With Italian specialities readily available in the shops there is no reason why you can’t recreate a traditional Bergamo Christmas in your own home.
Panettone, Pan d’Oro and Panforte are great alternatives to Christmas pudding and Prosecco is, in my opinion, better than Champagne.
|Prosecco, cake and a novel set in Italy|
While you may not be able to find authentic Bergamo sausages or meats for your antipasti or not want to go to the trouble of making your own casoncelli alla bergamasca for your primo piatto, you can find good quality prosciutto and salami and stuffed pasta in most shops.
Christmas is very much a family feast in Bergamo, just as in the rest of Italy .
After la Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve), when traditionally a fish meal is consumed, Natale (Christmas Day) is a time for feasting.
While the children open their presents, the adults savour a glass of Prosecco as they prepare the festive table.
Friends and relatives who drop in with presents or to exchange good wishes will be offered nuts, biscuits and torrone (nougat from Cremona.)
Antipasti dishes of prosciutto and bresaola are served with preserved mushrooms, olives or pickled vegetables.
Stuffed pasta is usually served as a first course, either in the shape of ravioli or tortellini, which are said to have been offered as Christmas gifts to priests and monks during the 12th century.
For the main course, turkey or capon is likely to be served, with potatoes and vegetables as side dishes.
The traditional end to the meal is almost always Panettone, served warm accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine.
Panettone is said to have been concoted by a Milanese baker, Antonio (Toni), to impress his girlfriend at Christmas time in the 15th century. The result was so successful that ‘Pane de Toni’ has become a regular feature of the Christmas season all over Italy and now abroad.
The feasting and family parties continue on 26 December, the festa di Santo Stefano (Boxing Day).
To transport you back to Bergamo over the festive season, why not read Death in the High City, a crime novel in which much of the action takes place in Bergamo’s Città Alta.
Death in the High City by Val Culley is available from Amazon.com