Modigliani's 12 Days of Christmas

Julie Jurden
This year, we thought it would be fun to put together a 12 Days of Christmas guide that features different Modigliani pieces for all the different people on your holiday shopping list, fun decorating tips and Italian traditions and recipes to try out this holiday season! Follow along each day as we share a gift idea or something new for you try. Enjoy! Wishing you a very happy holiday this year.

 

 

DAY 1: TRIM THE TREE

According to the Italian Christmas tree traditional standards, dads put up the tree, moms set the lights, and children hang the ornaments. The topper of the Christmas tree (responsibility of the youngest in the house) may vary between a star (representing the comet that signed the location of baby Jesus to the Three Kings) and an angel (Gabriel, the Annunciation messenger). 

Decades ago when trees were first introduced in Italian homes, decorations consisted of oranges, clementines, candies, twine, candles and lanterns, and any piece of colored glass. We celebrate this tradition with our beautiful Murano glass ornaments.

 

DAY 2: TOAST THE SEASON

Two Italian sparkling wines caught our attention as we prepare to toast the season, each to be enjoyed alone or with a variety of dishes. We thought the reddish tone of these wines with our green crackle champagne flutes were the perfect pair!

The first, simply called Flor, was created at the Bastianich winery, founded in 1997, which strives to understand the history and culture of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and take it to a new level. Restaurateur Joseph Bastianich with his mother, the renowned chef Lidia Bastianich, bought a vineyard in Buttrio, a town in the Colli Orientali DOC. The family is very precise in their winemaking, controlling yields so that each individual vine produces one bottle of wine. They employ traditional manual methods in the vineyard and create wines that express the character of the land.

Rose-pink in color with aromas of strawberry, minerals and hints of vanilla. Strawberry centric with white pepper and floral hints complimented by energetic bubbles and a refreshing acidity, finishing super dry and crisp. [Even the bubbles are dry!]

Our second sparkling wine named the “Centenario” Grasparossa di Castelvetro amabile (sweet) wine of the Chiarli winery is honored by the Lambrusco di Grasparossa DOC certification. This is a typical product of the Emilia Romagna region. This wine is produced with 100% Lambrusco Grasparossa grapes of Castelvetro. It is an amiable wine with an intense red color with a wide fruity scent. The lively and effervescent foam has a charged pink color. A slightly sweeter choice!

DAY 3: CREATE A KIDS TABLE EVERYONE WILL WANT TO EAT AT

It’s finally December and the spirit of the holiday season is getting in to full swing here in the U.S. For most of us, Thanksgiving officially kicks off the festivities, and for some, it even begins as early as Halloween. But no matter when your family traditionally welcomes the season, it’s a magical and wondrous time for the little ones in our lives.

Ask anyone you know and they’ll probably be able to spout out one tradition that their family has had or continues during the holiday season. While the origins of this special time are based on religious and spiritual beliefs, many traditions celebrated are born from families creating memories in their own way and then sustained for years to come. It’s something that brings us together in familiarity and comfort.

Italians also understand this and base many of their traditions on bringing family together and creating a meaningful experience their children will remember and share for the rest of their lives. They also celebrate within their own cultural timeline.

It is not only Santa who brings Christmas gifts. Right across Italy, on January 6 - marking the end of the holiday season - there is a visit from la Befana. This translates literally as ‘the good witch’, and legend says that on this date she would fill stockings with candy for the children.

Our kid’s table is filled with fun and tradition including stickers, card games, stockings from Befana filled with candy and the book that tells the story. Bright and cheerful espresso cups and salad plates and silverware just their size! Complete with pizza, fruit kebabs and of course the traditional struffoli. Recipe found here.

No matter what you have planned this season, we hope you all are lucky enough to spend just a small bit of time seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child and creating new traditions and memories for years to come. The pure joy, laughter, and whimsy children evoke is the most simple yet poignant way we can think to embrace and celebrate the season.

