It will come as no surprise to you all to hear that there is no singular traditional christmas lunch deal in Italy, although having deprived themselves of meat on Christmas Eve, generally everybody eats meat on the 25th. Loosely speaking, an Italian Christmas lunch will comprise antipasti, pasta, plates of meat, vegetables, and a desert (usually always Panettone, along with a local festive specialty).  Unsurprisingly, what these courses actually consist of differs hugely from region to region.

To illustrate this I’ve created an (almost!) game! You'll find eight regional variations on christmas lunch (A-E) below - see if you can guess where they’re from. 

(... AND before any of you Italians get all up-in-arms, I know there are local variations on all of these dishes. Top line education people)

Lombardy christmas lunch
Puglia christmas lunch
Tuscany christmas lunch
Liguria christmas lunch
Sardinia christmas lunch
Calabria christmas lunch
Sicily christmas lunch
Veneto christmas lunch

Menu A - Lombardy

1. Antipasti (local cheeses like creamy stracchino, gorgonzola, prosciutto) and Nervetti in Insalata (beef cartilage seasoned with garlic, parsley onion & beans) - pictured

2. Casoncelli alla Bergamasca (stuffed fresh pasta tossed in butter, sage and pancetta) or casoncelli en brodo (stuffed pasta in broth)

 3. Cotechino con lenticchie (pork sausage with lentils)

4. Panettone

Menu B - Puglia

1. Frutti di mare  (raw mollusks, mussels, clams, sea urchins)

2. Lasagne al forno 

3. Agnello arrosto con lampascioni (roast lamb with small onions) 

4. Cartellate  (fried dough rolled into strips and drenched in sweet wine) 

Menu C - Tuscany

1. Crostini di fegatini (crostini with chicken liver pate)

2. Fresh cappelletti o tortellini en brodo (stuffed pasta in capon broth or  broth from the stuffed neck of a chicken)

3. Capone arrosto con verdure e patate  (roasted capon with vegetables and roasted potatoes)

4. Panforte (honeyed desert made with nuts and dried fruits)

Menu D - Liguria

1. Natalini in brodo (long macaroni in capon broth, with small meatballs or bite-sized sausage)

2. Ravioli alla genovese (pasta stuffed with meat, sweatbreads and eggs served in tomato sauce)

3. Capone arrosto con stecchi fritti (roasted Capon with fried chicken giblet skewers, mushrooms and besciamella)

4. Pandolce Genovese (fruitcake)

Menu E - Sardinia

1. Antipasti - salsiccia, pecorino e olive (cold meats, sausages, local cheeses, olives) 

2. Culurgiones de casu (ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta, in a creamy tomato sauce) 

3. Maialetta al forno (spit roast pig)

4. Tiramisu 

Menu F - Calabria

Antipasti - Crespelle ripiene alle alici e salumi,  pecorino crotonese e caciocavallo silano (fried hams and cheeses)

1. Minestra Maritata con verdure di campo e fagioli ('wedding soup' - vegetable soup with beans

2. Le scillatelle con ragù di maiale (pasta with pork ragu)

3. Capretto al forno alle erbe selvatiche con patate (roast goat with potatoes)

4. Fichi a crocetta ricoperti al cioccolato (chocolate covered figs)

Menu G- Sicily

 Antipasti sfincione (pizza base di cipolla), scacce ragusane, cardi in pastella

1. Pasta con le sarde 

2. Sformato di anellini al forno con ricotta,

3. Carne con pancetta coppata con contorno di sparaceddi e caponata

4. Mustazzoli a base di mandorle (honey flavoured biscuit with chocolate and almond filling)

Menu H - Veneto

1. Antipasti - salumi vari (local cured meats and sausages)

2. Gnocchi al sugo d’anatra (gnocchi with duck ragu)

3. Lesso di manzo “al cren” (salsa di rafano) con contorno di purè di patate (boiled beef with horseradish and mashed potatoes)

4. Il pandoro di Verona (Veronese sponge cake)