Friday, July 25, 2014

"Raspberry Trifle" & A “Limoncello Raspberry Cocktail” To Celebrate "Christmas In July"

It has been extremely hot across the country this summer so far. Everyone is wishing for some relief from the heat. Aren’t you? As we think about the fall and winter, with those crisp cool nights we know we can‘t change the season, but we can dream of “Christmas in July!” That is what many people do year after year. It’s an unofficial holiday which refers to a Winter-Christmas-themed celebration held in July.  

The specific beginnings of the “Christmas in July” tradition are not very clear, but it is believed to have started in Europe, as a way to celebrate Christmas in the summer. It has been said that a group of Irish tourists who went on vacation to Sydney’s Blue Mountains in the summer months of July in 1980. This may have been the original start of this unofficial holiday. Away from the summer temperatures in their country, they were overjoyed at the sight of snow in the mountains. It is believed that these travelers convinced the owner of a local hotel in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to hold a party called, “Yulefest.” The idea was an instant hit and now each year in July they hold a Christmas Party. Hence forth “Christmas in July,” became a tradition and continues to this day with a festival and many celebrations.

In the Northern hemisphere there are parties that are given in July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of the holiday but with warmer temperatures. In the midst of the scorching summer months, people have parties which may include Santa Claus, ice cream, and cold foods. In the United States, this festival has become highly commercialized. It is used more often as a marketing tool than as an actual unofficial holiday. Many retail stores offer specials “Christmas in July” sales that started around 1950. Restaurants offer special discounts and even television stations show re-runs of Christmas specials. Hallmark for example, will show Christmas movies all month long. The Home Shopping networks (HSN) and QVC have also included shows that are titled “Christmas in July,” with special sales. This is mainly because most retailers tend to sell overstock of their Christmas items to make room for next year’s inventory, and before the “Back to School” shopping period begins in August.

Some families love this concept of “Christmas in July,” especially if their family members are scattered across the states, because it is easier for them to travel in July when the weather is more favorable for a vacation, rather than in the freezing winter months when long distance travels are really hard due to snow storms. Celebrating “Christmas in July” can take place at any time during the month of July. At the Bakken amusement park in Denmark, Christmas is celebrated in July for three days, as well as the annual World Santa Claus Congress, attended by Santa Clauses from all over the world, accompanied by their wives and elves. Then, there are those individuals that choose to celebrate “Christmas in July” just because it is a clear excuse to have a party.

My readers know that I love anything Christmas! This concept is a wonderful way to spread cheer and have fun in the summer no matter what way you celebrate “Christmas in July.” It is a great way to deal with the heat of the day. My recipe this week gives us the opportunity to celebrate the summer and “Christmas in July” together. It is called a “Raspberry Trifle.” This recipe is adapted from “Taste of Home” magazine. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate so it is nice and cold, especially for summer parties. Each spoonful is a bit of “Christmas” as you can taste the sweet berries, mixed with a creamy center, and just a touch of chocolate all wrapped in one simple bite. Try to stay cool and remember Christmas is 5 months away from today!

"Raspberry Trifle"

Prep: 20 minutes & chilling
Yield: 12-15 Servings

1 loaf (10-3/4 ounces) frozen pound cake
1-1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of sugar, divided
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen, raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 box of fresh raspberries
3~quart glass trifle bowl

Slice cake into 18-20 slices about 1/2 inches thick, set aside. In a bowl, beat cream with 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla and the remaining sugar. Fold in 2 cups of the whipped cream; set aside for topping. Drain raspberries, reserving juice; set berries aside.

Line the bottom of a 3-quart glass bowl with a third of the cake slices. Drizzle with some of the raspberry juice. Spread with 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture. Sift a 1/4 of the cocoa over the top. Sprinkle with a 1/3 of the berries. Repeat layers twice. Top with the remaining cream cheese mixture, whipped cream, and sifted cocoa. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

I have a “Christmas in July” gift for you…A special cocktail to keep you cool and in the spirit of Christmas….

“Limoncello Raspberry Cocktail

Serves: 2 

1 cup of Prosecco
1/4 cup of Limoncello
Crushed Ice   
2 tablespoons of fresh Raspberries

Combine Prosecco and Limoncello in a small pitcher. Place a spoonful of crushed ice into each, of 2 Champagne glasses and top with raspberries. Pour mixture on the ice and raspberries in the glasses. Serve immediately.

