This Christmas, if you’re thinking of giving a gift with an Italian theme, then look no further: here are five ideas for adding a little Dolce Vita to those gifts nestled under the Christmas tree.
Traditional Gift Basket
Italians like nothing better than receiving exquisitely decorated gift baskets filled with treats like Prosecco, truffle oil and other goodies. But there’s no need to spend a small fortune on baskets filled with more elaborate decoration than product. With a little thought, it’s relatively easy to put your own basket together.
If you’re going to put together your own basket, then continuity makes for better presentation, so look to buy all the basket’s contents from the same company. For example, if you decide to make up a pasta package, then De Cecco or Barilla, produce and sell pasta, oil and flour, pasta sauce and passata all packaged in their distinctive blue and yellow packaging. Dress a simple basket of a handful of these products with some similar coloured tissue paper and ribbon and you’ll have a gift basket that wouldn’t look out of place on the shelves of a department store. This would work equally well for other manufacturers who have distinctive logos and coloured combinations. You can also choose from one of Eataly Gourmet Italian Gift Boxes or order one directly from Amazon.
Help someone to turn their vegetable plot into an Italian orto with a selection of seeds from Italy. Whether it's Italian herbs and tomatoes or fagiolini and fennel, there’s no keen gardener who could resist becoming a contadino and turning a corner of the garden into their own piece of Italy.
There are several mail order companies like GrowItalian or Franchi that deliver good quality Italian seeds overseas, and why not throw in a bottle of Italian wine for the gardener to enjoy before the sowing season arrives.
Do you have a friend who is always saying they’d like to learn to speak Italian, if so why not consider enrolling them in a language course? Many local colleges have evening courses, or if you’d like something less regimented, try one of the online language specialists like Babbel who allow you to learn at your own pace.
If you’d like something that you are able to wrap and deliver, why not consider one of the many language courses available to purchase from your local bookshop or via Amazon.
A Piece of Italy
You can literally give a piece of Italy as a gift through many of the adoption schemes out there. An internet search will bring up everything from grape vines to olive trees to adopt.
The gift of adoption gives the recipient a stake in the business which means at harvest time they also receive their own olive oil or wine. Most companies that offer adoption schemes also deliver regular newsletters and give you the co-ordinates of the tree or vine you have adopted so you can track them on Google Earth.
Most businesses that offer adoption packages also organise mini-breaks and ‘help with the harvest’ holidays; among the most popular olive adoption companies are Nudo based in Le Marche and Casa Margherita in Umbria.
Unisex charm bracelets are incredibly popular in Italy; they differ from many other bracelets on the market by being flat modular bracelets with rectangular charms known as cards that clip together.
There are many manufacturers of these popular bracelets, but Italy’s most popular is the Florence-based company Nomination. The ‘composable’ bracelet comes in a variety of sizes and metal finishes to suit all budgets and with links to represent everything from birthdays to romantic moments and travels to graduations. An Italian charm bracelet is the perfect way for someone to record the important events in their life.