Every Christmas Eve our family has a long-standing tradition that started with Grandpa Jack Newsham and entails making a run to The Hill in South St. Louis for Volpi salami and other delicious foods. In case you are not aware Volpi is a St. Louis staple started in 1902, and has a long history of delicious Italian meats and cheeses. The strong-tasting salami paired with classic provel cheese is a must try for St. Louisans and visitors.
The day always starts early in the morning at Volpi to snatch up some delicious salami, hot coppa, capicola, proscuitto, and provel cheese. There are always free samples on the counter to wet your appetite and we usually come across some new meats we haven’t tried. Most years we pick at least one new item out of the extensive selection of Italian meats and cheeses to try out for fun. This year it was fresh spicy salsiccia and garlic salaminis!
My Dad usually makes a point during the visit to remind store owner and Italian migrant, Armando Pasetti, of our family tradition and how he remembers visiting Volpi as a kid with his Dad, Grandpa Newsham, over the holidays. Armando in return tells stories of how he came to America at the age of 14 to assist his uncle, founder John Volpi, with the family business. He then usually challenges us to pick out which of the young lads in photos on the wall is him. The store itself has changed since our last holiday trip as they renovated the space in the past year and created more room and visual appeal for customers.
This tradition is anticipated all year as a family fun holiday experience and usually results in some great stories about the experience: random drive by snow ball fights with strangers, people playing songs on a harmonica to the kids, and experiencing the holiday cheer of everyone out and about. The fun changes every year as we add on stops, try new foods, make holiday drinks, etc….
Next we head to Missouri Bakery for some sweet treats. The fam favorites include german chocolate cookies (Uncle Chris), whipped cream puffs (Grandma and Grandpa), apple tart (me), and a variety of other sweet pastries. Lastly we pick up our order of fresh breads and rolls from Marconi Bakery. If you’ve not had Marconi bread you better hook yourself up ASAP. It’s amazing! This year we picked up a pizza from Marconi also since it’s a new menu item. Yes we also had pizza… Don’t judge. It’s the holidays!
Now it’s time to EAT! We head home start a fire, put on Christmas music and eat an amazing lunch followed by several hours of food coma. ALL WORTH IT!
Overall, we all love this tradition and look forward to it every year.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOLIDAY TRADITIONS?