DAY 4: WARM THE COCOA

Italian hot chocolate — also called Ciccolata Calda — is rich, thick, and decadent. It has an almost pudding-like consistency and big, bold chocolate flavor. And it’s nothing like that dried stuff you mix with warm water or milk. Create some of your own and let your family and friends choose their favorite toppings!

DAY 5: BAKE FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Whether made for your family or as a gift, everyone will enjoy this Ciambella Italian Lemon Sponge Cake for breakfast, dessert or a special snack! Our red Rosso cake plate with any of our cake servers is the perfect combination.

DAY 6: CELEBRATE FAMILY

This merry table evokes a feeling of being in a cozy ski lodge nestled in the Italian Alps, sharing a feast after an active day in the mountains. Creating a beautiful table doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive.

What was our inspiration?

To start with, I knew I wanted to use a base of tartan plaid from the beginning but wanted to be certain it wouldn’t conflict with the dinnerware or overtake the table. My vision was to find a runner allowing us to leave some of the table exposed. I couldn’t find the right runner, however I found the perfect plaid at our local fabric store instead. Rather than laying it in a straight line down the center of the table, we draped the fabric casually and slightly askew, which gave it a more informal and relaxed tone.

Once the plaid base was in place, it became clear that the remaining elements should be clean in color and shape to support the theme and to offset the more busy design of the plaid. We started with large glass votives and plain white pillar candles to add some height and weight to balance the plaid. Hearty yet beautiful magnolia branches add a perfect hint of green, keeping it traditional yet unexpected. Finally, the addition of twinkle lights provide a festive quality to complete the table setting.

Let’s break down the winter table a bit by looking at a few distinctive elements. Let’s begin with the place card.

Many of our items can serve multiple purposes, so get creative and try a few things out. For example, our Rosso espresso cups have found another use besides serving up a caffeine jolt. Try trimming some juniper greens and placing them in the cup with cinnamon sticks. Or you can use other greenery that’s just as elegant and fragrant. It’s a simple project that looks quite festive on any table. By turning the place card “on its side,” you can add a fun twist that takes the table from everyday to special occasion in a matter of minutes.

Next, let’s look at layers and color.

The plates stacked below are a mix and match of the Montagne Invernali collection combined with pieces from Rosso and the rich green of the Frutta Laccata charger. Combining and layering collections with different shapes, sizes, and colors is a simple way to add interest and depth to the table.

Using simple layering techniques with seasonal fresh elements and festive tableware make this an easy option for your winter dinner party!

  

DAY 7: GIFT THOSE WHO GIFT YOU ALL YEAR

On Day 7 let's check out 7 gift options for teachers, friends, neighbors, family and anyone special in your life that you want to gift this season!

Hopefully these suggestions have sparked your creativity with endless combinations and possibilities!

DAY 8: HOST A COOKIE EXCHANGE

So special to share recipes and celebrate together during the holidays. Pizzelle are wonderful cookies that taste good and look beautiful! Our have just a dusting of powdered sugar but they are delicious with Nutella, melted chocolate or jams. Everyone will love to take some of these home!

DAY 9: ENTERTAIN FRIENDS

Whimsical fun and easy to put together, nothing says Christmas like POP! Our POP collection is wonderful year round but we have added some Christmas to the mix and pulled out every color in it for a cheerful holiday table. A greenery mix for texture down the center with simple white carnations and a bowl of ornaments mix with colorful Via Veneto flatware and Tivoli glasses to make a truly celebratory table.

DAY 10: LIGHT THE WAY

Light our Christmas candle! Pure freshly cut Christmas tree. The strong scent of Fir balanced with a touch of sweet nectar. This wonderful scent fills the Murano glass votive which will have a beautiful glow as it burns. The glass vessel can be cleaned and reused.

DAY 11: SHARE A DISH

There is a wonderful tradition that says that once you have eaten what was offered to you in the container, you should never return back an empty container as a mark of courtesy. Often, people bring in food to others who are ill or in crisis or simply because they want to share the good food with them. While they would never want to bother you cooking or buying something in order to return the dish, but if you manage some time off and fill it with some special treats from your end, it would only make them happy, don't you think? Not just that, it would also continue the trail of unspoken love and care which was initiated from their side. There is no need for you to go out of your way to get/cook the most exotic dish to be given in return. Some biscotti with a little thank-you note works just as sweet.

