The Italian Almanac


Italian News - January 3

Italians have entered the new year with all the right intentions to diet after the holiday blowouts of food and drink. Between Christmas and New Year Italians consumed over 100 million pandori and panettone Christmas cakes, 80 million bottles of bubbly, 20 tonnes of pasta and 8,000 tonnes of assorted cold cuts, cheeses, meats, bread and sweets. However, while this may appear to be a lot, it has been calculated that Italians consumed 2.8% less food over the same period last year.

Looking at consumer trends, the Confederation of Italian Farmers concluded that Italians this year ate more lentils, pork products and chicken than they did oysters, caviar and salmon, the sales of which plunged 15.5% over last year. Italians also appeared to prefer domestic fruits and vegetables to more exotic fruits like avocados and mangos, with sales of the latter tumbling 20.8%.

Another consumer trend this year was the upsurge in the sales of Italian spumante and other domestic sparkling wines and the drop in champagne's popularity: over 80 bottles of Italian bubbly were opened over the holidays, up from 78.5 million last year, while champagne sales sank 16.7%.

In order to shed the extra pounds gained from holiday feasts, nutritionists agree that fruits and vegetables must dominate Italian table. Goblets should be filled with orange juice rather than wine and an extra drop of olive oil is generally helpful in flushing out the body's systems. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are also good to ward off the flu, doctor's observed, and dishes rich in legumes like lentils, beans and peas are not only rich in fiber and iron but offer a source of slow-burning carbohydrates which provide the body with energy needed to combat the forecast cold weather.