This year can end on a high note! I guess one way to do it is to craft yourself a Christmas tree made of cured meats like my pal Silvio Imperati of Salumificio Cardone in Agerola. Another is to give gifts purchased from small businesses and celebrate the spirit of Italian artisanship with thoughtful items for the kitchen, bookshelf, and beyond.
Wine & Cocktails
First up, vino. Joe Campanale wrote an incredible book about Vino Italiano. Pair it with a themed box from Biondivino or a few bottles from Domestique or Astor. All of these places have stellar Italian lists. If you want a more travel-oriented experience, give the gift of a tasting at Vino Roma in Rome. Alternatively, lead yourself on an Italian cocktail tour with the help of Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, With Recipes or Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, and Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas.
We’ve all been cooking SO. MUCH. these past few years. Sometimes finding inspiration is hard. I turn to these books old and new cookbooks whenever I need inspo for my next meal (if you can, please purchase from an independent bookshop like Now Serving, Book Larder, Omnivore, Bold Fork, Kitchen Arts & Letters and Archestratus, all of which ship).
- La Vita è Dolce: Italian-Ispired Desserts
- An A to Z of Pasta: Stories, Shapes, Sauces, Recipes
- Pasta: The Sprit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food
- Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking
- Pasta Grannies: The Secrets of Italy’s Best Home Cooks
- Pomp & Sustenance: 25 Centuries of Sicilian Food
- Bitter Almonds: Recipes and Recollections from a Sicilian Girlhood
- My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking From Italy’s Undiscovered South
- Southern Italian Desserts: Rediscovering the Sweet Traditions of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicly
- The Heart of Sicily: Recipes and Reminiscences from a Country Estate
- Cooking alla Giudia
- Friuli Food & Wine: Frasca Cooking from Northern Italy’s Mountains, Vineyards, and Seaside
- Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing, and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions
- Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto
- Dante’s Gluttons
- Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania
- Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from Sardinia
- Two Kitchens: 120 Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome
- Tortellini at Midnight And Other Heirloom Family Recipes from Taranto to Turin
- Honey from a Weed: Feasting and Fasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades and Apulia
- Italian Liqueurs
- Cooking By Hand: A Cookbook
- La Grotta Ices: Ice Creams and Sorbets
At the moment the Parla Merch Store is undergoing a rebuild (my Christmas gift to myself is a new website with matching Shopify theme!) so if you’d like signed books, market totes, and such, they will be back online in 2023. In the meantime, Food of the Italian Islands is available for preorder here. All preorders made through my site and independent bookshops include a virtual cooking class March 18!
Super Cute Italy-Themed Clothing
My friends in Rome founded Pezzi a few years back and they make the most adorable clothes for kids and adults. Here’s my nephew modelling the “R is for Ravioli” onsie. He’s a natural! Shop Pezzi online here and in Rome here.
Italian Pantry Items, Pandoro, and Panettone
Gift a curated gift box or build your own brimming with pasta, extra-virgin olive oil, Italian sweets, and more from these businesses specializing in fine Italian (and Italy-inspired) foods:
- My Italian South Box for Gustiamo, plus insanely good Christmas cakes
- Semolina Artisans
- Di Bruno Brothers
- Formaggio Kitchen
- Pastaio Via Corta
- Panettone From Roy
Pasta Tools and Kitchen Implements
I love gifting Sardinian pasta and pastry cutters from Etsy, a huge array of kitchen tools, especially for pasta, from Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo and hand crafted knives by Rocco Petrunti in Frosolone, Molise. I dream of being gifted a custom knife roll from master leather worker Federico Polidori. Get hand made freguera bowls for making fregula (from €60.00; excluding worldwide shipping) from Sardinian craftsman Walter Usai. I love gifting a set of 6 hand-blown Go.to glasses from Murano (€165; excluding worldwide shipping). This style of cup is the traditional drinking glass of Murano’s glass masters. They are dishwasher safe and so so sturdy–take it from someone who breaks everything!
Buone feste e arrivederci 2022!
Note: Aside from Amazon affiliate links, I do not earn commissions on any of the items above, including the KP box at Gustiamo. I give props to the companies I love and support with my own dollars and euros. In the spirit of full disclosure, the founder and glass master of Wave Murano Glass is my bf.