DAY 12: GIVE AND GIVE BACK

Our angel plates offer the opportunity to gift a beautiful plate while also giving your support to a wonderful cause.

The Angel Plate (Piastra Angelo) is commissioned to honor those afflicted with Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder afflicting young girls. They are known as Rett angels, and here we honor them as such. This is a one-of-a-kind gift, limited in number and signed by the artist. All of the profits go to Rett Syndrome research. Visit www.rettsyndrome.org for more information on ways to support the cause and thank you for your support.

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Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Julie Jurden

As October arrives, most of us begin thinking about the fast approaching holidays. It’s the time of year when we look forward to sharing our precious time with family and friends, and enjoying the traditions and festivities of the season.
Additionally, it’s a time of year where many of us want to extend our generosity beyond traditional gifts through the giving of our time and money to those causes that have special meaning to us, for whatever reasons.

For us, October carries a great importance because it’s Rett syndrome awareness month.

What’s the significance to us? Because, it was just 22 years ago when our family first met a wonderful young lady named Bea. Ever since that introduction, she’s been a blessing in our lives along with her parents, grandparents, and sister.

If you’re not familiar with Rett syndrome, it’s a rare non-inherited genetic postnatal neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and begins to show its effects in infancy or early childhood. It can often be misdiagnosed as autism or cerebral palsy, because it causes problems in brain function that are responsible for cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor, and autonomic function. These can then impact learning, speech, sensory sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and even chewing, swallowing, and digestion.

As one can imagine, Rett syndrome can present numerous challenges to those living with the disease, as well as those caring for them. But with therapy, assistance, and endless amounts of unconditional love, every single one of them can benefit greatly by participating in typical life activities like school, social, educational, and recreational programs. Even our Bea was able to attend her first prom like any other young girl her age.

Years ago we made the decision to do something to not only help raise awareness about Rett syndrome, but to raise funds for the incredible research underway.

Hence the Angel Plate was born.

We started by producing one each year with the idea to create a set of four that could be displayed together on a wall or shelf, or used during special occasions. We explained the significance to our artists and partners in Italy, and they have been honored to design and produce Piastra Angelo with great care. These plates are a one-of-a-kind gift, limited in number and signed by the artist. 100% of the profits go to Rett syndrome research. You can order a single plate or collect all four as we still have a few from the previous years available. In addition we will continue each year to give 10% of all of our sales for a week in October to benefit Rett Syndrome research for years to come.

While we know our contribution is a very small one, we like to think that we’ve been a part of helping further research, and ultimately finding a cure for Rett syndrome.

The amazing news is that researchers have been making wonderful strides over the past several years. Their research strategy has yielded unprecedented results. If you’d like to learn more, visit www.rettsyndrome.org for ways you can support this important cause.

We are incredibly grateful to all of you for your continued support. Thank you on behalf of all of us, and most importantly, our lovely Bea and her family.

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Setting Your Fall Table

Julie Jurden

The holiday season is around the corner and we want to help simplify yours with what we hope will be inspirational ideas for entertaining and gift giving so you can focus on what really matters; time with family and friends. We’ll be sharing ideas and offering tips that we learned while collaborating with our talented food stylist and one of our favorite designers.

A Tale of Two Tables

In both cases, to emphasize the harvest theme and our dinnerware collections, we chose to incorporate some of the fresh, beautiful bounty of the season by integrating natural textures and simple fragrance. By sourcing our local nurseries and produce stands, we found a variety of seasonal  colors and shapes to complement the table, dinnerware, and of course, to provide a delicious meal. 

TABLE #1

 
Our more casual table features our Lungotevere, Taormina, and Laccata Puro collections which already have the warm fall tones of butterscotch, rust, and fall foliage, so we complemented our table with white pumpkins over the more traditional orange. The addition of a more neutral palette allows the food and dinnerware to take center stage.

