Grossi Family Christmas

By
Amelia Grossi
Added
16 December, 2015

Hailing from Australian restaurant royalty, Amelia Grossi reveals the food traditions her family upholds at Christmas time.

For the Grossi family, Christmas time is synonymous with good food. As lovely as tree decorations and neatly wrapped presents are, nothing trumps the importance food holds at Christmas time in our household. The entire family comes together to produce an enormous feast for this celebration of peace and joy. Even the dog plays his part by retrieving any foodscraps from the floor, earning him the title ‘furry vacuum cleaner’. Nothing speaks Christmas to me like cousins running to get a spot closest to the scalloped potatoes at the lunch table, or my Nonno wishing the entire family tanti auguri over calamari fritti cooked to perfection by my Nonna.

Gingerbread Cottage

Dessert preparations begin three days in advance with the conception of The Gingerbread House. My mother heads the project, dubbing herself Head Architect and Project Manager. Together, she and my younger brother, unofficial Assistant Project Manager, spend hours making calculations and creating baking paper templates for the structure. To say the Annual Grossi Family Gingerbread House has come a long way since its first edition would be an understatement. The original design of a simple, humble cottage has since evolved to incorporate two gables, a chimney, and a mint-leaf Christmas tree. Rumours have been circulating as to whether there will be a stained glass window this year, although I’m not at liberty to confirm or deny anything.

Gingerbread plans

Once the planning is complete Phase Two begins: structural development. Large sheets of gingerbread are baked and cut to size, my siblings and I unashamedly stealing the trimmings as they’re being cut. Once the gingerbread has properly cooled overnight Phase Three (construction phase) ensues. During this phase, anyone with butter fingers is exiled from the kitchen. This, however, is the perfect time for my sister and I (officially known as Co-decorators) to begin planning the most rewarding stage of the process, ornamentation. I am not exaggerating when I say that it takes literally hours for everyone to agree on an acceptable design. Some parts of the design like the Curly Wurly fence circling the property are a given, while others cause a bit more debate. According to the unofficial guidelines of gingerbread house construction however, any addition must be approved by the Project Manager. Usually most of Christmas Eve is spent decorating our lavish gingerbread house. Final touches such as the gummy Santa sitting in the chimney or the snow delicately settled on the roof are reserved for Christmas morning. As family arrive they are greeted with the sight of the magnificent Gingerbread House. The look of wonder and surprise on my five-year-old cousin’s face as she sees the creation really captures what Grossi Family Christmas is all about.

 

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