Saturday, 21 December 2013

Shopping for Christmas food

Shopping for Christmas food can be a lot of fun, finding delicacies, may it be cheeses, paté of duck or goose liver, nuts, sweets of all kinds, vintage wines and bubblies or maybe it will be a fig compote
or a jam of rhubarb and ginger or maybe sugared lemons or glacé fruits, what about nougat or chestnut spread or Stöllen.

Well in Italy our small grocery stores was packed at Christmas time with all manner of chocolates and sweet cakes with fruits or liquor. Not to mention meats and cheeses prepared for the Holiday period.

It was such fun to discover all kinds of specialty food items. In Ottawa fortunately there is a significant Italian community and of course they follow the traditions of their old homeland. So finding specialties is easy enough. They may also have something special from the South Tyrol
which we associate with Austria but part of that region reverted to Italy in 1918 and the Friuli and Alto Adige have many food items we would think of as Austrian. In fact in that part of Italy people often have German names and still speak German.

So I found on Preston Street here in Ottawa a variety of things Italian in the various shops owned by members of the Italian community. One in particular is Nicastro on Preston near the Queensway underpass and there is also Luciano on Preston or Simply Biscotti, all of whom have an array of wonderful foods.
What I also like is that they will sell at lunch time the typical Italian sandwich or pannini like the ones I could buy in Rome. When I need my Italian fix I go to Preston Street and love to speak in Italian with the owners.

 Stacks of Christmas Panetonni at Conan Grocery store in Rome

Street vendors in our old neighbourhood of Viale Regina Margherita



  1. I have heard of panetoni, but have never had any
    I am going to allow myself a little bit of christmas something, I haven't figured out what. I asked my secret santa for 'imperial rid-bits' like you describe here.

  2. Panetoni is quite good but must be fresh, meaning moist not dry. Maybe your Italian community grocer if you have one can supply you.

  3. Oh, the panettone in that picture! There must have been some telly cheffery afoot advocating panettone bread-and-butter pudding, sensational, because even in my ma's home town they were down to a handful. But I bought them, and she's now addicted. One thing that shouldn't have surprised us when we Christmassed in Eritrea, it still showing signs of its Italian colonial past, was the ubiquity of panettones boxed in every shop. Well savoured with the Eritrean coffeee ceremony. Happy Christmas to you both, anyway.

  4. Until living in Italy I did not know that there was such a variety of them.