by Allie Misch
Photos Courtesy of Callie Trafford and Jacquelyn Poussot
Maybe it's the act of sending our winter issue off to print (on stands December 5th!) or the irreplaceable aura only the first real snow of the season can create, but we are already daydreaming about "the most wonderful time of the year" here at Edible Columbus. Over hot chocolate and the final proof of our 20th issue, we swapped stories of our favorite holiday traditions. From Thanksgiving recipes passed down from great-great-grandmothers, to venturing out in the cold to pick out the perfect tree from the farm, we reaffirmed how fundamental traditions are to making this season so special to us. As diverse as our rituals are, one treasured tradition that gets our office in the holiday spirit every year is stopping into Pistacia Vera to slow down and pick up sweet treats as gifts. We love that we can count on their kitchen to get a taste of the passion their local artisans put into each handmade item, so we asked two Pistacia Vera team members to share their own memories of what sets this season apart from the rest.
"Coming from a family so spread in both age and geography, the holidays always seemed different year to year; a different mix of family with different traditions," says Emily Hutton, Executive Pastry Chef at Pistacia Vera.
But no matter what, every year the most consistent tradition in her family remains a gathering over a home-cooked meal with one extra-special recipe: her grandmother's yeasted orange rolls.
"Every Christmas Eve dinner we had those rolls; buttery and soft with a perfectly set orange juice and sugar glaze. I grew up making them side by side with her, learning the tricks," she remembers.
"I am pretty sure it is requirement that they are baked in a shallow, disposable, foil pan from 'that weird aisle' in the grocery store," says Emily.
The dough for her grandmother's yeasted orange rolls is first hand-rolled, then cut with a biscuit cutter into small circles. Each piece is dipped in melted butter and folded in half to capture it. The circles are then arranged in the pan, covered and set aside to rise before being baked fresh and glazed warm.
"These rolls are the definition of our holidays," she says. "I am so lucky and so proud to be able to continue the tradition of making them every year, no matter who or how many family [members] are at the table."
Erin's favorite Pistacia Vera holiday treat: Pear Frangipan
"My mom loves Christmas," says Erin Mitchell, Pistacia Vera' General Manager.
Their house is decorated almost year-round and Christmas music can be found playing on the stereo outside of the holiday season, so without surprise, her mother makes the holiday season extra-special for Erin and her three siblings.
"From finding the pickle ornament, to cookie baking parties, our family is nothing but traditions," says Erin.
"My favorite family tradition is that every year we go to Midnight Christmas Mass at a beautiful seminary in the country, then come home and open one present."
This is the only present that Erin's parents claim ownership over as "all the others are from Santa, still."
One year stands out in Erin's memory as she recalls a night with her siblings after opening their present.
"When I was 12 or so, we all received rollerblades [which was] the most exciting gift ever! We put on our new, awesome 'blades' and went skating up and down the street at 2am."
"It was a perfect moment," she says.
Erin's favorite Pistacia Vera holiday treat: Gingerbread Macaron
Hungry for more? Visit Pistacia Vera's German Village shop located at 541 South Third Street or find them inside North Market to make them a new part of your holiday traditions this year.