Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Eve in Todi

Christmas Eve is celebrated here with La Vigilia - a meal of multiple courses. Some say there should be seven courses for the seven sacraments, others say nine for the Trinity multiplied by itself, while most commonly around here people say there should be thirteen courses representing the twelve disciples and Jesus.Thankfully most of the courses are small so this is not the weight gathering exercise it sounds. This year we have decided to be lazy and farm out the preparation of the meal to the local fish and pasta shops. The fish shop is producing a variety of fried and roasted seafood courses including sea bass, halibut and the ever present fried baccala while the pasta lady is making the local ravioli and lasagne dishes. All in all it sounds like a very upmarket takeaway. The only downside is that none of this will be ready for collection until eight o'clock, so allowing for Italian time keeping it will probably be nine thirty before we get it all home.

The day has seen a host of visitors come past to wish us seasons greetings. Just before lunch the cleaning lady came along with her husband and children, then Enrico the gardener with his cousin, then the the local farmer with some bright orange cachi - these we think are persimmons but have absolutely no idea what to do with them as they are unheard of in Scotland. Perhaps most surprisingly of all the local hunters who traipse across the fields showed up with a cooked rabbit .We disapprove of hunting but the cacciatore are part and parcel of Italian life and brave is the landowner who tries to stop them crossing their land. All visitors have had a glass of prosecco and the children have been given packs of British sweets (how exotic bars of Cadbury's Turkish Delight can appear in Umbria) and crackers to take home.

Tomorrow snow is forecast but if the road is clear we shall probably head off to the cathedral in Orvieto and then take in some of the presepe in the villages on the way back.The Turkey and pudding will be on the table by four.

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