Like in many other parts of the world, the Christmas holidays in Italy are largely spent around the dinner table, feasting on traditional gastronomic delights.
Between Christmas and New Year (according to the Coldiretti farmers union) Italians consumed over 100 million pandori and panettone Christmas cakes, 80 million bottles of spumante and champagne, 20 tonnes of pasta and 8,000 tonnes of assorted cold cuts, cheeses, meats, bread and sweets. Though this may appear to be a lot, it seems that Italians consumed 2.8% less food compared with the same period last year.
Another consumer trend this year was the increased consumption of local foods and a decrease in the acquisition of foreign imports.
The Confederation of Italian Farmers (Cia) concluded that Italians this year ate more lentils, pork products and chicken than they did oysters, caviar and salmon, the sales of which plummeted 15.5% over last year. Italians appeared to prefer domestic fruits and vegetables to more exotic fruits like avocados and mangos, with sales of the latter falling 20.8%. There was an upsurge in the sales of Italian spumante and other domestic sparkling wines and a drop in champagne’s popularity. According to Cia, over 80 million bottles of Italian spumante were opened over the holidays, up from 78.5 million last year, while champagne sales sank 16.7%.
Now that the holidays are officially over, Italian nutritionists suggest “toasting” with orange juice instead of spumante, and plates dominated by vegetables and legumes, with an extra bit of olive oil to aid digestion.