Saturday, December 10

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for the Italophile

From $5 to $500, this gift giving guide is perfect for the lover of all things Italian. Whether if it's for you or someone special on your Christmas list, at any budget you can say Buon Natale!

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for the Lover of Italy
1. Adopt an olive tree from Nudo Olive Oil in Le Marche! Imagine dunking your bread in your own oil from your own tree thousands of miles away on a hillside in Italy. Adoption includes certificate & two deliveries of olive oil.  - $109

2. The Marling Menu-Master for Italy: A Comprehensive Manual for Translating the Italian Menu
Stick this pocket guide in your pocket, order with confidence and never go hungry in Italy!  - $9.95

3.  Make pasta at home with the Atlas Pasta Machine, simple to use & will last a lifetime. (Skip the temptation to buy the pasta drying racks - totally unnecessary - a clean sheet will do!) - $75

4. I like to tell people to "get lost" in Italy, part of the fun is exploring back roads and small villages but you can easily get lost without a good map (and trust me, don't rely solely on a GPS.) The best of the best is the spiral bound Michelin Atlas Italy - $15

5. Parli Italiano? Give the gift of language with Rosetta Stone, the tried & true way to learn Italian at home. - Special $399

6. There is nothing more Italian than starting your day with a perfect caffè'! Every house in Italy has a moka on the stove, seasoned after years of use, pumping out dark rich coffee. Bialetti Moka Espresso (I suggest the 6 cup pot) toss in a bag of LavAzza Oro (Gold) to complete the gift. - $30

7. The gift that keeps on giving! Sign up for a hands-on cooking classes either locally or in Italy and learn to cook simple delicious Italian dishes - your family will thank you!  The hardest part is deciding where to go - just make sure you get to do the cooking & its not just a demonstration.-  Starting at $50 & up 

8. Vino vino vino! Red, white or rose' -skip the Chianti and try something different like wine from Le Marche, the most famous being sparkling Verdicchio or the ancient grape Lacrima whose vines predate the Romans. Look for any wine by the fabulous artisan Marche winemaker - Luigi Giusti. Starting at $24/bottle for Reserve

9. Cookbooks -There are a ba-zillion Italian cookbooks available, so how to choose? Start with the basics: found tucked away in almost every kitchen, Italy's version of "Joy of Cooking": Artusi's The Art of Eating Well and the modern classic organized by ingredient, making eating seasonally simpler: The Silver Spoon - $25

10. Start an Italian garden for the backyard or windowsill! Gather a variety of seed packs from Italy, potting soil &a few pots, then let mother nature do the rest. Rosemary, basil, thyme, tomatoes, peppers and more - get growing! - $5

If you want to blow the budget & go full-on Italiano, book a trip to Italy and stay at the idyllic countryside farmhouse inn, La Tavola Marche with a package including accommodations, cooking class, wine tour and five course feast.

Buon Natale!
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