It is hard to believe that a new year is already upon us, given the unimaginable detours and confusion that 2020 has created throughout the world. Yet, time has a way to move on, no matter what, and once again we are about to celebrate Christmas and a New Year, however so very different and unsettling this time around.

As I think back to prior festivities, I realize that so much will likely be missing next month, as little or no traveling and partying will be feasible. If only I could be back in Italy (fig. 1) for a few days, this is how I would love to spend a day celebrating Natale e Capodanno. A quaint little restaurant out of the way in Umbria (fig. 2), the Leon d'Oro in Leonessa, would be my choice for the evening, where family and dear friends would gather for a wonderful time and a superb dinner. The tagliatelle con funghi di bosco (fig. 3) are my favorite along with some great reds (fig. 4) from nearby Toscana, certainly preceded by the traditional prosciutto and cheese antipasto (fig. 5). Grilled sausages, lamb chops and other meats (fig. 6) are traditional and always so good, however, should I have been somewhere near the sea, a grigliata di pesce (fig. 7) would have been perfect! 

The choices are simply infinite when it comes to restaurants (figs. 8,9) in Italy. I always tell friends that no mediocre place would survive for long since Italians are so rigorous and so used to eating well. The same thing goes for vino (figs. 10,11), certainly an integral part of any Italian meal! 

The circumstances of 2020 have possibly brought all of us back to the realization that sometimes the little, simple moments in life are the most valuable and rewarding in the long run. Family values have suddenly been rediscovered by many, along with the almost forgotten happiness of just being with our family and loved ones, sharing the time we now have as tomorrow has become so uncertain. Buon Natale to all (fig. 12) and a much happier 2021!