Italian Culture Club Of Las Cruces Message Board › Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)

Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)

Al Chance Services...
user 13708705
Group Organizer
Las Cruces, NM
In Italian "Buon Natale" (the good birth) is Merry Christmas.

A popular tradition amongst southern Italians and Italian-Americans is the Christmas Eve Dinner known as "La Vigilia" (the vigil for birth of our Lord) or "Notte di Sette Pesce" ( Seh-Tay-Pesh-Aye) (night of seven fishes). This is a feast of a fish dinner comprised of at least as many varieties of fish. In some areas of Italy, it can be as few as 3 (for the Trinity) or as many as 12 (after the number of Apostles).The number will always have a religious significance.

I remember Sette Pesce with my wife Maria's family in Brooklyn, NY. On the coastal cities it's always easy to get the freshest and best fish. With Grandma, Grandpa and all the Aunts & Uncles and Cousins we would enjoy games and talk good times, (the elders in Italian).

We always started out with a Frutte Di Mare (Fruit Of The Sea) or cold fish salad appetizer. It was a mix of baby shrimp, baby Octopus legs, Calamari (Squid), Muscles, Clams (and more) in an Olive Oil based Garlic Sauce with other herbs and fresh Italian Bread from Cammareri Brothers Bakery down the street (yeah- the same one featured in "Moonstruck") and wine. This would be followed with Baked Claims (Oreganata), full size or large Mussels in a red spicy sauce, or Calamari (Squid tubes) stuffed with other fish, cheeses and herbs. Pasta was of course also served as a side dish. DELIZIOSO!

After dinner, Grandpa would break out his old Citarra (chee-tahr-rah) (guitar) and we would accompany him to his favorite old songs, both in English and Italian, while the Espresso brewed and the table was now set up with all the homemade and store bought Italian Pastries and Cookies. My favorite was always (and still IS) my wife's "Pizza Grana" or sweet wheat grain pie, which she continues to make to this day. In fact, I am enjoying a piece as I write this.

"Say sweetheart.... bring me a cup of Espresso as I close this? I think these people have heard enough."

Buon Natale Immanuel (Happy Birthday Jesus) (God is with us!)
Al Chance Services...
user 13708705
Group Organizer
Las Cruces, NM
Post #: 7
La Vigilia 2012:

This year was the best so far in Las Cruces for us. Joined by 2 other couples, we had the following:

Course 1: Gamberetti Freddo e Caldo (Cold shrimp with 2 sauces and hot breaded shrimp with lemon wedges) con Finocchio Al'Olio (Fennel, spices and Virgin Olive Oil). Dolores brought Greek Spinach-Feta Triangles to expand our sphere of gustatory delight across the Mediterranean.

Course 2: Zuppa Granchi con Crema (Cream Of Crab Soup)

Course 3: Pesce di Mandorla e Cerchi di Samone (Almond encrusted Tilapia and Stuffed Salmon Wheels)

Course 4: Aragoste Russo con Spaghetti (Lobsters in Red Sauce with Spaghetti)

Course 5: Pizza Grana (Sweet Grain Pie) e Key Lime Pie (brought by Joan from the most excellent "Si Italian Bistro") e Espresso.

Maria prepared everything except the Key Lime Pie and Greek Triangles. I did clean up prep area and provided taste test feedback.

The good comraderie of delightful friends only served to enhance the feast.

I know, it's only 5 fish you say. But there's always next year.
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