Designer Angela Missoni shares her Christmas traditions with ELLE Decoration...
‘When I was a kid, we used to spend Christmas day at my mom’s parents’ house. We were a big family with many cousins, all our presents would be there and we’d have a big lunch at 1pm.
The menu we enjoyed then is the same today. So, we start with Vol-au-vent alla Finanziere della Nonna Rosita. The baker prepares the vol-au-vent, with the hole ready and then making the finanziere is complicated, but I knew how to cook from an early age. The recipe is in our cookbook, but the meat mixture includes the chicken heart, giblets, liver, to which you add porcini mushrooms and the marrow. This is scooped into the puff pastry cases. It’s a very special dish.
Then we follow this with Insalata Russa, including vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, and capers. It’s a typical Piemonte dish typically served before the entrée. This is followed by soup, which we’d have with very fine pancakes rolled with parmesan to then put in the hot broth. The broth was usually made from bollito misto.
To finish we have panettone with mascarpone, not made with eggs but just cognac and sugar. We generally drink red wine, but also have champagne with dessert.
Every year we’d have a big wooden nativity scene too. My mum would take us in the woods nearby to get the moss to make the nativity, we still do this today. We also go to church for midnight mass, in my mum’s village.
Although we exchange gifts on Christmas day, we have our stockings on the 6th January. We call this tradition La Befana, it comes from the north of Italy, la befana is an old lady kind of like a witch; she goes on a broom and has a big nose, a big hat and she brings presents. Simple things like pencils or colouring things, but also little cookies and coal. If the kids were bad, they would only have coal. Then this evolved into a sweet carbon, with cookies that look like coal.
I was born on the 26th December, we used to celebrate with a lunch but I soon realised that everybody had already done everything on the 24th and 25th December and the 26th was a kind of down moment. So I decided to gather friends and family early on the night of the 25th, so they all come to my house now. When it’s midnight on the 25th I blow my candles out – usually on a cheesecake topped with coulis – and then everybody leaves on the 26. It’s become a new tradition.’
The Missoni Family Cookbook by Francesco Maccapani Missoni is out now, assouline.com