Stocking Stuffers from Italy [Part 2]
Looking for a little something special to wrap up this holiday season? More suggestions, Made in Italy!
After the luxuriously expensive Gucci handbags and Cucinelli cashmere in Part 1, this second part of our selection of irresistible Italian stocking stuffers features four gifts which are both economic and delicious!
A Packet of Peperoncino
There's nothing quite like a spicy Capsicum Frutescens to warm you to your toes in winter.
A great goodluck gift, peperoncino is believed to bring good fortune and boost fertility, with powers to ward off evil and to spice up both your cooking and your love life!
Calabria grows some of the most potent, peperoncino in Italy and many of the region's traditional dishes, from the fantastically fiery Nduja sausage to the life-threateningly spicy "Ammazza Suocera" (mother-in-law killer!) pasta sauce, feature this local specialty.
For maximum aphrodisiacal effect, try Fichi Marano's figs, filled with spicy peperoncino cream and coated in dark chocolate.
Today, you can find peperoncino flavoring everything from grappa to ice-cream. Don't believe me? Check out http://www.sfizidicalabria.com/ Sfizi di Calabria], with their long list of products which can be ordered through their website.
A Bag of Pasta
If your holiday budget is tight, pasta is the perfect low-cost Christmas present', inexpensive, easy to prepare, and a crowd pleaser.
Italy has an amazing variety of pasta types to choose from, including egg pasta, wholegrain pasta, pasta flavored with spinach, squid ink, porcini mushrooms, or cocoa powder. All this in shapes from long pasta to short pasta to unique pasta in the shape of stars, shells, bow ties and others.
You can cook it up or use the seasonal shapes to string as Christmas decorations.
A favorite pasta producer is the Gragnano-based Garofalo, which can be found in gourmet shops across the world
A Box of Lentils
Another inexpensive but authentic Christmas gift, lentils are traditionally eaten at the end of the Italian New Year's Eve dinner to usher in a year's worth of good fortune and prosperity (the round legumes represent coins).
Choose heirloom "lenticchie" from Castelluccio in Umbria, with their pretty green-gold color and delicious peppery flavor, these tiny lentils hold their shape better than any other variety when cooked.
As a special treat, present your package of lentils with a promise of a future trip to see the spectacular flowering of the Castelluccio lentil fields each summer!
A Bottle of Anchovy Oil
A unique condiment, made with anchovies caught in the spring, then salted and dried in the Mediterranean sun, Cetara's Colatura di Alici, or anchovy oil, is the modern day equivalent of "Garum", loved by the ancient Romans.
The best place to buy it is Delfina Battista, the number one producer of Colatura di Alice for over 50 years.
Just a few drops of this liquid gold are all you need to give your pasta dishes an authentic Amalfi Coast flavor.
Our Insider is Anna
Born in the UK, for the last 20 years Anna Madgwick has lived and worked in Italy. She is a freelance copy writer and translator.
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