Let us be generous with applause, it’s the curtain call for the year gone by and all the achievements brought in its fold. Riding gallantly upon the back of these developments, the festive season arrives at our doorstep with a fair share of jubilation, merriment, gifts, reunions with friends and family and a brand new set of resolutions to match the newness of the year that lies ahead of us. 

Among all good things to look forward to this Christmas and New Year, there’s also the food and drink, especially the food that’s at times the purport and at times the essence of a spirited gathering. Sooner or later a party converges at the table, and a great deal of what is served up at the table contributes to, if not determines the success of the occasion. Babylonians christening the New Year after the Sumerian word for barley, which they harvested during the spring season is the very first documented record of the commemoration of a new year, dating back 4000 years, that establishes the all too important link with food. 

Good food is believed to augur well, the reason why it is an intrinsic part of innumerable customs world over. In anticipation of the New Year, the ancient Romans exchanged bay and palm branches with fruits and sweets attached to it in the hope that the approaching year be fruitful and prosperous. The Egyptians originally observed their transit into a succeeding year with the celebratory Feast of the Opet in the month of June when the Nile would overflow and bring all work to a standstill. Natives of Naples, to this day exchange dried figs wrapped in laurel leaves. People of Piedmont in Italy eat tiny grains of rice that represents money and abundance symbolised by foods like cornbread, cabbage, and black-eyed peas in South America. It is undeniable that the connection between food and festival is immemorial. I quote a dear friend of mine who firmly believes “the food is half the festival”. 

The mention of Christmas conjures images of Plum cakes, Turkey roasts, full bodied wines and a veritable smörgasbord amidst the holly, baubles andmistletoe.This ritual passage year on year with the approach of Christmas followed by the New Year and its bounty, is a gentle reminder to us, to do all that we haven’t done so far, take in the sights, sounds and smells, and most importantly cultivate finer tastes, stepping into a more enriched future. 

Extending a warm welcome from ITC Hotels across the country, where the Christmas bells are tolling and preparations are afoot to host elaborate midnight meals, buffets, brunches, dinners and the most entertaining parties to usher in the year that beckons, here’s wishing you a merry Christmas and a bright new year. 

For more details please visit the Gourmet Guide.