Verona, UNESCO heritage city and meeting point for culture and traditions, is transformed and dressed in lights, sounds and colors for Christmas. The entrance to the city is illuminated by hundreds of lights, going through all the streets of the historic center till the beautiful Piazza Bra, with the Arena and the impressive Comet Star.
From mid-November until Christmas, Piazza dei Signori hosts the characteristic wooden houses of the German-style markets, in collaboration with the “Christkindlmarkt” of Nuremberg; more than 100 exhibitors offer traditional hand-crafted products such as glass, wooden and ceramic decorations, many gift ideas as well as gastronomic specialties and delicious Christmas sweets.
Christmas time in the wineries
The countdown has started: the holidays are getting closer and everyone is thinking about the Christmas menu. Christmas lunch on 25th December has always been the most important festive meal for Italian families, with regional variations throughout the country. The Counts Serego Alighieri family respect their roots, favouring wines produced on their estates, both just outside Verona and in Tuscany, the homeland of their famous ancestor, Dante the Poet. With everyone assembled in the great dining room in the family’s main house, the table will be dressed in traditional style, with the best lace tablecloth, porcelain dishes bearing the family crest, silver cutlery and the obligatory fine crystal glassware. It’s no surprise that the major focus of attention for the meal is which wines are to be served with it; they’re the real stars. The Serego Alighieri family are famed for the wines they produce in the hills of the Valpolicella Classica region, between Verona and Lake Garda. This year, however, there’s no question about the choice; they’re serving the wines that have been given excellent scores by wine critic James Suckling (between 91 and 96 points) in his annual tasting report. Whether strictly traditional, or given some contemporary updates, our Christmases will only be perfect if accompanied by the pleasure of being together, and there’s nothing like food prepared with love and a good glass of wine to make an unforgettable experience of it all.
The most significant and renowned contribution given by Verona to the culinary celebration of Christmas is Pandoro, literally “golden bread”, a Christmas cake made fluffy and golden by eggs and butter, usually covered with icing sugar. Not many people know that Pandoro is actually a derivation from another typical cake of Verona, called Offella, similar for the dough, but with a shorter and rounder shape. Tradition and innovation made in Verona merge themselves in Pan Kairos, an artisanal Offella stuffed with a tasty reduction of Kairos, the flagship wine of Zýmē, synthesis of the innovative and experimental approach in wine making of Celestino Gaspari.
Kairos is a word coming from Ancient Greek, that can be translated in a philosophical way as the right moment, defining time measured by quality, not by quantity. This wine was born in 2002 as a side project for the grapes used for Harlequin, the most precious and refined product of the cellar, in order to create something more approachable and immediate, but always able to surprise. Kairos is a blend of at least fifteen different grape varieties, as red as white, as autochthonous from Valpolicella as international, combined with research and know how, looking for a unique balance. The aging consists of two years in French oak barriques, that donate the wine a soft and charming character making it perfect for every occasion. May it be with the typical bollito e pearà of Verona, with polenta and cheese, or even with our Pan Kairos, it always is the right moment to enjoy Kairos.
Behind great Valpolicella wines, such as Amarone and Ripasso, in Verona you should reconsider your destination by tasting a good spumante, even without travelling to the Champagne region or to Franciacorta: Monteci is a winery offering also the finest brut wines of Verona.
Every Saturday in December you can enjoy a glass of bollicine while having a look at Monteci. The holidays celebration will result in an afternoon party on Saturday the 21st December with live music, free visits to the winery, wine tasting together with a very special guest from the North Pole…oh-oh-oh!.