December 18, 2010
My first Christmas in Sicily. Things are low-key and I’m lovin’ it. The bar has dangled a few nonchalant stars; the barista wears a red tie . The (horse) butcher has lined his doorway with a handful of twinkle-lights. Poinsettias redden the piazza.
Things at the supermercato have reached a fever pitch, though. Christmas cakes in hat boxes—piled high on skids everywhere you look—teeter alarmingly, threatening to bury you alive under mounds of butter and lard. Friends tell me Sicilians start gobbling the cakes (called panettone or pan d’oro) at the end of November. By Christmas, they’re so bloated they can’t look at a hat box.
Which one to get?
Chocolate with orange nibs? Laced with Grand Marnier? Cointreau? Nuts? Truffles? A Mister Chocolate?
How about a cake with a bottle of bubbly enclosed? My head spins.
I finally close my eyes and point. I pick the classic—a spongey-eggy poof studded with oranges and raisins (OK, I’m boring). Wish I were sharing this monster with you!!
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