12 Days of an Italian Christmas

Wondering what to get the Italian in your life this Christmas? Don’t fret about it any longer. Ciao Pittsburgh assembled a list of 12 great gift ideas!

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 6.40.05 AM12. A Box of Torrone

An Italian candy of sugar, egg whites and honey, torrone is often enjoyed around the holidays. In Italy, torrone is usually sold in long rectangles—a light-colored confection with sliced almonds visible throughout—like an oversized candy bar.


Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 6.44.31 AM11. An Italian Cookbook

We love this book from Aliza Green, Making Artisan Pasta: How to Make a World of Handmade Noodles, Stuffed Pasta, Dumplings, and More.

You’ll learn how to use the best ingredients and simple, classic techniques to make fresh, homemade pasta in your own kitchen. Calling for just the simplest ingredients and a handful of unique kitchen tools, making pasta at home has never been easier, more fun, or more delicious—just like your nonna used to make!

Inside, you’ll find:

– Recipes for pasta doughs made completely from scratch, with such delicious ingredients as buckwheat and whole wheat flour, roasted red pepper, asparagus, and even squid ink and chocolate

– Fully illustrated step-by-step instructions for rolling, shaping, and stuffing dough for gnocchi, lasagna, cannelloni, pappardelle, tagliatelle, ravioli, and dozens of other styles of pasta

– Detailed instructions on how to make the ultimate in pasta: hand-stretched dough

– Chinese pot stickers, Polish pierogi, Turkish manti, and other delectable pastas from beyond its traditional Italian borders

– Artisan tips to help anyone, from novice to experienced, make unforgettable pasta


Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 6.53.34 AM10. A Cheese Grater

Italians absolutely love their cheese. And nothing is better on your pasta than freshly grated parmesan. Check out the OXO Good Grips Box Grater. It features coarse, fine and super-fine grating surfaces and a slicing surface.

This grater is made of durable stainless steel construction with a soft, comfortable non-slip handle. You can catch, measure and store freshly grated ingredients in the storage container and seal with the included lid.

There is a non-slip bottom ring on both the Grater and the container. The slim construction easily fits into a drawer for compact storage.


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New Contest: Win Free Pasta or Sauces from Giovanni Rana

We have a new contest from Ciao Pittsburgh!

Post a photo of your favorite Sunday pasta dinner on our Facebook page or send us your favorite pasta recipe to jack@ciaopittsburgh.com which we will share on our website in upcoming weeks.

You’ll then be entered into a raffle to win your choice of 5 sauces or 5 bags of pasta (or any combination of 5) from Giovanni Rana.

Giovanni Rana has been making pasta for over 50 years. His philosophy is simple: be true to yourself and the things that make you happy. He learned that as a boy in the family kitchen in Veronella and he still believes that today. For him, perfect pasta comes from a passion for food and the joy of sharing that passion with the people you love.

Learn more about Giovanni Rana on his website.  Or like Giovanni Rana on Facebook or follow the company on Twitter.

This contest ends April 19, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Winner will be announced the next day and products of your choosing will be shipped directly to you from Giovanni Rana.

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How to Buy Olive Oil

Alexa-G._1322736By Alexa G.

Up until recently, nobody – not even the most passionate foodies – would have considered to have myriad olive oils at their disposal: it was enough to have one oil for frying, and, maybe, one full-bodied to dress salads.

Today, we know that behind this fundamental ingredient, there’s an entire universe full of complexities. This is the main reason for the recent explosion of courses, guides and trade fairs dedicated to olive oil. Artisan oils have a more individual character, aroma and taste. They are also more expensive.

Commercial EVOO is similar to “table wine”: the large brand names buy oil in bulk and blend it to standard specifications. The result is consistent, inexpensive oil, useful for cooking, but boring compared to the good artisan oils.

How to find the real gem?

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LeatherGiftItems.com—Buy Italian Leather Briefcases, Travel Bags at 20% Off

LeatherGiftItems.com specializes in professional, Italian leather briefcases; the Dr. Koffer line is now offered at 20% reduction and comes with a free luggage tag.

The Italian line Dr. Koffer, is now on special and the offering consists of briefcases, messenger bags, duffel bags, toiletry and wallets. The line is brought in direct from Italy, each bag is hand-made in either Italian cowhide, Italian deer or buffalo. Check out the Italian leather bags, be sure to study the different types of leather and colors offered.

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