We love the movement of the trees and leaves that our talented painters have captured inspired by the Lungotevere which is the waterfront along the Tiber River that winds through Rome flanked with beautiful trees that show their spectacular colors in the fall.

The addition of eucalyptus provides a lovely aromatic (be sure to trim up the stems) and is visually appealing, and the dahlias add the perfect amount of texture and pop of color. A little tip I learned was to use odd numbers and not be too regimented about placement. As the table fills with food and serving pieces, this approach is more relaxed and natural.

TABLE #2

Our more formal setting features our classic originals Frutta Laccata, Sogno Toscano, and Terre di Chianti (Fruits, Tuscan Dream, and Land of the wine) which are mixed with our solids Taormina in rust and Laccata Puro in butterscotch. The perfect iconic Italian combination.

Italian fruits and vegetables are the foundation for flavor in the country's cuisine, from figs to lemons to tomatoes. Let’s not overlook the wonderful grapes and olives as well! The ability of Italy's chefs to make wonderful use of the country's abundant harvest is a major reason Italian cuisine is so coveted. The backdrops of Tuscany mirror our Sogno Toscano where each piece provides a painting of the Tuscan landscape that evokes the sunsets that have captured imaginations for generations.

This tablescape is presented on the traditional Italian long table which exudes celebration and warmth and yet the full setting of glasses, chargers, and flatware along with a stunning floral centerpiece lend a more formal feel. Notice the simple greens, lemons and artichokes as the runner for the table which is affordable, simple and could be enough on its own with votives as shown or with an additions of some smaller floral touches as well.

 

For me, the lessons I learned were to focus on quality not quantity, simple is always better, don’t be afraid to mix and match, and relax and enjoy the process as it evolves.

For more, please enjoy our post about Place Settings.

Focusing in on the specific place setting for your guests, each table offers something unique. 
Both options have the same ending feel that is the Italian way. Family gathering for a wonderful meal with love and laughter. Embrace La Grande Vita this season!

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Festa della Primavera

Julie Jurden
Spring and the beginning of summer bring the most stunning flower festivals in Italy. Festa della Primavera is a spring festival that signifies Italia is in full bloom!

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Baked Turkey Ricotta Meatballs over Polenta

Julie Jurden
Diane Morrisey, a friend we met through The FeedFeed's virtual Sunday Sauce event, is a digital creator and Instagram cooking machine! We have been following all of her recipes for months now and loving every dish she creates. She recently posted a series of Instagram stories creating the most perfect Italian polenta and meatball dish and we just had to share. It looks extra delicious in our Buongiorno! platter if we do say so ourselves. Diane's recipe is the ultimate comfort food and also super simple to make - give it a shot! You won't regret it. 

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The Stories Behind Our Flatware Collections

Julie Jurden

Looking to accent your table? 

Flatware can add a bold pop of color or compliment a neutral place setting. All Modigliani flatware collections pull inspiration directly from places all around Italy. From traditional elegance to bright and bold, Modigliani stainless flatware features styles everyone will love. Get inspired!

Learn the stories and the rich history behind each of our collections!

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Spinach, Carrot and Coconut Soup

Julie Jurden
This time of year, a cozy night in with warm Spinach, Carrot and Coconut Soup is just what the doctor ordered.

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Our Stay at Home Guide

Julie Jurden
We are sharing a few ideas we had to battle the virus blues, looking forward to warmer days and returning to our routines.

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Fall Entertaining Series | Tablescapes

Julie Jurden
The holiday season is around the corner and we want to help simplify yours with what we hope will be inspirational ideas for entertaining and gift giving so you can focus on what really matters; time with family and friends.

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Shake Off Your Inhibitions, It’s Carnevale!

Julie Jurden
Imagine you’re walking down a crowded street, in a city with which you may be unfamiliar, shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of thousands of complete strangers. You and your new friends dance in step as music plays at every stretch.

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