Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas in Molise

We're quickly approaching the end of another year and our Italian Food, Wine & Travel (#ItalianFWT) bloggers are ready to share with you this month a variety of Italian holiday wines, culinary traditions and holiday and Christmas festivities found throughout Italy. This month I'm focusing on the small region of Molise that never seems to get enough attention.

Christmas Traditions in Molise
I don't know about you, but I personally love this time of year. One of my favorite things to do is partake in the festivities all around me whether it's scoping out the houses with some of the best christmas light displays while sipping some hot chocolate or maybe attending Christmas parades and other local holiday events. Well Italy has many of it's own traditions in each region and many of the towns within those regions have special events that the local citizens hold dear to them.

In Molise Christmas Eve is a big celebration for the locals. In particular, in the town of Agnone, there is a celebration of the ndocciata, torches. A bell is rung at St. Anthonys and bagpipers play and fill the streets with music. A fan shaped variety of torches made of pinewood are carried by those dressed in costume of all ages. The event culminates at Plebiscite Square with a large bonfire, called the bonfire of brotherhood, where the nativity is displayed. In the town of Oratino, another event called La Faglia takes place where they burn hundreds of candles into forming one candle. The candle is carried through the town where it is lit on fire at the end at the Chiesa Madre bell tower.
Ndocciata of Agnone by Gianfranco Vitolo
Holiday Wine Recommendations from Molise
I recently had a couple wines from Molise that I very much enjoyed. The 2014 Di Majo Norante Terre Degli Osci Sangiovese I.G.T and the 2011 Di Majo Norante Ramitello Molise. Di Majo Norante is located in Campomarino in the district of Ramitello and has been producing wine since the 1800's.  Helping craft wines of top quality they have seeked out the help of one of the top Italian wine consultants, Riccardo Cotarella, who consults wineries throughout Italy and the world.

The Di Majo Norante Terre Degli Osci Sangiovese I found to be a great value wine. With aromas of cherry and raspberry, this dry wine is easy and soft with smooth tannins. SRP $9-10. 

The 2011 Di Majo Norante Ramitello Molise was my favorite of the two and had also been rated on the Top 100 in 2014 for Wine Spectator. It's sourced from the top grapes of the Ramitello vineyard with vines aging on average about 50 years old.  It's a blend of mostly montepulciano with some aglianico grapes.  A very powerful, complex wine with spice and dark, black fruits. A wine that benefits from aeration for sure. SRP $15.
Di Majo Norante Ramitello and Sangiovese
Culinary Treats of Molise
Molise is known during Christmas time for calciuni. Calciuni are sweet fritters that are filled mainly with chestnuts and almonds with the addition of chocolate, honey and oranze zest sometimes. Definitely a treat after a Christmas feast!

More Christmas and Italian holiday treasures to be discovered.  Join my fellow bloggers below and if you catch us in time, chat with us live on Twitter this Saturday December 3rd at 11am EST #ItalianFWT.

Feast on History – Feast of the Seven Fishes in Italy: Myth orTradition?

Next month Susannah from Avvinare will host coastal reds and whites along with foods and travel to coastal regions on January 7th.  

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