Every Christmas Eve, John Vitale, owner and chef of Caffe Anello in Westwood, along with his wife, Alissa, prepare the traditional Italian meal known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes for their families.
The story behind the tradition is that no meat should be consumed on Christmas Eve (La Vigilia), so Italians eat seafood. But they don't just eat one dish; they typically eat seven (the number thought to represent the seven sacraments). And some families create course after course of luxurious seafood dishes, often as many as 10 or even 13, which is thought to represent the 12 apostles plus Jesus.
Regardless of the religious symbolism, for most people the main point of the meal is to gather family and friends and enjoy delicious food.
Photography by Anne-Marie Caruso
Food: Chef John Vitale, Caffe Anello, Westwood
Florals: Sadhna Babani, Monsoon Flowers & Gifts, Cresskill