Thursday, November 24, 2011

Italian Thanksgiving

No explanation needed...but the Nutella from Italy does taste different then the one in the US, a bit more oily
So today is Thanksgiving and I am in Italy.  While I am not necessarily complaining, I am missing a fews things on this day of being family, my husband (who is in England working as today is not a holiday anywhere in Europe, but especially in England for which we all know the history, but I do digress...) turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.  Basically turkey is availabe here in Italy, but I have rarely seen it, stuffing....hmmm well, maybe a panzanella but not even close to satisfying my craving.  And pumpkin pie....well, in my dreams, not here, not ever.  But I do have some food products here in Italy that I am very thankful for, mostly dishes that are freshly prepared, but also some food products and ingredients that make the Italian dishes I love.....the dishes I love.  Check out my favorites here, and if you are in Italy and want to purchase any make sure you go to a grocery store or a Carrefour ( ) so you get the best price.

Bringing olive oil on a trans-atlantic flight can be challenging but possible...this was our choice to bring back when we had the extra space in our luggage, now available in the US for purchase but at twice the price
Pomi, basically strained, crushed tomatoes, available in the US but always much, much cheaper in Italy
Tomato paste in a tube, my favorite is Cirio ( ) but Mutti is good too, great for travel and gifts for the foodie in your life
Any Fini product you see in Italy is good, I generally purchase the balsamic vinegar and salsa as it is so much cheaper then in the US, also great for gifts
We really don't have a similar product in the US, this is great for a quick meal, just boil pasta and mix in. These prepared pestos are great, you can't even compare any sauces in a jar in the US, so just don't
A very Italian product, basically a shot of espresso in a hard, bite-sized chocolate shell....yes, yum is correct!  I have seen this for sale in an Italian market in NYC, but I paid $15 for the same size box that would cost 5 Euro in Italy.  Another tidbit about this product is it is not for sale in the warmer months because the product would melt, so you can't get your pocket coffee fix during the summer.  I love this approach to food production because in the US someone would add some sort of chemical in order to sell this product year round, but in Italy that's not how food works.  
A non-alcoholic aperitivo drink that is usually served chilled with ice, if you are ever at a bar in Italy for aperitivo try this!  (Aperitivo in Italian bars is generally served with some goodies like chips and nuts.)
No this is not Kahlua, it is better.  Basically a coffee liquor (and coffee meaning espresso.) I love these plastic bottles as they are easy to travel with and great for gift hampers
This is a new product in Italy and I like it, basically a chocolate cream cheese, I don't know exactly how you would carry this back on a plane, but in the plane where luggage is kept it is very cold, it could make the journey.....
I have blogged about this product before, ( ) absolutely love this and very inexpensive and easy to take home
A different answer to the boullion cube, great, fast and easy flavor to your weeknight chicken or a quick soup
My absolute favorite drink from Italy, this is not the original flavor of Esta The which is limone, but rather the green tea version (a peach flavor is also offered.) Difficult to bring home as it is a liquid, but I think Ferrero would make a killing selling this in the US.  And while we are on the subject of Ferrero, basically any food product that bears this brand name is great, so if you see a product you might want to try and this name is on it, it will be good!
Another product that is really amazing!  Fiesta cakes I would compare to a Little Debbie snack, but much, much, much better tasting and way more sophisticated.  This snack cake has a orange liquor flavor with the whole thing dipped in a thin layer of chocolate....very yum!  (Again, by Ferrero.)
Another snack cake, my second favorite to Fiesta
These little "cakes" are found in the refrigerator section as they have fresh cream in the center, but it is not so much a cream as a softer cream cheese texture milk-cream kind of thing...I don't know you just have to try it!
OMG!  The best thing ever, to me better then Ferrero Rocher chocolates (there's that name again....damn you Ferrero!)
Umm, yeah one would think the US has the junk food market cornered, but alas Italy makes Cipster.  This is unlike any chip I have ever eaten, thick like a kettle cooked chip, but light and airy like a cross between a Pringle and a Cheeto (sans the Cheeto cheesy flavor)....really time I ate a whole bag in one sitting!
Carrying the oh so famous seal of Parmigiano Reggiano this little cheese snack is relatively new, but very tasty!  Imagine a Parmigiano flavored Laughing Cow cheese wedge....yes this is a little piece of heaven.

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