The Best Italian Food Gifts will be appreciated and remembered by family, friends, or colleagues.
Not only do “made in Italy” food products taste good but they carry a special cachet suggesting good taste and thoughtfulness on the part of the giver. Often, even the labeling and packaging showcase the uniqueness of Italian design ad style.
We’ve assembled a list of the best Italian food products we found online and enjoy. These include individual items as well as curated Italian gift baskets filled with Italian specialty items, such as cheeses, truffles, chocolates, pastas, baked goods, wines, vinegars, oils, and other authentic, regional food products. They are available at a variety of price points, too.
All these Italian food gift ideas promise to add a bit of zest to the holidays, perfect for the food enthusiast or home chef on your gift list.
Some of The Best Italian Food Gifts Online
Venchi Chocolates from Piemonte
For me, it was love at first bite. This venerable gourmet chocolate company dates back more than 140 years to Turin (Piemonte), one of Italy’s chocolate capitals. It was here that a 20-year-old chocolate lover, Silviano Venchi, spent his savings to buy two bronze cauldrons. From that inauspicious beginning, Venchi Chocolates grew into a global powerhouse in 70 countries with 49 shops in Italy alone. (I haven’t been able to resist the urge to go in whenever I’ve discovered one.)
All these delectable chocolates are made with high-quality, natural ingredients that will appeal to anyone with a sweet tooth; many feature regional hazelnuts and pistachios. My passion is Cremino chocolates.
Although Venchi Chocolates are available on Amazon with free shipping, they tend to sell out quickly, especially around the holidays! The round chocolate box is a perfect thank you gift for that receptionist in the doctor’s office or at the gym who has been nice to you throughout the year.
- You can also visit the Venchi store on Amazon for other offerings
Green Gold: Frescobaldi Olive Oil from Tuscany
Like wine, olive oil is one of the basics of Italian cuisine and culture. The legendary Frescobaldi family is best known as winemakers but the family-owned agricultural company also produces an award-winning extra virgin olive oil whose origins date back to 1985. When frigid weather killed 90 percent of the olive trees in Tuscany, the Frescobaldi group pulled together a consortium of growers to relaunch Tuscan olive oil, producing its first harvest in 1989 and naming it Laudemio Frescobaldi. (The name derives from the Middle Ages when it referred to the best part of the harvest destined for the Lord’s Table.
Tuscan olive oil is more pungent than most other Italian oils. Along with its spiciness (a bit of a peppery taste), the aromas of Laudemio Frescobaldi are classic: freshly mown grass, artichoke hearts, and green olive notes. Made from the first pressing of the olive harvest, it is low in acidity and saturated fat, and free of any additives. Its versatility, health benefits, and taste profile are a winning combination. The bottle looks like a gift of fine perfume.
I’ve become addicted to this olive oil because it enhances the taste of everything! I use it for baking, frying, or grilling meat, fish, and fowl. It’s also a wonderful salad dressing and dip for bread. Unlike the less expensive commercial variety, this one is truly worth its weight in gold!
Black Gold: Balsamic Vinegar from Modena
For centuries, balsamic vinegar was traditionally produced for home consumption in the attics of families living in the province of Modena, in the Emilia Romagna region. So precious were these vinegars that the barrels for making them were often passed from generation to generation as wedding gifts.
Balsamic vinegar from Modena is definitely a splurge but even when used sparingly, it enhances the flavor of almost any dish. (You can even drizzle it over ice cream.) Many consumers don’t often realize that not all balsamic vinegar is the same. Two balsamic vinegar products overseen by a consortium of balsamic producers are recognized by the European Union for their exceptional quality, adherence to traditional production methods and defined geographic origins: the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and the top-of-the-line Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
One small producer, Acetaia Gambigliani Zoccoli, sells the vinegar on Amazon, shipped directly from Italy.
White Gold: Franciacorta DOCG Wines from Lombardy
Franciacorta is a sparkling wine that comes from a small wine-producing region in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. This top-of-the-line wine is considered Italy’s equivalent to Champagne because it is made using the Méthode Champenoise. (It has a much more recent history than Champagne only having been designated with DOC status in 1967 and DOCG since 1995.)
A perfect splurge for the holidays or a special occasion, Franciaorta relies on different blends of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, and Pinot Bianco grapes. There are several types, including Franciacorta, Franciacorta Satèn, Franciacorta Rosé, Franciacorta Vintage Milessimato and Franciacorta Riserva—with the minimum aging requirements varying by type.
The availability of Franciacorta is somewhat limited outside of Italy and the cost is higher relative to other Italian bubblies (like Prosecco or Asti Spumante). As a result, this “white gold” still remains undiscovered by many Americans, even by those who love sparkling wines. (It would be a shame to use it for a mixed cocktail like a Spritz when you can opt for a less expensive sparkler).
This elegant wine tastes a bit sweeter than Champagne, perfect aperitivo with cheeses or cured meats, or paired with main courses like seafood or Asian dishes. One of our favorites is Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige Extra Brut.
Regional Food Baskets from North to South
In Italy, all food is regional and if you’re seeking products from a specific region—either one that you’re passionate about, one that reflects your or someone else’s family heritage, or one whose foods you haven’t had the chance to try—you are likely to find them at Eataly.
