There's a lot to experience in Campania, more than you can possibly imagine. You have to go to the Amalfi coast of course, but consult our travel articles below for more trip suggestions.
So what is a classic Christmas Eve menu in Naples? Well, its all about fish, not surprisingly. A typical menu is made of pasta with anchovies or clams, followed by fried or roasted 'capitone' (eel), roasted fish, boiled lobster and insalata di rinforzo (such as a cauliflower salad).
For dessert, the typical cakes or sweets are the mustacciuoli or mostaccioli and fresh fruit. The meal of the 'Vigilia' is accompanied by Lacrima Christi white wine and ended with Lacrima Christi passito.
Well that's the day before, what about the day after?
Anyone who enjoys cooking Italian food knows about that indeterminate measurement of 'q.b.' or quanto bisogno or 'as much as is necessary'.
It is part of the soul of Italian regional cuisine, but it can no longer be applied to the perfect Italian pizza. Why? Because in 2008 the European Commission in Brussels presented precise rules for making pizza.
For most of us the perfect pizza is made by a genuine Neapolitan in a classic Naples pizzeria.
The recipe cannot be written on a piece of paper. It is innate, spiritual, comes from the heart.
But for the record here is how an official pizza base should now be made.
To help you Cecilia of Italian Dinner Family, whose origins are the Amalfi Coast, takes you through the stages.
2 kilos of flour, 1 liter of water, 50-55 grammes of salt, 3 grammes of beer yeast.
So you? How can you cook fish? Here's my magic fish recipe. The recipe makes 6 portions and prep time is 10 mins with cook time twenty minutes.
1 1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such halibut, striped bass or orange roughy, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained, 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata, green or black olives, cut in two lengthwise, 2 tbsps white wine, 1 teaspoon Basil Leaves, 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1/4 teaspoon Thyme Leaves
Many readers might be confused between a Pizza Napoli, a Pizza Marinara and a Risotto alla Pescatora.
Basically, a pizza Napoli is tomatoes and very salty alici or anchovies.
A pizza marinara is the same but with the addition of garlic (at least that's how they make it near where we live).
A risotto alla pescatora can contain anything from mussels to shrimps, lobster and crab legs.
Furore is located in a splendid oasis of peace along the Amalfi coast overlooking the Bay of “Capo di Conca”.
The centre of Amalfi is 7 kilometres away, Positano 40 minutes and wonderful Ravello just 35 minutes.
Furore itself has the honour of being located by the only fjord in Italy from where the only annual coastal high diving championships are held (view the video).
Interestingly, it is not really a place, but a series of small hamlets dotted above a natural fjord which protects the ancient fishing village at it's mouth.
The luxuriant vegetation and setting lends the whole spot to a wonderfully mysterious atmosphere.
Pompeii and Herculaneum must be on your travel itineraries for south Italy. It's not a question of whether to visit the two famous ancient Roman buried cities or not, its all about how to visit them.
In our experience the options are:
- go with an organised group (too frustrating)
- do it alone (too much to see and what guidebook to buy)
- hire a professional guide and travel by Mercedes (absolutely)
For Pompeii, make the choice between basing yourself near the entrance to the archaeological site or nearer the Sanctuary and new Pompeii. The two are not so close after you've been trekking all day.
For Herculaneum, why not stay in town before heading up Vesuvius the day after.
Notwithstanding years of institutional neglect which have done little to protect the priceless ruins, the archaeological site of Pompeii is still very impressive.
Just wandering along the paved roads, past the ruined temples and into the ampitheaters and doorways is a tremendous thrill.
But it is a close attention to the smaller details which transports us back to the Roman city's daily life before it all went black on that tremendous late August day in 79 AD when Vesuvius blew its top.
There's no getting away from the shadow of the volcano even today. It seems too close for comfort.
Ask any official guide and you'll be informed that Vesuvius is a real nasty piece of work and is due to go off at any time!