So we are having 10 people for Xmas Eve dinner, Will is responsible for the main course, he wants to do a Cipaille, which is a layered meat pie, of chicken, beef and pork, very old Canada. While I will do the starters or Antipasto, I am serving a carpaccio of smoked fish, tuna, salmon and sword fish, very thinly sliced with a bit of green and some nice cucumbers and those little sour pickles. Our friend Lionel is doing two desserts a bûche de Noël with a cream of chestnuts filling and a Vacharin. Got all the white and red wine stocked up and also the Proseco and Champagne.

What is left to do now is a bit of gift shopping but since I am on vacation now I can do that in the coming days.

I do hope that you will all have a wonderful holiday Season with friends and family.

1 comment:

  1. The tree is beautiful,and Christmas supper sounds wonderful!
    Hopefully,the warmth of being surrounded by dear friends will take some of the seasonal chill off the homestead.
    Merry Christmas my friend!