New year's day and Christmas in Campania

Christmas in Campania for holidays or to visit realities in December

Christmas Camapania Cooking and Recipes

Ancients referred to this area respectfully as Felix Campania, or "Fortunate Campania," as its loose, black volcanic soil and near-perfect climate made farming practically effortless and yielded as many as four harvests a year. Today Campania, which lies along the shin of Italy's boot, is famous for giving us our most widely recognized Italian specialties: Pizza, and pasta with tomato sauce.

Naples is the best known of the region's five provinces, and is considered the culinary capital of the south. Although Neapolitan cooking does have its share of elaborate dishes that reflect the area's aristocratic past, it is primarily the country food — cucina casalinga or cucina povera, — that prevails. It's this cuisine that was first introduced to America by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s, with dishes like baked ziti.

Campania is the real home of dried, eggless, hard-wheat pasta, a mainstay of the diet and the favored bed for gutsy local sauces. Pasta is also baked into casseroles, often enhanced by another of Campania's great contributions to the Italian pantry: mozzarella. Although now made in neighboring regions too, the best — made from buffalo's milk — is produced around Battipaglia. Mozzarella shows up on pizza, with tomatoes and basil in insalata caprese and in deep-fried sandwiches known as mozzarella in carrozza.

The Bay of Naples gives the region a constant supply of superb fish and shellfish, which are either mixed with pasta, simply grilled, found in zuppa alla marinara (fish soup with tomato, garlic and parsley poured over toasted bread), fritto misto (mixed fried fish) and insalata di mare (seafood salad).

The operatic spirit of the Campanians really soars with their wide range of extravagant sweets. Some are associated with holidays and feast days, such as the Easter pastiera, a citrus-flavored ricotta and wheat kernel pie; a Christmas struffol, pyramids of honey-glistened, citrus-infused pastry balls; and the Saint Joseph's Day zeppole, deep-fried dough puffs filled with pastry cream. Add all of these good things together, and they prove that Campania is a most fortunate region indeed.
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