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Today, we give our top tips on what to bring back from your cooking holidayto Italy! We often get asked by our guests who were inspired by all the delicious food, what to bring back to recreate the taste of their holiday – and here are our five top answers.
There is an abundance of markets in Florence filled with fantastic souvenirs, clothes and leather goods. For those looking to bring home some Tuscan produce to continue their Italian cooking at home – look no further than the Mercato Centrale. It is a beautiful old building made of glass and iron that was recently renovated. All produce in the market is sold by artisan traders who must guarantee their products to ensure they are of gastronomic excellence and authenticity. Here you can find breads, salamis, vegetables, olive oils and much more. There are also places to have lunch where all dishes prepared are made using products from the market. While you are there, check out the Perini's delicatessen which specialises in Salumi; why not bring home some wild boar prosciutto so you (or your lucky friends and family) can enjoy a taste on Tuscany at home!
On cooking holidays in Puglia there is one thing that you simply cannot leave without – olive oil! The olive groves in Puglia are prized across Italy and the region is Italy’s biggest producer of olive oil. Puglian olive oil plays an important role in the region’s cuisine and so for those looking to recreate delicious local dishes at home, such as orecchiette alle cime di rapa, some good quality olive oil is a must!
While in Venice it would be a crime not to sample the fantastic Prosecco! The Veneto region is one of Italy’s most important wine producers in terms of both quantity and quality. Prosecco is a great alternative to Champagne, and a fraction of the price, and so it is worthwhile seeking out a good bottle to bring home with you. Our favourites are Bele Casel’s Prosecco Asolo Extra Dry and Bisol, Crede Prosecco Valdobbiadene Brut.
For those visiting the Amalfi coast you will enjoy some of the best seafood in the world. Sadly, fish isn’t too easy to bring home in your suitcase. However, an alternative would be to bring a bottle of Colatura di Alici; it is a liquid produced on the Amalfi coast made from pressed anchovies. It might not sound delicious, but a few drops can transform pasta dishes. Another option is to bring home a bottle of Limoncello. It tastes and looks like sunshine, and is the perfect thing to take you back, long after your suntan has faded.
A great memento to fill your suitcase with during your cooking holiday in Sicily is the delicious nuts that are grown in abundance across the island. During early spring the countryside is covered with the light pink blossoms of the almond trees, however it is not until the high of the summer that the nuts are harvested. Almonds and pistachio nuts are used a great deal in Sicilian cooking and baking; such as Pasta con il pesto alla Trapanese (a pesto made with tomatoes and almonds) and can be found in all forms of biscuits such as Pasticcini Alle Mandorle.
Whether it is Tuscany, Amalfi, Venice, Puglia or Sicily; there are many delicious things to bring back from your cooking holiday that help to bring back the wonderful, food memories. Italy has some fantastic, but very different, local cuisines to discover and so sampling the local markets is a great way to bring a little bit of your holiday back with you! For more information about our cooking holidays and the regions we travel to, click hereto talk to one of our friendly team.