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      Italy is a wonderful place to spend the new year, from the snow-capped mountains of the Northern regions – Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino and the Veneto, all the way down to the rocky cities and coastlines of Calabria and Sicily. They have a great number of traditions relating to this time; some of them odder than others. In parts of the South, they light huge bonfires, sometimes burning a straw man atop. Guns are shot into the air, pans thrown from windows, and firecrackers tossed around. To be honest, it’s all a bit dangerous – hence why everyone wears lucky red underpants.

      In the North, they eat cotechino and lentils – the round disks of sausage signifying coins; wealth for the year ahead, and the myriad tiny lentils denoting plenty.   

      In a break from our strictly regional menus, we are ringing in Capodanno – the New Year – with a feast from around the country. Lombardian pannetone, Venetian prosecco, chocolates from Turin, Emilian cotechino, Roman pig and Pugliese taralli. Red underwear not included. Buon anno!