An Italian Christmas

Buon Natale

An Italian Christmas

With the holidays around the corner, it’s important for all Italophiles to know how to say Merry Christmas in Italian. So pay close attention and learn why Max on Top adores being part of an Italian family tradition and design ethos…

Italian design is a brand in itself. Through its long tradition of knowing, recognizing and creating beauty, Italy has become one of the most renowned countries in the realm of design and good taste. Italian design has come to stand for quality, durability, simplicity, functionality and a whole host of other attributes, all resonating with South African decorative surface brand; Max on Top.

Max on Top is the proud distributor of Italian born and manufactured Fenix® – This Italian master ‘surface’ hit South African by storm and is enjoying many accolades.

FENIX® – a super opaque nanotech material – is an innovative interior design product, created by Arpa Industriale in Italy, that combines elegant aesthetic solutions with state-of-the-art technological performance.

It is suitable for both vertical and horizontal use. The external surface of FENIX involves the use of nanotechnology and it is characterized by next generation acrylic resins, hardened and fixed with Electron Beam Curing process opening up new avenues in the field of interior design.

With low light reflectivity, its surface is extremely opaque, anti-fingerprint and features a very pleasant soft touch. Thanks to the use of nanotechnologies, FENIX thermally heals any superficial micro-scratches, as its name indicates.
When it comes to designing, Italy has been home to some of the most creative minds of all time. Leonardo da Vinci was not only a genius at art, but also at technological design, to the point that some of his creations are studied by scientists even today.

When entering the field, the biggest advantage of an Italian design company is the access to outstanding craftsmanship and skills. When combined with modern technology, these tricks of the trade, or trucchi del mestiere, can produce marvels.
So, to celebrate with us, Italian-style; take pen and paper and write down the following holiday-related phrase: Buon Natale.

We are sharing some of our favourite Italian Christmas Recipes below:
IMPORTANT – Prepare and Serve on a Fenix surface 😉

Santa-Pasti Wreath

Ingredients (serves 8)
Rosemary sprigs
4 ounces peppadew peppers
2 pounds assorted cured meats, such as salami, prosciutto and mortadella
1 pound assorted cheeses, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano in bite-size chunks and bocconcini
1/2 pound marinated olives
1/2 pound marinated vegetables, such as onions or peppers

Preparation (20 minutes)
Line the edge of a large, round platter with the rosemary sprigs. Nestle the peppers in the rosemary. Arrange the meats, cheeses, olives and vegetables on the platter.

Lasagna Bolognese

Ingredients (serves 8)
3 tablespoons EVOO
4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound 85% lean ground beef chuck
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan
3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles

Preparation (75 minutes)
In a deep skillet or pot, cook 1 tbsp. EVOO and the pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook, stirring, until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes; push to the side of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tbsp. EVOO to the center of the pan and crumble in the ground beef; cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Break up the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and 2 cups water to the skillet; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat; let cool. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk in a steady stream and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from the heat, stir in 1 cup Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

In a pot of boiling, salted water, add the remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO and the lasagna noodles. Cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; add 3/4 of the cup meat sauce to coat. Add a layer of noodles, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup of the meat sauce, then a layer of noodles; add 1 cup of the bechamel, spreading to coat. Repeat the layers. Add a fifth layer of noodles and top with the remaining meat sauce; dollop with the remaining bechamel. Cover with greased parchment, then wrap the pan with foil. Bake for 1 hour; uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes more. Loosen the foil; let stand for 30 minutes before slicing.

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