When it comes to celebrating Christmas, food is an essential part of the festivities in Italy. Each region of the country has its own traditional dishes and drinks that are served during the holiday season. In this article, we will explore the typical Christmas foods, drinks, and desserts in Italy.

Italian cuisine is renowned for its scrumptious food, delectable drinks, and delicious desserts. And during the festive season of Christmas, Italians take their culinary game up a notch by preparing some of the most mouth-watering dishes. From savoury entrees to sweet treats, Italy boasts of an array of delicacies that are synonymous with Christmas. In this article, we will explore some of the typical Christmas foods, drinks, and desserts that are celebrated in Italy.

Regional Specialties

Italy has a rich culinary tradition, and each region has its own specialties. During Christmas, each region puts its unique spin on classic dishes. In the northern regions of Italy, such as Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige, roasted meats and hearty soups are popular. In contrast, the southern regions, such as Calabria and Sicily, serve fish dishes, such as eel and salt cod.


In Lombardy, the traditional Christmas dish is “casoncelli alla bergamasca,” a type of ravioli filled with meat, cheese, and bread crumbs. It is served in a butter and sage sauce and sprinkled with grated cheese. Another popular dish is “panettone,” a sweet bread loaf filled with candied fruit and raisins.

Trentino-Alto Adige

Trentino-Alto Adige is known for its hearty soups, such as “brodo di pollo con gnocchetti di pane,” a chicken broth soup with bread dumplings. For dessert, they serve “zelten,” a fruitcake made with dried fruit, nuts, and spices.


Calabria celebrates Christmas with “baccalà,” salt cod that is fried or baked and served with potatoes and olives. Another popular dish is “cuddrurieddri,” fried dough balls that are sweetened with honey.


In Sicily, “pasta con le sarde” is a staple Christmas dish. It is a pasta dish with sardines, pine nuts, raisins, and fennel. For dessert, “cannoli” are a must-have. These are pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese.


Italians love to celebrate with wine, and Christmas is no exception. Wine is a staple at Italian holiday meals, and there are many varieties to choose from. Red wines, such as Chianti and Barolo, are popular during Christmas.

Italian Christmas foods, drinks, and desserts are a true feast for the senses. Each region offers its own unique specialties, from hearty meat dishes to sweet desserts and delicious drinks. Whether it’s savoring a bowl of soup in Trentino-Alto Adige, indulging in a slice of panettone in Lombardy, or sipping on some mulled wine, Italian cuisine is sure to delight during the holiday season. Let’s not forget about the mouth-watering desserts, from the classic tiramisu to the traditional torrone and struffoli. It’s safe to say that food plays a significant role in bringing people together during the most wonderful time of the year in Italy.

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine, or “vin brulé,” is a popular Christmas drink in Italy. It is made with red wine, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Some recipes call for the addition of brandy or rum.


Prosecco is a sparkling wine that is popular in Italy during the holidays. It is usually served as an aperitif before meals or as a toast during celebrations.


Limoncello is a lemon liqueur that is traditionally served as a digestif after meals. It is made with lemon zest, alcohol, sugar, and water. Limoncello is a popular Christmas gift in Italy.


No Italian Christmas meal is complete without a delicious dessert. Italian desserts are known for their sweetness and richness, and there are many to choose from during the holiday season.


Panettone is a sweet bread that is filled with candied fruit and raisins. It is a staple Christmas dessert in Italy and is often served with a sweet sauce or whipped cream.


Pandoro is another sweet bread that is popular during the holiday season. It is a tall, star-shaped cake that is dusted with powdered sugar and served with whipped cream.


Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that is popular year-round, but especially during the holidays. It is made with ladyfingers, coffee, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa powder.


Torrone is a traditional Christmas candy that is made with honey, sugar, and almonds. It is similar to nougat and is often served in small pieces.


Struffoli are small, fried dough balls that are coated in honey and sprinkles. They are a popular Christmas dessert in Naples.

In conclusion, Italian Christmas foods, drinks, and desserts are a true feast for the senses. Each region offers its own unique specialties, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s a hearty meat dish, a sweet dessert, or a glass of wine, Italian cuisine is sure to delight during the holiday season.

FAQs – What are typical Christmas foods, drinks, and desserts in Italy?

What are some popular Christmas foods in Italy?

In Italy, Christmas is a time for feasting and enjoying special, traditional foods with friends and family. One of the most popular dishes is panettone, a sweet, egg-rich bread filled with candied fruits and raisins. Another festive dish is cotechino with lentils, a type of cured pork sausage served with lentils, which symbolize wealth and prosperity. Other Italian Christmas foods include lasagna, stuffed pasta dishes, roast meat and fish, and lots of fresh vegetables.

What drinks are typically served during the Christmas season in Italy?

One of the most beloved Italian Christmas drinks is the spicy and aromatic mulled wine known as vin brulé. This drink is made by heating red wine with sugar, cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, and other spices. Italians also enjoy a variety of other festive drinks such as torrone, a traditional nougat candy made with honey and nuts, and a variety of liqueurs such as limoncello, amaretto, and grappa.

What are some traditional Christmas desserts in Italy?

Italy has a proud tradition of festive desserts that are perfect for enjoying during the holiday season. One of the most famous is pandoro, a sweet and fluffy cake dusted with powdered sugar. Another traditional dessert is torrone, a delicious nougat candy that is often served alongside the Christmas feast. For those with a sweet tooth, there are also numerous other Christmas treats to enjoy such as panforte, a dense, chewy fruitcake filled with dried fruits and nuts, and struffoli, bite-sized fried balls of dough covered in honey and sprinkles. Additionally, Italians often enjoy a variety of classic Christmas cookies and cakes, including panettone and panforte, which are made with generous quantities of dried fruits, nuts, and spices.

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