Is it the gifts? The long-awaited meetings with family and friends? Is it the entire celebration, from the first lights on balconies, the first fall of snow, the glittering markets or is it the intimacy of sharing food and love with family and friends?
The meaning of the holidays is something very individual.
A South Tyrolean tradition
For me as a South Tyrolean, Christmas is firmly linked to our traditions. The Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, is a time filled with religious customs and festivities. Incense is burned in South Tyrolean homes on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and the evening of January 6. During these three nights, family members carry a pan full of embers around the house and farmstead praying for benediction.
For me, as a husband and father of three, Christmas is a time to reflect and be thankful for my family, friends and dear ones. It is a message of hope, of new beginnings, of healing and of unity, of togetherness and celebration. It helps us to appreciate the love in our lives that we often take for granted. Quality time with my family is the best recreational, healing activity and preparation for a new hotel season to come. I’m not sure who enjoys Christmas more, my children or me.
In South Tyrol, as soon as Advent begins, we start making holiday cookies and I would love to share with you the original South Tyrolean „Spitzbuben“ recipe below
Original South Tyrolean „Spitzbuben“ recipe
Ingredients for the holiday cookies:
150 g butter (room temperature)
2 egg yolks
125 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
Vanilla (just a pinch)
300 g flour
1 knife point of baking powder
Additional: apricot jam from the Venosta valley for filling
Mix butter, sugar, egg yolk and spices.
Combine flour and baking powder, then add the butter mix and quickly knead until a smooth dough forms. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Put the dough on a floured work surface and roll out to a thickness of about 3 mm.
Cut rings out of one half of the dough and rounds out of the other half. Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven by 180°C static heat for about 8 minutes. Let them cool completely. With a teaspoon put some jam on the middle of the rounds and cover with the rings.