Spread the Italy love Gift Guide
I know I don't have to tell you this, but this year has been a strange one, friends. I don't think I'm alone in feeling the need to connect at a deeper level in all aspects of life after all these months of silent solitude & turmoil.
And in a year where nothing has stayed the same for more than 2 seconds, one thing stays constant. Our love for Italy and her people, food & traditions.
Why not combine those 2 connections as we think about gift giving this year?
I've been thinking a lot about small businesses in Italy this year and how covid has affected them- bringing their businesses to a standstill and causing everyone to become very resilient & creative in the all now familiar "pivot" that people and businesses all over the world have had to do.
My gift guide this year is focused on a few small businesses that have gotten creative with how to marry their passions & serving their customers in these unprecedented & socially distant times.
If you're feeling like you've been on an emotional rollercoaster this year- there's nothing better than beating the blues by GIVING. Let's spread the Italy love together!
Supporting these small businesses while at the same time getting your Italy fix for yourself, family or friends is a lovely way to do just that.
Florentine Gourmet Club by Curious Appetite
About: Curious Appetite's Florentine Gourmet Club offers Italian specialty food boxes which make the perfect gift! They are even great to stock your very own Italian pantry with hard-to-find specialty ingredients (think organic risotto rice from a family owned farm in Tuscany, dried porcini, freshly pressed olive oil, panettone, truffles, pecorino cheese, and so much more!).
All of the selected bites and ingredients are from small artisanal producers in Italy. Each box comes with detailed note cards and recipes with the hope of bringing a little feel of Italy to those currently grounded.
All foods are selected and tested by sommelier and food writer Coral Sisk, whose writing can be found on sites like Eater, Vogue and Vice and whose world class food tours come recommended by Lonely Planet!
If you are into exploring different liquors and cocktail recipes, Curious Appetite also has Negroni and Amaro box with incredible bottles you can't find in the states! Perfect for the aperitivo lover in your life.
These boxes can be mailed around the world, so wherever you are, you can bring a taste of Italy home.
Who it's for: Everyone who wants to enjoy a taste of Italy in their own home. Foodies & Italophiles will love trying local delicacies hand picked by Coral, founder of Curious Appetite. Other options include the Negroni club, virtual cooking classes & food tastings.
Tuck this away for future travels: Plan an aperitivo crawl or other foodie adventure with Coral & the Curious Appetite team on your next trip to Florence.
Festa Italiana, a new cookbook by Letizia Mattiacci
About: Letizia's cooking school & agriturismo business came to a halt due to covid, so she has used this time to create her 2nd cookbook- Festa Italiana.(Recipes inspired by the festivals and traditions of rural Italy) Letizia's newest book is focused on the festivals and food celebrations of Umbria and the surrounding area and I was a happy recipe tester for her new project.
Who it's for: Anyone who loves to cook, loves authentic Italian cuisine or loves to learn about a culture through the food.
Tuck this away for future travels: Plan a stay at Letizia's B&B and cooking school in the hills near Assisi.
Award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil from San Potente in Assisi
About: If you can't travel to Italy, the next best thing is to have a supply of highest quality EVOO in your pantry! San Potente Extra Virgin Olive Oil is liquid gold and I order it every year from Corinna and her family. (This is also our friend and partner that we spend time with during our Olive Harvest Tour every year)
Who it's for: Everyone. Would make a fantastic gift for any foodie or Italy lover- or keep it to your self for all your kitchen adventures. I won't tell...
Tuck this away for future travels: Corinna and her family have a beautiful villa and apartment rentals in Umbria that you can rent for your holiday. They are excellent hosts and have an assortment of lodging styles for you to choose from.
Gourmet Food Boxes from KM Zero Tours
About: KM Zero Tours is passionate about sharing the slow side of Tuscany- introducing you to local artisans and small producers. It is with this in mind that they are introducing their new Gourmet Food Boxes straight from Tuscany to your door.
Who it's for: Anyone who is missing Tuscany, lovers of Italian food & handmade artisan items.
Tuck this away for future travels: KM Zero Tours offers day trips, multi-day experiences and small group tours introducing you to their Tuscany family and friends.
