Italian Christmas: Buon Natale!

Today I’m sharing a link to Walks of Italy’s blog, a great piece on Christmas traditions in Italy. Walks of Italy offers some interesting touring options, and custom walks for those with specific interests. I hope you enjoy this post, and wish you all a blessed holiday!

Photo by Gino il Pio via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo by Gino il Pio via Wikimedia Commons.


Re-blog: Italian Christmas traditions, the American way!

Christmas is in full swing where I live, and in most of the world where it is celebrated. Today I’m sharing another blog I found, and I’ll let “Una Mamma Italiana” tell you about her Christmas traditions:

And now I’d like to hear what you do to give your Christmas an Italian touch. I’ve posted before about my family tradition of making torcetti, and will be doing that when my sister arrives from out of town. My daughter has already made hers, across the country. What about you? Please comment!


Time to make torcetti

My Italian great-grandparents, the source of my torcetti tradition. Josephine (Gualtieri) and Francesco Arcuri.

With December approaching, my Italian thoughts always turn to torcetti, the Italian pastry I grew up with. So for this “fifth Friday” bonus post, I’m giving you the recipe again, via my original torcetti post last year.

I’m also including a link to another blog with a torcetti recipe–however, it is in Romanian. I could not resist sharing it because of the beautiful finished product. I have never used chocolate on mine, but might try it after seeing this.

Do you have an Italian Christmas tradition–food, religious observance, family activity–that you love? Please tell me about it in the comments!

My most Italian Christmas tradition: Torcetti

Mary (Arcuri) Sanders, at age 77

My Italian grandma, born Mary Nancy Arcuri, was a great cook. She lived into her 90s, and now her many dozens of descendants like to share “Gram’s recipe” for various foods we associate with her. Somehow, though, each of her seven kids has a different version of “Gram’s recipe” for spaghetti sauce, each claiming to be authentic, and the rest charlatans.

At Christmas, Gram always made torcetti (tor-chet-ee). The lightly sweetened pastry was rolled in powdered sugar, shaped in figure 8s or candy canes, or folded into little half-moon turnovers filled with mince or cherry pie filling. I always imagine her learning to make it at her mother’s side, in Italian–the only language her mother spoke. Gram came from a big family, and it is a big recipe–I have penciled in on my recipe card a smaller version, one-fourth of the original recipe. But for you, readers, I am providing the full meal deal, the recipe for 12 dozen torcetti. Enough to share with lots of friends!


1 lb. butter or margerine

1 lb. vegetable shortning

10 cups sifted flour

1 cup warm milk

1 T. granulated sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 pkgs. yeast

4 eggs, beaten

2 lbs. powdered sugar

Cut shortning and butter into flour until it is like corn meal. Combine milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and stir in yeast. Add liquid to flour mixture. Add eggs and beat. Add more flour if sticky. Knead slightly. Put in a greased bowl, cover in a warm place, and let rise until double in bulk, about one hour. {I must tell you, this is a heavy dough, and has rarely doubled its bulk for me!}

Cover a bread board with some of the powdered sugar. Break off egg-size pieces of the dough, roll in powdered sugar into one long piece, and shape into figures–pretzel, figure 8, knots, candy canes. Bake on a greased sheet 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees. For filled turnovers, roll out dough, sprinking with powdered sugar if sticky, and use a cookie cutter or water glass to make 3″ circles. Fill with a spoonful of your favorite fruit pie filling, fold in half, and seal by pressing a fork along the edge.

If you try Torcetti from Gram’s recipe, I’d love to hear from you. And do you have an Italian Christmas food you love? Let’s hear about it!