The Christmas of the Sicilian Viceroys between splendor and elegance
Viceroys’ Christmas was a triumph of elegance and magnificence celebrated in historic homes which, although they were finely cared for throughout the year, during this celebration they were even further enhanced by the particular attention the nobles paid to it, entrusting the servants to adorn each room with exhibitions of rare and refined objects.
Between the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the day before Christmas Eve, in fact, the Viceroys employed considerable amounts of time and resources in the preparation for the event. Above all, those attentions were aimed at reclaiming their own elite class within the social fabric of the time. At the same time, they proudly displayed their own coat of arms, astounding the diners belonging to other noble families.
Particular attention was paid by the Viceroys to the Christmas decoration of the main halls
Particular attention was paid by the Viceroys to the Christmas decoration of the main halls, in particular those used for meeting and eating the Christmas meal. The environment was made welcoming and unique by the display of fine fabrics, by carpets showing a finely decorated texture and made with valuable fabrics, while along the walls it was possible to stare at original paintings and admire handcrafted pieces such as pottery.
The musical accompaniment with orchestral tones could not be missing either, with the task of playing Christmas songs, created by the best composers of the time thanks to noble instruments such as musical bows and violins. It is above all in the dining room that Viceroys fully expressed Christmas’ unique and elegant nature: the tables were decorated with the finest Sicilian lace, while cutlery sparkled from the handles engraved with the family banner and ceramic plates.
The noble tradition of the time took into account a rich Christmas menu, which presented particularly refined dishes such as meat preparations. The Christmas dinner included several courses, interspersed with pauses for dialogue, which accompanied the diners to discover unique flavors until the arrival of the dessert, a dish essential for the celebration that had the task of making the meal unforgettable.
The Viceroys were used to amaze diners
The Viceroys were used to amaze diners with confectionary preparations that drew from ancient handed down recipes, based on pistachio nuts from Bronte or almonds from Avola. Then, in compliance with these traditions, the Viceré Sicily way of enjoying Christmas draws great inspiration from the luxurious Christmas glories of the nobility, collecting all the delicacies they have to offer.
Almond pastries are an example of this, made only with excellent Sicilian ingredients according to the original recipes of the Monzù, who were ancient cooks of the aristocratic houses, hired with the aim of delighting the taste buds of the Viceroys and the rest of the guests. These treats are a perfect match to a degustation of liqueurs such as rosolio or Sicilian limoncello.