Since its opening in Turin in 2007, the firm has launched Italian food emporiums in some 35 locations around the world. The stores are somewhat akin to curated museums of Italian products, making the company an ideal online destination for Italian gift basket ideas that reflect the best of Italy.
Regional food baskets from artisanal Italian producers showcase various cities and regions. All are hand-packed, dressed with a bow, and delivered to gift recipients with a festive card. For example, the “When In Cinque Terre” gift basket overflows with Ligurian favorites. The “When in Milano” gift box features specialties from the fashion and design capital as well as other local products from the Lombardy region.
You can choose your favorite(s) from the full collection of Eataly holiday baskets.
Zesty Lemon Baked Goods from Sicily
The Fabrizia Lemon Baking Company is a family-owned business that incorporates its award-winning Fabrizia Limoncello into each and every one of its baked goods. Especially popular in Sorrento and other towns along the Amalfi Coast, limoncello is a liquor whose main ingredients are water, lemon zest, alcohol, and sugar.
All of the Fabrizia lemons used (about a half million of them) are sourced directly from Sicily to make the spirits and baked goods. These zesty lemons are the sole ingredient providing the fresh lemon flavor and color to the company’s products, which include swoon-worthy cookies, biscotti, lemon loaves, blondies, cake jars, and whoopie pies. The products are beautifully packaged in bright blue and yellow surrounded by sunny yellow tissue paper.
Fabrizia has a full line of offerings of baked goods and more that make the best Italian food gifts.
An Authentic Italian Meal in a Box
Imagine receiving the ingredients for an easy-to-prepare Italian meal at your doorstep. The Eatiamo food gift boxes each contain seven ingredients for a multi-course meal—from aperitivo to dolci—and feed four persons. They come packaged in a beautiful box with a big red heart on the front.
EatTiamo is a 100% Italian startup, born in La Spezia (Liguria) and based in Italy and New York, that lovingly designs gift boxes of undiscovered, high-quality Italian delicacies. Customers have a choice of purchasing “Italy in a Box” as a monthly subscription or buying them individually for themselves or as gifts for the food lovers in their life.
You can see all the gift boxes on the company site.
Selection of Regional Cheeses from Northern Italy
AOP Agriform is a dairy cooperative that promotes the finest Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheeses to U.S. consumers “from the heart of Europe.” The production of these products conforms to very specific rules established by the European Union, assuring their quality and authenticity: They are always produced in a defined geographic area, using specific ingredients and techniques that have been passed down from one generation to another. When you are seeking out the best Italian food gifts, it’s hard to go wrong with PDO products.
Eataly has curated a special selection of Agriform formaggi from northeastern Italy that is sure to be a holiday crowd-pleaser. The cheese can be served as aperitivi, used in holiday dishes, or nibbled after dinner. This cheese assortment will take your taste buds on a culinary tour across several regions of Italy.
Dottato Figs from Calabria
The flavors of Calabria are bold and unique but most times, the foods of this “region between the seas” are often difficult to find in the United States. In Calabria, figs are used to prepare confections, jams and spreads. A poor man’s dessert, the figs are typically dried in the sun and sometimes covered in chocolate or stuffed with almonds and other nuts.
Naturally healthy and delicious, authentic Artibel Calabrian figs can be purchased online. However. One of the company’s most popular products is an oven-baked fig ball in an attractive jar. PDO Italian Dottato figs are wrapped in tender leaves and then baked in the oven. One of the best Italian food gifts, they pair exceptionally well with regional cheeses like Pecorino Crotenese PDO or Caciocavallo Silano PDO.
Pastene San Marzano Tomatoes from Campania
Massachusetts-based Pastene is the oldest importer of Italian specialty goods in America. Now headed by fifth-generation family members, its founder Pietro Pastene started the business in 1874 with a pushcart in Boston’s North End (Little Italy).
One of the company’s flagship products is San Marzano Tomatoes grown in the geographical region of Agro Nocerino Sarnese in Salerno, Campania. Like fine art, each can is individually numbered and authenticated.
Customers can create their own box of products online but one of the best Italian food gifts in terms of value is the Pastene Specialty Gift Box. It comes with six different varieties of pasta, two different sauces, four types of gourmet vegetables and a can of tonno (tuna) on top.
Italian Gift Basket with a Taste of Verona
Dolceterra is an online specialty food purveyor that partners with regional producers, traditional workshops, vineyards, and wineries to deliver the finest culinary treasures from Italy to its customers. (The Italian expression dolce terra means “sweet land.”)
As one example, the attractive Arena di Verona gift box with a transparent window embraces the richness of the culinary heritage of Verona and Romagna (the southeast portion of Emilia Romagna). It is filled to the brim with an assortment of prestigious local cheeses, traditional meats, and more. These products include Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse (aged 24 months), DOP Monte Veronese, DOP Montasio Fresco, Caciottina nostrana La Tondina, Pecorino Re Nero, mostards, sweet onions in oil, salami with wild fennel, artichokes in olive oil and and a sparkling Rose wine.
The website offers gift ideas and inspiration.
Endnote: In Italy, gastronomy is regional so it shouldn’t be surprising that many of these ideas for the best Italian food gifts are identified with specific geographic regions.
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