Here at Artistica, our beautifully crafted handmade designs make perfect presents all year round, but the holiday season is a spectacular time to gift one of these special and unique works of art. Not surprisingly, the last quarter of the year is always our biggest season, according to our founders Marco and Alice Margaritelli.
While our traditional, older clientele tend to buy home décor designs (luxury cachepots, biscotti jars and especially our large wall plates), Marco notes a tangible trend in gifting culinary- or food-related accessories, particularly among younger Millennial customers. Popular picks include butter dishes, spoon rests and sugar bowls which add a bold pop of color to the primarily neutral kitchen environments favored by Millennials.
And though gifts are an important part of the season, the Margaritellis celebrate Christmas very traditionally – with family, food and lots of laughter! And this year will be extra-special as their new grandson joins the family at the Christmas table. Following the Italian fashion, the festive meals will be long – several hours devoted solely to enjoying the food and each other’s company.
For immediate family only, the Christmas Eve Dinner or Cena di Natale is a veritable Italian feast of many courses, meaning more time to linger at the dinner table! Italian cuisine varies by region – dishes in the South of Italy are exclusively based on fish, so the Margaritellis pay homage to the Center region (Tuscany and Umbria) where they and their products come from with meat- and poultry-based courses.
The meal begins with the antipasto course of crostini, a toasted homemade bread topped by chicken liver pate and followed by tortellini in chicken broth. The main course is rack of lamb with roasted rosemary potatoes as well as roasted guinea fowl (faraona). Absolutely delicious!
The Margaritellis pair Chianti and Pinot Grigio (even the wines are Italian) and San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna water with the meal. Dessert will be traditional Pandoro and Panettone al Cioccolato, accompanied by espresso or cappuccino. And there’s more, after dinner the family will enjoy nuts, dried fruit and their favorite roasted Italian chestnuts!
And what’s on the Margaritelli table to serve all these wonderful dishes? Their very own dinnerware from Deruta, naturally. They like to mix and match from various collections to achieve a layered look, but they are partial to the iconic Ricco Deruta, a 16th century pattern that is Deruta’s most celebrated design.
The extended family joins the Margaritellis on Christmas Day for lunch, the Pranzo di Natale, bringing nearly 20 people together to eat and enjoy. Celebrating the family’s multicultural heritage, the menu blends Persian dishes Alice prepares, Italian courses, and finally, American fare, in honor of their adopted home. Plus, the kids like the American food!
Alice makes Persian Jeweled Rice, a saffron-infused rice pilaf studded with fruits and nuts that gives it a gorgeous gem-like appearance. She also cooks Kookoo Sabzi, an aromatic Persian quiche filled with six different herbs and greens that is served with fish, a whole roasted branzino filled with a custom blend of spices.
Then, there’s prime rib to satisfy American cravings. Italian desserts bring this delectable meal to a close, more Panettone al Cioccolato and Torta della Nonna, a pastry filled with lemon custard cream and topped with pine nuts and almonds. Now how do we get an invitation?
Torta della Nonna.
Kookoo Sabzi (Persian Quiche)
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