Italian gifts for Italy lovers
Strictly for Italophiles
20 Italian gifts for Italy lovers
Are you friends with, or are related to someone who’s an Italophile?
That said, your Italophile would love nothing more than a visit to their favorite country. But, while a trip to Italy may be out of your price range, these Italian gifts are well within reach.
Living in Italy, I’ve got a pretty good idea of the type of gifts your Italophile might enjoy. Authentic, practical and delicious, I’ve put together a list of 20 Italian gifts ideal for any special occasion.
Come mid-November, supermarket shelves and bakery window displays in Italy begin to fill up with one primary item: panettone.
A popular cake, which has a slight bready consistency, originates from Milan. Italians traditionally eat panettone at Christmas and it’s rare to visit a home during the holidays without seeing one.
This panettone Milano from Chiostro di Sarno is a classic, and contains standard ingredients such as candied fruit and raisins.
Packaged in a beautiful tin, it’s an authentic taste of Italy that your Italophile will surely enjoy.
Panettone for vegans
In case of any dietary restrictions, these 4 mini vegan panettone are a delicious alternative. Available in classic and chocolate flavors, they also make a great stocking filler.
So, your Italophile has a serious sweet tooth but isn’t a fan of raisins or candied peel?
Thankfully, there’s a Christmas alternative to panettone and its name is pandoro. This Tre Marie pandoro is 1kg of delicious, guilt-free cake in a box. Packed with chocolate chips, you can even eat a slice of pandoro for breakfast.
Admittedly, I much prefer pandoro for 2 reasons. For one, it has more of a cake than bread-like texture, and two, I don’t like raisins.
Where panettone comes from Milan, pandoro originates from Verona. In the Venetian language, ‘pan de oro’ or golden bread was something that only the rich would eat.
A classic pandoro has a simple vanilla flavor, which in itself is delicious. A dusting of powdered sugar, said to resemble the snowy alps of the Dolomiti during winter, completes the cake.
However, I’m in favour of adding chocolate to almost everything (sweet) and this pandoro is no exception.
3. Baci chocolates
The Italy-loving person in your life will thank you forever once they’ve had a taste of baci chocolates. Baci, meaning kiss, blows the American Hershey chocolate kisses out of the stratosphere (sorry to my American friends).
This Baci is the classic dark chocolate praline with a hazelnut filling. Varieties also include milk chocolate Baci as well as an assorted box containing white chocolate.
4. Crema al pistacchio
This next gift may not tick the conventional box, but it’s a winner for curious traveling foodies.
Hailing from Sicily, crema al pistacchio, or pistachio cream, is a decadently rich, and delicious condiment.
Spread it on toast, or add to cakes and desserts, it’s one of those ingredients that won’t be around for long.
5. Sicilian lemon marmalade
Enjoy the scent of Sicilian lemons in the morning with this zesty lemon marmalade from Donna Lucrezia.
Sicily is known for its lemons that have a rich and intense aroma. This gift will immediately transport your Italophile to the Mediterranean island, and will cost much less than a plane ticket.
Organic, gluten-free and vegan-friendly, spread the lemon marmalade on toast or in desserts. Alternatively, it also goes very well with a slice of Italian Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.
Rounding up the Sicily trio are these heavenly morsels of almond-y deliciousness.
Almond paste cookies, or pasta di mandorle, are one of the most classic Sicilian desserts.
These cookies are not only handmade, but also come from one of Sicily’s most ancient pastry shops. Packed with around 40% Sicilian almonds and other ingredients like candied orange paste, just one cookie won’t be enough.
7. Balsamic vinegar of Modena (aged)
No Italophile’s kitchen pantry or larder is complete without a bottle of good quality balsamic vinegar.
The commune of Modena in Emilia-Romagna is most famous for producing the delicious vinegar.
Uses of balsamic vinegar — Italian gifts for Italy lovers
While many people tend to use balsamic vinegar for savory dishes, this versatile vinegar also works well in desserts.
Strawberries with balsamic vinegar, and balsamic caramel dessert sauce are just two ideas that come to mind.
In addition, the aged properties (4+ years) of this vinegar gives it a more delicate taste than standard balsamic vinegar.
8. Sicilian cold press extra-virgin olive oil
Ask any Italian chef the basis of a good meal, and they’ll most likely respond with olive oil.
Good quality olive oil is a must in Italian cooking, and spending a bit more goes a long way.
This one from Danilo Manco is a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Cold pressed means that the temperature during the production process doesn’t go beyond a certain number. This ensures a better quality of olive oil.
