Christmas is my favorite time of year and while I’ll be heading to my homeland for the holidays, I can’t help but wonder what hides behind the closed doors of the fabled Milanese homes. Whether or not they’re cooking for themselves or having the entire meal cooked for them, a delicacy from Peck is likely to be on their elegant Christmas tables. The mere mention of Peck, a gourmet store dating back to 1883, is likely to impress. Whether it’s hors d’oeuvres, cake, panettone or a selection of salume and cheese, Peck is just as Milanese as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and its precious offerings have earned a duly merited spot on Milanese dinner tables pretty much all year round, but particularly at Christmas.
The ever evolving gourmet shrine’s newest endeavor is Piccolo Peck, a café that adds an ambiance designed to evoke a Viennese coffee house where people can sit for a few hours un-interrupted to sip tea, read the newspaper, converse, or just waste the day away. Whatever they choose! During a Christmas-themed afternoon tea in this new cafe, I sampled a myriad of delicious savory and sweet bites during and all I have to say is that if I was hosting Christmas in my adopted hometown, I’d certainly have a few of these items on my table, whether or not I was cooking.
- Smoked salmon bignets with pistachio and fresh robiola cheese
- Mini cylinders of phyllo dough wrapped of the famous Russian salad and topped with parsley
- Praline of Peck’s pate, one of the Milanesi’s most sought after Christmas foods
- A tart with anchovy, mascarpone and sausage
- Vitello tonnato
For the sweet tooth:
- Panettone, which Pecks sells all year round. On offer was traditional; orange, pineapple and ginger; and pear and chocolate, all with the choice of adding mascarpone and Grand Marnier sauce and chocolate Chantilly cream
- Raspberry and chocolate cake (Torta Miracle)
- Orange and chocolate tart
- A colorful assortment of macarons
Of all the deliciousness, Torta Il Profumo di Autunno, a short bread cake with Calvados cream, both soft and crisp and combining several flavors ranging: sweet, toasty, bitter, spiced caramelized fruit, cinnamon biscuit and creamy mascarpone.Now the recipe isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you want a piece of Milan on your table this Christmas, you can give it a go yourself. We have the recipe on Sauce Milan.
There were a couple of tea options, but I opted for the Christmas tea early on and kept with it, had just the right amount of spice to warm me up and kill the chill from that enveloped me from the seemingly eternal rainspell we had had that week.
Check out Peck’s entire Christmas catalogue here. Merry Christmas!