Italy: About Panettone

Panettone (pronounced /ˌpænəˈtni/Italian: [panetˈtoːne]) is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan (in Milanese dialect of theLombard language it is called paneton /paneˈtuŋ/),[1] usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italysoutheastern France,SpainBrazilVenezuelaPeruMaltaAlbaniaGermany andSwitzerland, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. In recent years it has become a popular addition to the Christmas table in theUnited KingdomUnited StatesCanada and Australia. In South America, especially in PeruArgentinaParaguayUruguayColombia,Bolivia, and Chile, and It is a tradition to eat it on the 6th of January each year, Other names for the bread are roscón de reyes/bolo rei (King cake).



It has a cupola shape, which extends from a cylindrical base and is usually about 12–15 cm high for a panettone weighing 1 kg. Other bases may be used, such as an octagon, or a frustum with star section shape more common to pandoro. It is made during a long process that involves the curing of the dough, which is acidic, similar to sourdough. The proofing process alone takes several days, giving the cake its distinctive fluffy characteristics. It contains candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as raisins, which are added dry and not soaked. Many other variations are available such as plain or with chocolate. It is served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine, such as Asti or Moscato d’Asti. In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone, eggs, sometimes dried or candied fruits, and typically a sweet liqueur such as amaretto; if mascarpone cheese is unavailable, zabaione is sometimes used as a substitute.

Croatian Christmas Traditions and Epiphany

In Croatian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Sretan Božić’. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

In Croatia, preparations for Christmas start on 25th November which is St Catherine’s day. People also celebrate Advent. Over 85% of people in Croatia are Catholics so Advent is an important time for them.

It’s traditional to have an Advent wreath made of straw or evergreen twigs which has four candles

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are mostly celebrated with close family. On Boxing day friends and extended family visit each other.

On Christmas Eve, most people eat dried-cod called ‘bakalar’ or some other kind of fish as it’s considered as meat fast (so you can’t eat meat).

The main Christmas Day is often turkey, goose or duck. A popular side dish is sarma (cabbage rolls filled with minced pork meat).

There’s also always lots of small cookies and cakes to eat including ‘fritule’ which are Croatian donuts flavored with lemon.


The Christmas celebrations finish on Epiphany (6th January).

Read More:

Croatia: Epiphany, Red Wine And Taking Down Of Christmas Tree Tradition


Central America: The Poinsettia, A Christmas Plant



For those who celebrate Christmas in frostier places of the
world, our most used plant of the season is the Poinsettia.  You see the image on tablecloths, table runners and so forth.  And if done well, conside putting them on your Christmas table.

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as ‘Taxco del Alarcon’ where they flower during the winter.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.


Sherman Oaks, CA: Review ofSmoke City Market (Closed)

When you walk into Smoke City Market you are hit with a great feel with rows of wooden picnic table.  The menu items are in large writing.  The staff is friendly and eager to take your order.

On this night, I was feeling cheap and great yearn of my tastebuds cornbread.  To my surprise I ordered the Chili Mac which just sounds weird but it really not a bad to go item.  It is filling.  The concoction is a meat chili on top of mac & cheese.  The whole thing is topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.  I didn’t love the dish but it was not bad at all.  For my taste, it seem to have too much of a vinegar flavor.  The cornbread at $2.00 was served cold but was sweet.  I would it probably be worth it to grab a piece on the run if I knew I could warm it up.

Honestly, all of the side dishes and meats were reasonably priced.  Most sides were close to $4 bucks.  Sandwiches are under $10.

I would definitely go again, and this time I would like to try the sausage offerings.

Where: 5242 Van Nuys Blvd Sherman Oaks CA