Oh I do love Carluccio’s. Their cafés are great places to drop into any time of day from breakfast to late evening, for just a coffee (a smooth Milano or a feistier Napoli), a snack or a good meal. I buy lots of produce in their shops, usually found in a corner of the cafés, from my favourite brand of my favourite pasta – orecchiette – to their lovely polenta, dried porcini mushrooms and moreish baci di dama biscuits that are a great accompaniment to an espresso. It’s a first port of call if I want to buy a foodie gift for someone – always beautifully packaged and always a treat. Thus it’s an enormous pleasure to be invited to their events and yesterday was the third time I’d been along to one of the Christmas press shows. I’m always given a really warm welcome as if they are genuinely pleased I’ve come. Soon I found myself being handed a glass of pomegranate Bellini.
Then there’s always a fantastic array of food and I’ll be encouraged to have a plate. Well really, how could I resist? Thin slices of roast veal, little bruschette, seafood salad, an oozing perfect Gorgonzola, and lots more.
And someone kindly put together a selection on a plate for me.
This is all food you can enjoy anytime at a Carluccio’s Caffe. And I do often! But of course I wasn’t there just to enjoy all this lovely food but to take a good look at what they will have on offer this coming Christmas.
From wonderful hampers to little gifts to go on your tree, it would be hard to fail to find an ideal gift for anyone who loves good Italian food. There is Umbrian extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, jars of great sauces that can top pasta or polenta like wild boar. And how about this terracotta salt pig filled with Sicilian sea salt?
There were a lot of familiar things but wrapped with a bit of extra Christmasy glamour, like these Gianduiotti Grande Selezione.
These gorgeous chocolate coated figs stuffed with walnuts are one of my favourites!
This jar of Zabajone al Moscato with a packet of torcetti biscuits to dip into it was something I hadn’t seen before and sound delicious.
Of course Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a panettone and Carluccio’s is one of the best I know, always beautifully moist and delicious.
The bakers in Piedmont only make the panettone between September and December – so you can only buy it at Christmas time! New for this year is a Panettone alla Crema di Prosecco, which sounds like the most perfect combination of two fabulous things. Of course Christmas also wouldn’t be Christmas without clementines but Carluccio’s Calabrian clementines are put into sugar syrup straight from the tree and then covered in chocolate – twice!
Advent calendars will be irresistible to adults as well as children as each window opens to a chocolate surprise.
There were just so many gorgeous things: a Christmas marmalade made from blackberries, red currants, oranges and cranberries, spiced with cinnamon; a porcini mushroom box from Umbria with dried mushrooms and porcini oil plus 7 Antonio Carluccio recipes cards – Antonio is the king of mushrooms! You’ll find a food gift to please anyone.
Now I have to confess that the child in me absolutely loves that Carluccio’s, being the great party givers they are, always give us party bags as we leave.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait until Christmas to enjoy these chocolate cups from Piemonte to fill with grappa. But I will share with family!
Many thanks to Carluccio’s for inviting me to the party. I’ll definitely be buying some of these gorgeous gifts come Christmas.