Festive Italian Feast

Christmas entertaining doesn’t need to be formal, particularly for get-togethers with friends around the festive period. This rustic and cosy Italian-inspired menu is low-stress, and a fabulous feast for 6.

Rosemary grows wild everywhere in Italy, but it’s also a herb that feels very Christmassy.  Echo the rosemary theme in the food by adding a few sprigs to your table flower arrangement or – as I’ve done – strewed about the table amongst some candles and festive décor.

Gold chargers, sparkly stars or baubles and lots of candles make the table feel like a real celebration. Offset any sense of formality with unironed linens, tumblers instead of wine glasses and a rustic wooden serving board.

Menu

Prosecco

Italian Grazing Board

Italian Beef Stew

Rosemary Focaccia

Robust Italian Red Wine

Affogato

For the grazing board, artfully drape prosciutto slices across the centre of the board next to a pile of good quality olives, breadsticks stood up in a tall drinking glass, a pile of small chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano and a few decorative sprigs of rosemary.

Unusually I haven’t suggested a vegetable with the stew. But it’s packed full of vegetables, and I love the simplicity of the stew served on its own. You can really appreciate the flavours this way, and rather than potato, who doesn’t love swiping bread across a thick, rich sauce?

Affogato is an easy Italian dessert assembled by pouring a shot of strong hot coffee over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serve the coffee in small espresso cups or shot glasses and allow everyone to combine their own at the table.

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