Gifts for Italian neighbours?

08/08/2009 - 15:41

Does anyone have any suggestions for small gifts from England that might be welcomed by our new Italian neighbours?  We are trying to improve our Italian and want to be friendly with these new condominium neighbours who have been very welcoming.  We are preparing photo albums of our family, and home, recent holidays, weddings etc, as conversation topics, but want to have something to hand over in return for the local produce that has been given to us.  I have thought about shortbread, biscuits, whisky, tea, but these seem a bit boring.  I will invite them for English afternoon tea, make scones, etc. but this probably won't go down well with the "digestivo" and Italian meal times. Any ideas?



We have been in a similar dilemma several times ourselves now. Our friends who look after our house in Italy always invite us to dinner when we are over there. We have tried scottish shortbread, flowers, selection of british jams and marmalades, tea, but the biggest hit so far has been a selection of cakes from the local pasticceria.We will be very interested to see what other replies you get, because we are running out of ideas ourselves now!

Our neighbours really enjoyed pickled walnuts. I've never seen them in Italy. They are also ecstatic about home made lemon meringue pie and insisted on the recipe to be able to get their fix when we're not there (which unfortunately is most of the time).

Italians are very fussy about trying new food and drink that has come from outside their immediate area so we have avoided bringing that kind of gift.  You can buy books of photographs of the uk, also aerial ones, which seem to go down well. Also we have found the usual tourist stuff available at the airport... london buses, baseball caps, teeshirts etc are good for kids.

Always difficult.  I think you need to get to know your neighbours and learning the language with them will help to identify what interests them.  Whilst they can be suspicious of new foods taking 'biscoti Inglese' to share over a cup of coffee is always well received - they will always try them and conclude that 'biscoti Italiano' are the best!  All good fun.  The older generation of our next door neighbours have a very active interest in the royal family so that makes it easy to buy for them.  They are of course all avid cooks so we have personalised some aprons for them by embroidering their names.  Also some of the younger ones are studying English, so we have helped them with some books and tuition.  We also noticed that they have a lot of china ornaments so we have given them china depicting where we live in the UK - the sort of thing you get from tourist attractions - we live on the south coast so they have had pieces from Battle Abbey & Brighton Pavillion so far.  Anyway hopefully this list may give you some ideas.

I think that china very english Country looking is very appreciated... portmeirion kind of thing. if the neigbours are a bit older... if there are youngsters in the family  Tshirts are always appreciated as they usually see the uk as the mecca of fashion! I always go to top shop or primark and get a few !Tea might be boring, but I find that friends are always happy to get some!