Naturally, at Villa Ragazzi we start with dessert.
At left is our first experiment with panforte, an Italian take on fruitcake. This recipe by Alice Waters (The Art of Simple Food II) calls for bittersweet chocolate, already an improvement over traditional fruitcakes. Hazelnuts, almonds, candied orange peel, black pepper - what's not to like? The verdict: densely delicious.
Panforte "will keep for months if you can resist eating it up." This one won't clearly make it to Christmas, so we'll be baking another soon.
Next on our holiday feast research list: a main dish, perhaps venison.