Use on salads, or to add a little more punch to your pasta. This olive oil is one gift that’s practical and delicious too.
9. Lemon salt ceramic grinder
Do you like adding lemon and salt on everything (savory)?
This beautiful Terramezzo lemon salt ceramic grinder does the hard work for you. Packed with plenty of Sicilian lemons and salt, it’s the perfect gift for your Italy-loving chef.
Adjustable and refillable, you can choose whether you want fine or coarse grains of lemon salt.
10. A Taste of Italy grow your own herbs
Let the scents and smells of Italy come to you, with this compact, yet handy, grow your own herb kit.
Containing seeds for vegetables and herbs like tomatoes and basil, it’s a way to eat fresh, and Italian, at home.
The kit contains 5 packs of Italian-inspired vegetables, 5 peat discs and 10 recycled plastic fold-out pots. It also comes with 1 recycled plastic drip tray and an instruction booklet.
Start growing the seeds on the windowsill, and move to larger pots when the plants outgrow the original set.
Fuel their Italy wanderlust with this gorgeous coffee-table hardback from American photographer Gray Malin.
12. One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns in Italy
Share my love of exploring Italy’s smaller towns in this beautiful hardback book titled ‘One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns in Italy.’
Full-color photographs are accompanied by descriptive sidebars detailing more about the respective towns.
Capturing the essence and simplicity of rural living, it’s one book your Italophile will read again and again.
13. Cucina Siciliana
Give the gift that will gift others, with this stunning cookbook on Sicilian classics.
Cucina Siciliana by Ursula Ferrigno will take you on a culinary journey of the island. From antipasti recipes, to wholesome fish dishes like Sarde a Beccaficco, cooking Sicilian will become the new normal.
14. Padre Bona Barolo red wine
I’m seriously spoiled for good wine here in the north of Italy. And, on special occasions, there are 2 I favor most: Amarone and Barolo.
If your Italophile only drinks good Italian wine, they’ll lap up this Barolo gift set from Padre Bona. The case includes 6 bottles of Barolo red wine, each bottle measuring 65cl.
With scents of spices and cherries, this Barolo goes great with beef and lamb dishes, as well with hearty pastas.
15. Malfy Gin Originale
Soak up the spirit and the sunshine of the Amalfi Coast, with a glass of Malfy Gin Originale.
Made with plant products including Italian juniper peel and Sicilian grapefruit, pure spring water from Monte Monviso completes the recipe.
Also, worth trying in the Malfy range is the Gin Limone, Rosa or Arancia varieties. The lemon has a long-lasting zesty flavor, while grapefruit and rhubarb give the Rosa its pink color. Arancia (orange) has a citrusy bittersweet flavor thanks to the orange blossom and juniper peel.
Add any of the gins to make a classic gin and tonic, or get creative with your next cocktail.
16. Acqua di Parma Cipresso di Toscana
Celebrating the scents of Tuscany, Acqua di Parma Cipresso di Toscana is an ideal Italy-lovers gift.
With notes of orange, pine needles and cypress, it’s a classic fragrance and from one of Italy’s most renowned brands.
17. Murano glass bracelet
Give your Italophile a gift that’ll always remind them of Venice, with this stunning Murano glass bracelet.
Handmade, and consisting of 12mm pearls in a light blue color with silver leaf, it’s a striking piece of jewellery.
Made according to the oldest tradition of master glassmakers in Venice and Murano, it’s a unique and timeless gift.
18. Masterchef Italy apron
Transform into a masterchef, literally, with this cotton-blend apron.
The official red and white apron was used by contestants during the 2014 season of Masterchef Italy. Featuring the logo of the TV show, you can test your cooking skills and wow your loved ones.
19. Venezia Romantica leather bound journal
Jot down everything you love about Italy, or want to see, in this buttery soft Venezia Romantica leather bound journal.
High quality paper and a good weight, fountain pens are welcome here. The leather covers come in a striking black or red color, and are carefully packaged in a gift box.
20. Novelty Italy mug
There’s always room for a novelty gift, and this mug perfectly encapsulates the Italophile spirit.
Made from premium ceramic, the mug, with the words ‘I’d rather be in Italy’, is fun yet practical.
Dishwasher and microwave safe, it’s an ideal gift for enjoying your morning cappuccino or espresso.
What are your thoughts of this list? Have you spotted something that your Italophile would enjoy? Let me know in the comments below.
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience, a demographic (late 20s onward) that enjoys glamping over camping and staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels. Flashpackers also like to indulge in the local food and wine, cultural activities, as well as a spot of wellness on their travels. Want to know more? Read on....