Roman sketches & paintings from Kelly Medford
About: Kelly Medford is an artist living in Rome. She teaches watercolor & sketching through her company "Sketching Rome" She also has calendars, note cards and art for sale.
Who it's for: Everyone who loves Rome, or wants a little piece of La Dolce Vita at home.
Tuck this away for future travels: Kelly leads sketching tours in Rome & beyond with her company Sketching Rome. They are hands on, relaxed and fun classes for all levels.
Online Cooking & Tastings with Casa Mia Tours
About: Casa Mia currently offers small group & private online cooking classes. Visit their monthly calendar to choose from many different types of classes or purchase a gift certificate to give to your favorite foodie.
Who it's for: Foodies & Home cooks, unique gift ideas
Tuck this away for future travels: Casa Mia tours specializes in private and small group food & wine tours and more throughout Italy. They focus on small producers, quality products and have extensive knowledge of Italy's regional cuisine.
Vespa Dispatch or Roman Streets Print Club, Annie Ojile (of Scooteroma tours)
About: Annie Ojile is the founder of Scooteroma tours and Personalized Italy. Her newest project is ATO Photography where she offers "unfiltered Italy" photos for sale and a unique print club (choose from Vespa Dispatch or Roman Streets)
Tuck this away for future travels: Scooteroma tours: "Scooteroma specializes in unique and exhilarating guided Vespa Tours of Rome. There's no better way to see Rome than from the back of a bike."
Move to Italy (virtual) workshop with La Tavola Marche
About: La Tavola Marche is holding their amazing Move to Italy workshop virtually right now. This is a 4-day VIRTUAL crash course on how to move to Italy, 1:1 and customized to your needs & interests with Jason & Ashley.
Who it's for: Anyone who is seriously interested in learning about how to move to Italy, start a business in Italy or retire in Italy and wants the tools & resources to accomplish this without all the headaches trying to research things yourself.
Tuck this away for future travels: La Tavola Marche Cooking School & Inn is a unique off the beaten path destination for visitors to Italy. You can rent the farmhouse for your group, or rent an apartment. Renting a car is necessary but so worth it to explore the rural region of Le Marche.
Virtual Cooking Classes with Carla Tomasi
About: Carla Tomasi is a food educator & fabulous cooking instructor who in the midst of 2020 started teaching cooking lessons online since she couldn't hold in person classes.
Who it's for: Anyone interested in learning about Roman food, Italian regional food, homemade pasta and more. You will learn so much from Carla!
Email Carla for info: email@example.com
Tuck this away for future travels: Hopefully cooking in person will resume again someday- bookmark Carla's info for your future trip to Rome!
The Roman Quarantine book & art by Elisa Colarossi
About: I first met Elisa through her instagram project "The Roman Quarantine" and immediately fell in love with her view on Rome throughout their first lockdown. Elisa lives in Rome and sketches daily life & scenes with her cat, Stanis.
Who it's for: Rome lovers & Italophiles who love colorful art.
The Beehive Rome
About: The Beehive Hostel & Café in Rome is a hub of happiness. You can stay there, eat there, learn to cook with Steve and so much more. Steve & Linda are rolling with the punches of this year and we have enjoyed staying connected by watching cooking lessons from their instagram lives, and now are following their latest venture- bagel making. Bagels are difficult to come by in Italy and I have no doubt they have many happy customers!
Tuck this away for future travels: Stay at the Beehive in Rome, take a cooking class with Steve, join in on a family style dinner, or plan a culinary getaway.
The Beehive Rome
Steve & Linda moved to Rome & Opened the Beehive Hostel in 1999. Plan a future stay with them, purchase a gift card to use for a future cooking experience & follow (and share!) their adventures in bagel making, their current project.
Handmade Italian Kitchenwares from q.b. cucina
About: q.b. cucina (from Sarah Ubertaccio) is a new gathering place for Italian food lovers filled with recipes, guides & tips as well as a curated collection of beautiful hard to find Italian kitchen tools & accessories. Sarah also teaches online cooking classes.
Who it's for: Home cooks, pasta lovers, beautiful & unique gift ideas.
Want more gift ideas for Italy lovers?
My friend Michelle Damiani has some great ones in her new "Joyful gift guide". Hop over to read and share hers as well!