Till Next Time………

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Replies
    1. Good afternoon Orlando, thanks for your visit and I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe. By all means try it, it is so cool and refreshing, and don't forget the cocktail! Have a wonderful weekend...Dottie :)

  2. Good evening Dottie ,
    What a delightful post ... love it and why not have Christmas in July . As usual , your post has lots of valuable information , lots of stores down here start advertisements the day after Thanksgiving ... I think we all would love to have Christmas in July ... that would give us reason to walk off the pounds we put on 4th July ;- D
    The Raspberry Trifle is so festive and it along will put you in the Christmas mood , I get hungry just looking at it yummy good .
    Love the Raspberry cocktail ... goes well with the trifle . I will be back to blogging this week (hopefully) , we have a camp on the lake and I haven't done much cooking , everyone had fun , a month before school starts and we will take them to Reno for vacation , hubby and his family have a business there .
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us and have a blessed weekend ... Nee :)

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for your visit and for your comment. You always make me smile when I read your comments. Here on Long Island, we also have sales the day after Thanksgiving, but they also have sales with Christmas in July throughout the whole month. Yes, I agree, would be nice to have Christmas anytime, as you know I love Christmas so I would't mind when it was. The Raspberry Trifle can be used at any time of the year, so I thought this would be perfect for both, (Christmas & Summer) especially that the month of July is also Berry Month. The cocktail is also a perfect one for any time, but I enjoy the raspberries, love all berries.
      Sounds like you have been having a wonderful time with the children and family. Camping on the lake must be such a fun time. Reno and seeing family is a great idea before school starts..Hope that you have a fabulous time when you go.
      Looking forward to seeing your posts and recipes when you get back to it. Thank you again...have a blessed weekend...
      Dottie :)

  3. I think the spirit of Christmas should last throughout the year. I concept of being with family and the cooking and sharing of good times.
    If this brings families together it should be Christmas everyday.
    Beautiful recipes. I love the lemincello anything.
    Thank you dear Dottie for all your heartfelt comments and caring. Blessings, Catherine

    1. Thank you dear Catherine, for stopping over and your lovely comment. I agree of course, the spirit of Christmas should be all year long. It brings people together and they seem to be happier and nicer to each other at that time of the year. That is what the world needs now, is the Christmas Spirit! Thanks for enjoying the recipes, and I second that motion about Limoncello! Hope that you have a blessed weekend with your family. Dottie :)

  4. Almost everyone loves Christmas! It is a special time of the year. It is the time when famlies get together and enjoy a beautful generous meal.
    I hear it is very hot where you are. I am in Italy now and the weather was better in the UK. How weird. I have never experienced this before!
    In any case I am enjoying my relatives and having plenty of fun!
    Lots of love x

    1. Dear Alida, I agree, Christmas is a special time of year...Family time, food time, and we can't forget about our faith, that is the real reason for the season as they say. Yes, it is very hot here, but the humidity is really what is even worse than the heat. That is what I hate. The weather is very strange lately. You can't seem to figure it out anymore. So happy for you that you are in Italy with your family. A wonderful change for you and your children must be thrilled. Thank you Alida for your visit and your lovely comment. Hope that your stay is a fun one and make memories to take back to the UK. Dottie :)

  5. What a heavenly Raspberry Trifle, Dottie! My goodness it sure looks good:) I have to say, it's feeling like Fall around here the last couple of days. It has gotten so cool I'm actually worried about the vegetable garden.

    I never knew about the story of Christmas in Juy. Very interesting, I must say. I too think the spirit of Christmas should be year long but I must admit also, I have never celebrated Christmas in July.

    I remember a long time ago one of my relatives wanted to celebrate Christmas in July but, she was a strong believer in thinking Jesus was born in July...Just saying...

    To top off that trifle with a Limoncello Raspberry Cocktail would be just perfect. I kinda wish I had it in front of me right now:) Thanks for sharing, Dottie...

    1. Dear Louise,
      Thanks for stopping over...The trifle was delicious, just perfect for a nice treat. Please send down some of that cool weather here. We are still very hot, and yesterday it was so humid, it was horrible. I am sure if you spoke to your sister she would have told you that the heat is still here. I also do hope that your veggies will be ok.
      I agree that the Christmas spirit should be around us all the time. We have never celebrated Christmas in July either, but I do know they have so many sales with the labels Christmas in July. I think that relative is correct when she said that she thought Jesus was born in the summer. It is said that it was very hot at that time, when he was born, and the summer. The Catholic Pope proclaimed that we should celebrate his birth according to the winter solstice, This was done, many, many years ago and it stuck. So it truly was a manmade holiday according to the time of year. I wish I had one of those Limoncello Raspberry Cocktails right now as well. So glad that you enjoyed this post, dear friend. Have a blessed week...
      Dottie :)