10 Ways to Shop Like an Italian
Talia di Napoli Pizza
Why stock your freezer with any old frozen supermarket pizza when you can fill it with pizza straight from Italy?! Talia di Napoli pizzas are made in Naples by master pizzaiolos with fresh Southern Italian ingredients and no preservatives, GMOs, or additives. After being flash-frozen they're shipped right to you (prices vary); ready to be popped into the oven for a delicious, authentic Naples-style pie in around 10 minutes. The 11-inch pies come with various topping options or plain so you can enhance them to your liking – there's also a gluten-free version. Warning: You'll be ruined for all other frozen pizzas after giving these a try.
Giuseppe Giusti Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Founded in 1605 and run by 17 generations of the same family, each bottle of balsamic vinegar from Giuseppe Giusti Balsamic Vinegar of Modena contains an abundance of love, devotion, and mastery. The best of the best, their vinegar established its excellence after collecting 14 gold medals from national and international food festivals in the late 1800s (serving as the namesakes for the 5 bottles in the Historical Collection), was the official court supplier when Italy was a monarchy (the Royal seal of approval is still incorporated into their label ) and if that's not impressive enough, have been listed in the book "101 Things to Try Before you Die." Steeped in tradition, Giusti boasts the largest collection of historic barrels (600 that date back to the 1700 and 1800s); while also being dedicated to corporate responsibility and sustainable practices. Sure, toss some with your salad, but these are also wonderful accompaniments to meats and fruits, or savory the complexities by pairing with some Parmeggano Reggiano and Negroni with a few drops mixed in. To taste a bit of history, try the robust "Banda Rossa" (Red Band) ($87 for 250 mL) which was the personal gift of founder Giuseppe Giusti to his family members, or the extra special "Reserve 100" their top-of-the-line, super-splurge (around $1000 for 100 mL) balsamic aged 100 years in casks from the 1700s for a literal taste of history.
Oliveri 1882 Classic Panettone
I grew up eating many a stale panettone from the grocery or department stores during the holiday season – and I loved it because it's what I knew. Though my palette changed and I learned how to seek out better ones to keep the tradition alive, everything changed when I tasted the classic holiday bread from Oliveri 1882. It's literally the best one I've ever had. Shipping straight from this 140-year-old pasticceria in Italy, using recipes and techniques that have been handed down for six generations, the sweet, moist, and fluffy Classic Panettone ($70) contains house-made candied oranges (the least favorite part for me, but for some reason these are actually delicious), contains no preservatives, flavorings or vegetable fats, has a four-day production process (made by hand!) and can be shipped to your door in 48 hours. The worst thing about it is trying to stop yourself from eating it in one sitting.
Jovial Einkorn Pastas
For that true Old World feel, Jovial's Einkorn Pasta($3.50 for 12 oz) is made with Einkorn, an ancient grain that's never been genetically modified or changed by humans in the then 12,000 years we've been consuming it. Grown on small family farms in Italy and packed with B vitamins, carotenoids, and essential and trace minerals, Einkorn contains wheat gluten that's more easily digestible for those with sensitivities (those with gluten allergies should still avoid). Because of its unadulterated state, it also contains 29% more protein than wheat, making it the healthier alternative with a great taste and mouthfeel and it comes in familiar shapes like penne, linguine, spaghetti, and fusilli.
Cooking With Nonna's Passaverdura Food Mill and Cheese Grater Bowl and Lid Set
If you want to continue the Old World sauce-making traditions but you don't have a big enough backyard to house bushels of tomatoes and a basement to store all those jars (or you simply don't need a year's supply of sauce on hand), take the production duties down a few notches with the made-in-Italy tabletop food mill ($30) from Cooking with Nonna. Its storable size makes it perfect for handling a small haul from the farmer's market or the fruits of your own garden to make a more manageable amount of homemade passata. And once the sauce is made, have a ball grating your cheese with the old-school Nonna's cheese grater bowl and lid set ($32). The large size and lid make pre-grating even easier; the sturdy top also works well for making breadcrumbs or zesting.
Koita's Soy for Coffee Plant-Based Milk
Though Koita's entire line of Italian-sourced plant-based milks are delicious, the Soy for Coffee Beverage ($33.99 for a package of six) is a standout for cappuccino lovers. With soybeans grown near Mt. Vesuvius, an area known for its weathered and ash-infused soils that yield some of the amazing pasta, wine, and cheese for which Italy is famous, and designed by Italian baristas to be 'made for frothing' the foam this liquid can produce is seriously impressive. Also impressive is that the product is free of additives, non-GMO, non-dairy, and vegan, comes in shelf-stable tetra packs and shipments arrive by seas ensuring a lower carbon footprint.
Founded by a foursome with a passion for travel, fine cuisine, and a love of Italy, Aquavirgo Caviar curates some of the finest briny jewels in the world. Farm-raised and sustainable, their sturgeon swim in the Northern Italian waters; roe is handpicked and salted following a Russian tradition resulting in a truly artisanal process. From White Sturgeon ($85 for 30g) to Beluga Siberian ($237 for 30g) and everything in between, there's a version of the delicacy to bring you a taste of la dolce vita.
Bona Furtuna Sardinian Pasta Shapes
Located in Corleone, Sicily, Bona Furtuna's organic farm supports biodiversity, sustainable farming, and the preservation of heritage foods. Their latest offering presents a new line of Sardinian pasta shapes previously unavailable in America, such as Andarinos (a tight corkscrew rolled by hand, served with a lamb sauce), Lorighittas (long strands braided into rings, traditionally served with a fish sauce), and Ciccioneddus (a Sardinian take on gnocchi; short, squat, and ridged, served with yellow tomatoes, pancetta, and sausage). Sardinian pasta-making has long been a tradition of dedication and celebration; intricate shapes have been passed down through the generations to be used for grand occasions. Bona Furtuna's limited offering will be sold as a trio($75) with a recipe booklet and will only be available here from November through the holiday season.
A personal favorite, Merro's flat fillets of anchovies are simply the best. Meaty, and not overly salty, fans of the little fish will find themselves putting them in and on everything from eggs to salads, and hey, even their Talia di Napoli pizzas. Though smaller sizes are available, the 24 oz mason jar ($25) is a must; packed in sunflower oil that won't seize up in the fridge like olive oil will, it's easier to pull out what you need. And when you find yourself needing them for just about everything, you'll be glad you have so many on hand.
One of Italy's most well-known digestif, Amaro Montenegro is an Italian liqueur crafted from botanicals including oranges, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Its sweetly bitter yet warming flavor works well neat or mixed into cocktails like their Montenegroni. Created in 1885 and named in honor of a princess on her wedding day, the liqueur's creator even designed the distinct bottle as if it were an alchemist's potion. Look for it at your local liquor store or order online here ($35).