Christmas in Wooster Square was a wonder of food, ritual

Dec 22, 2020 322

BY: Frank Carrano

The Christmas season in Wooster Square used to begin with the decorations that were placed in downtown New Haven. You see, we were all just a few blocks away from the splendor that was created in the store windows, the lighted arches across Chapel Street with a small tree on either side, Santa and the reindeer sailing through the air on the corner of Church and Chapel and, of course the tree in the center of the Green. These were the signals that the holiday season was approaching. 

Within our neighborhood, the holiday signs were much more subtle. In our store, for instance, the specialty items would begin to appear: Perugina chocolates, Italian dried figs packed in a large wicker basket, dried cod — baccala or stoccafisso — nuts, especially the filberts that were always toasted before being placed on the table after dinner, chestnuts in sacks and jars of honey to be drizzled on the holiday struffoli or zeppole.

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