Gli Avanzi Natalizi…

January 13, 2015 / Local Interest
Italy

For weeks they were the pride of the aisles! Front stage center, there was no doubt about who played the lead in Italy’s pre-Christmas grocery store merchandise drama.

Cotechini, zamponi, torroni, pandori, panettoni, spumante… such is the currency of the holidays around these parts. No encounter, visit, or formal best wishes are made, dinners had, or debts of gratitude (or guilt) settled without one of the above listed items exchanging hands with great effusions of cheer on both parts. (“Oooh, how nice, thank you! Look honey, they brought us a panettone! Go put it on the balcony with the other 42 we’ve received so far!”)

avanzi-natalizi5

Even better if the offering consists of many of the above-mentioned foods/sweets packaged together! Do you remember that game Battleship you played as a kid? Giving the ever-popular Cesto Natalizio (Christmas basket), a veritable horn of Christmas delicacy plenty, is the equivalent of striking and sinking your opponent’s aircraft carrier in one go. A master-move if there ever was one!

But now that the holidays are over? Where are the mighty now? What fate in store for them?

Have they been carefully packaged away to be pulled out next year? Hardly! (Although the shelf-life of commercial pandoro is up there with some radioactive elements. And the panforte – a sort of petrified nut fossil patty that doubles as a weapon when thrown like a frisbee, ask my sister – is the one exception that will likely get packed away; it’s probably from a few years ago anyhow, nobody buys that stuff even before Christmas.) As for the rest? Alas, it’s not meant to be! Instead, how the high are made low!! The great, small!

avanzi-natalizi6

Their fate is apparent the moment you return to the grocery store for the first time (breaking your new year’s resolution to never eat again). There they are… pandori stacked ingloriously besides the cereal. The horror!

avanzi-natalizi2

Cotechini unceremoniously lined up, their sad fate to expire into the cheese bins…

avanzi-natalizi3

Panettoni shoved without respect between the frozen food freezers and the rack of house slippers. (!?).

avanzi-natalizi9

The late, great Cesti Natalizi, made a mockery of and marked down to 4.99…

avanzi-natalizi8

Torroni any cheaper and the clerks would have to throw them at you to get them off the shelves… all are punish’d.

Dare we utter the words? Alas, ’tis true. The curtain has dropped, the play is done. They are now mere avanzi natalizi (Christmas leftovers).

avanzi-natalizi7

GB

by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

26 Responses to “Gli Avanzi Natalizi…”

  1. Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    GB, confession time. I have an unopened panettone in my kitchen. It was purchased from Beppe (2nd generation from Benevento) on Aylesbury market… I am gearing up to slice it into one of Nigella Lawson’s joyous recipes. Thanks for the smile today!

    Reply
  2. Gale in CT

    Panettoni make the BEST French toast on Christmas morning….or any morning for that matter….even Easter morning…..or, even a late night indulgence!

    Reply
  3. LOVED the article! Sad for all the uneaten sweets, though. Could some form of bread pudding be made with them? Something with a nice rum sauce, perhaps?

    Reply
  4. davi mondt lowman

    ha ha haaaaa! i burst out laughing when i read this ….. as i sit here eating my christmas panettone with my morning caffe’!

    Reply
  5. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    If you look again at those shelves that have been photographed by you, you will notice that they are less full and the isles are less cluttered…..I’ve been there…I am a weak man…Grazie per il promemoria

    Reply
  6. run don’t walk and pick up a few they make terrific french toast cut thickly make pocket with creamed cheese and wonderful bread puddings pop the others in freezer for repeat treats

    Reply
  7. Mairin O'Mahony

    I have a chef friend who uses panetone as the base for tiramisu. Yum!

    Reply
  8. Antoinette Shapiama

    Great piece — laughed out loud! In the days before store-bought, every holiday visit to friends was not complete without homemade panettone, biscotti, and vino bianco. My mother would start making her panettoni at 4:30 a.m. and finish at 4:30 p.m. !

    Reply
  9. Gian Banchero

    I have a Tuscan recipe for a panettone cut into small cubes, mixed with eggs and a spice or two, placed into a pie shell and baked. Of course, delicious.

    Reply
  10. TINA BLUEBERRY

    MY HUSBAND LEARNED FROM A BRAZILIEN PANNETONE THAT WE COULD USE IT AS FRENCHTOAST
    SO I FELL IN LOVE WITH THAT I MAKE SURE WE HAVE ENOUGH FOR A YEARS SUPPLY AT LEAST 9 WE KEEP THEM OUR FREEZERS. I DO BUY THE ITALIEN PANNETONE IT IS JUST SOO GREAT . MILLE GRAZIE

    Reply
  11. Mac & Karen

    Panettone french toast and espresso is the ONLY way to start the new year!! Thanks for the story, enjoyed it, just wish I was there to grab a few extra Panettone for the freezer!

    Reply

Leave a Reply