If you are looking for traditional Italian Christmas dinner ideas, or for a great place to eat a Christmas meal in Tuscany - here in Maremma - then I have both for you here.
If you are visiting Tuscany over the Christmas holidays and are looking for a great restaurant in which to experience a traditional Italian Christmas meal that won't break the bank, then I can recommend the Trattoria da Sbrana in Ghirlanda, just a few minutes drive north of the spectacular old medieval city of Massa Marittima in Maremma.
A family-run restaurant that, even though it is situated in a tiny and non picturesque village, is always full of locals from the surrounding hills and is only twenty minutes from Maremma's gorgeous coast. Now what more could you ask for?
Trattoria da Sbrana is one of my favourite local restaurants where we always, "mangia bene" (eat very well) and will not only will their Christmas dinner give you a wonderful experience of traditional cooking in this part of the world, but will also have you planning many long walks amongst the wooded metalliferous hills, or along the beaches in the Gulf of Follonica and the Parco della Sterpaia, to compensate for the sixteen dishes! Yes, I did say sixteen!!
Note: Christmas dinner in Italy is normally eaten at lunchtime, hence its name "pranzo di Natale" ("pranzo" meaning lunch), and you will be very hard pushed indeed to find a restaurant, trattoria or osteria open on Christmas evening. And, the good ones - like Trattoria da Sbrana - get booked-up well in advance, so you must "prenotare" reserve a table early. Whatever you do, don't turn-up on speck on the day with no booking or you will end up hungry!
If you aren't visiting Maremma this Christmas, but instead looking for ideas for an Italian Christmas dinner menu of your own, just choose one or two meat and fish dishes from each of Trattoria da Sbrana's courses for an authentic Tuscan Christmas meal. You don't have to prepare all of them!
(There is also a link to another Italian Christmas dinner menu from Maremma at the bottom of the page.)
The thing that makes these dishes all time favourites is simplicity and the best ingredients - the key to all great Italian food. No complications, no extra unnecessary ingredients or fancy flavours, just simple combinations of the freshest produce you can find. The great thing about all of the dishes in this Christmas lunch is that they are easy to prepare in advance or with ease at the last minute, and as with the roasted chicken and lamb, easy to tend to without needing any fuss. Perfect for you to enjoy the Christmas day without being tied to the stove. If you don't find me and my family at Trattoria da Sbrana, I'll be cooking at some of these dishes at home.
AFFETTATI TOSCANI MISTI
Sliced cold Tuscan meats, such as proscuitto, salami, etc
Toasted Tuscan bread with a variety of toppings
INSALATA DI GRANCHIO
INSALATA DI MARE
COUS COUS DI MARE
Mixed seafood cous cous
COCKTAIL DI GAMBERETTI
For extra menu ideas, Last year they served CARPACCIO DI SALMONE, thinly sliced smoked salmon.
TRIPOLINE AL PESCE
Tripoline pasta (think pappardelle pasta with wavy edges!) with a fish sauce
RISOTTO AI FUNGHI
Mushroom risotto (with the expansive woodlands in Maremma there will be porcini mushrooms in this dish and others I have no doubt)
TORTELLI AI RAGU
Stuffed Tortelli pasta with a slowly cooked beef ("manzo") meat and tomato sauce
Extra ideas. Last year the dishes included:
FARFALLINE CARCIOFI E GRANA
Farfalline pasta with artichokes, topped with thinly sliced mature Grana Padano cheese.
RISOTTO AI SAPORE DI MARE
Literally translated means risotto with the taste of the sea, a seafood risotto.
ARROSTO MISTO DI POLLO E AGNELLO
A mixed roast of chicken and lamb
ARISTA ALLE VERDURE
Roasted pork in a vegetable sauce
Mixed fried fish (everyone loves this dish traditionally served on brown paper with huge wedges of lemon and bread.
TORTA DI NATALE
Homemade Italian Christmas cake
Italian Christmas cookies, small cakes and sweets
The wine and water during your meal, Spumante, caffe, and an after meal amaro liqueur are all included in the price of Euros 40 per person.
Tel: 0566 902704
Buon Natale and buon appetito!
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