Italian Gifts: The best gifts are from Italy – Dagostino Pasta

Italian Gifts: The best gifts are from Italy

At Dagostino’s we know it can be hard to pick the perfect gift for your loved ones, but we’re here to make it easy for you.

Italian gifts are always thoughtful and useful, especially when they’re food. Read more to learn how Italian gifts can be your go-to this holiday season.

Italian Pasta Gift

What is the best gift from Italy?

You might not be surprised at this suggestion, but Italians love food, so anything food-related is always going to be a thoughtful gift.

Here at Dagostinos we love to get and give pasta and tomato sauce. We also find that flavored vinegars and good olive oil are always appreciated.

Family Sunday Dinner

What types of gifts are given in Italy?

We hesitate to generalize, but we do know that Italians love to give gifts that bring people closer together. Home-made gifts are considered to be particularly thoughtful and cherished.

What are some thoughtful gifts for Italy lovers?

Italian-themed gifts run the gamut from books to Italian-made glass to jewelry to shoes. Italian food is universally appreciated, so you can’t go wrong with a good pasta, tasty sauce, olive oil or a bar of Italian chocolate. But we’ve also found that Italian-themed items, such as aprons with the flag of Sicily, make for welcome gifts.

Dagostino Gift Box

What do you put in an Italian-themed gift basket?

Our gift sets are a great Italian meal ready for your home touches. Each set has a batch of our pasta and our Sicilian-style tomato sauce, as well as a bar of fine Italian chocolate. Then we add different options to suit your interests and preferences. Some have pesto or an olive tapenade.

We also have sets with a 12-year-old balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy, and a Sicilian extra virgin olive oil. We also have other unique items imported directly from Italy—such as marinaded garlic, eggplant caponata, and pistachio sweet cream—that you can use as stocking stuffers or when creating your own custom gift baskets.

When looking for Italian gifts, what would you recommend for a nice extra virgin olive oil?

We have our own brand of Dagostinos olive oil, which we’re pretty darn pleased with. It’s made from Sicilian olives and is a cold-pressed, extra virgin oil. Its delicate flavor is perfect for dipping with a really good bread. We also like to use it in a salad dressing or marinade or for finishing a special dish.

Another very good olive oil we offer is called Castel di Lego. It’s a mild oil with a peppery finish. We also love Antico Frantoio’s extra virgin oil for its unique flavor blend of olive and almond.

Olive Oil Pasta

What is the difference between extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil and regular olive oil?

Technically the difference between different grades of olive oil stems from the different presses of the olives. Extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil uses only prime olives that haven’t been heated and have just been pressed for the first time. Those olives get pressed a second time to produce virgin olive oil. Finally, the olives are heated and pressed one last time, which is called pomace oil and often has remnants of olive in the bottom of the bottle.

The real difference between different grades of olive oil is in their taste. Extra virgin olive oil has the most flavor, and the flavor decreases with each pressing. Most experts say to use extra virgin for finishing or in a sauce or dressing—that you shouldn’t heat up or cook with extra virgin oil. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t cook with it. You just need to know that you’ll lose the flavor when you heat it.

I am looking for a perfect Italian gift for someone special that loves Italy. What would you recommend?

Every Italian we’ve ever met, even those who are only Italian at heart, is passionate about food. What we recommend is that you look for good things from Italy that might be harder to get here in the U.S. Flavored oil and different kinds of balsamic vinegars make for great gifts.

Some unusual vinegars from Italy that we carry are the Italian fruit balsamic or white truffle balsamic vinegar. And of course, you can’t go wrong with the classics—wine, pasta, and tomato sauce.

Is it possible to get a gift card that would allow me to gift Italy lovers some Italian cooking?

Yes! Dagostinos offers virtual gift cards for purchase on our website. We also offer a “Italian Date Night” gift box specifically for romantic cooking.

Dagostino gift card

Where should I look for Italian-themed gifts that feature Italian coffee from Cinque Terre?

Cinque Terre, or “five lands,” is a stunning string of five villages set into the hillside along the Adriatic coast in Liguria and connected by hiking paths and a train line. They are known for their picturesque charm, but we’re not aware of any villages that export coffee.

However, if you want to celebrate the spirit of Cinque Terre, you might consider putting together a gift of high-quality espresso with some really delicious gelato. Offer a stroll to work off the gelato and you will have re-created some of the Cinque Terre experience.

Where should I look for a beautiful Italian gift baskets that feature Italian food from the Amalfi coast?

In addition to pasta, food on the Amalfi Coast usually includes seafood and fancy desserts, which are hard to put into a gift basket.

One suggestion is to supplement one of our gift sets with special Amalfi-inspired recipes and create a custom gift basket designed just for the recipient.

I am looking for an Italian gift idea that includes Italian coffee. What do you recommend?

You can order Italian coffee online, but first find out about the type of coffee maker the recipient will be using. Many of the new espresso makers are automated, but some people still use the old pour-over style, which can affect what coffee you should get.

What is the best way to get free shipping when I purchase a pasta maker

Everyone loves free shipping, and we’re no different. Our secret is to look at what the minimum order amount is, choose the lowest, and order a bunch of supplies at once. We’ve bought good pasta makers from a variety of manufacturers. What we look for is something not too fancy. All you really need is a metal pasta maker with a hand crank. We love that type because it’s a simple machine and it always works. It just takes some time to learn to use it.

What do I need to know to use a pasta maker successfully?

The key to making great pasta at home is a good hand-crank pasta maker and a lot of flour. You need to be prepared to make a mess. Flour is your friend when you're making pasta. The dough is very sticky, so the more flour you use, the less it sticks. And then you have a clean-up party afterward.

Have fun, don't get frustrated, and just keep on trying. If at the end you find a lot of flour everywhere, you’re probably doing it right.

Fettuccine Alfredo

What kind of noodles can I make with a pasta maker?

The kind of noodle you can make depends on the type of pasta maker you have. A hand-crank pasta maker. These machines are what you use to make long pastas, like fettuccine, linguine, and spaghetti. They make flat noodles very easily.

The other type of pasta maker is called an extruder. This is how we make our  pasta into our special Creole shapes of Fleur de Lis, crawfish and alligators. Extruder machines mix the dough and then push it through a bronze die to create the shape. Extruder-type pasta makers cost more than the hand-crank models and come in many different sizes. The extruder machine we use at Dagostinos can make 2,000 pounds of pasta in a day!

Italian Inspirations Gift Box

Do you have a recommendation of a gift set that includes Italian food?

We have several different gift boxes that you can use to make or gift an Italian meal.

  • Our Italian Date Night box is the perfect size for two people to share a meal (with leftovers to spare).
  • Our Italian Classic gift box includes two types of pasta and two kinds of sauces — a slow-cooked tomato and an Italian pesto.
  • For something fun and different, try our Creole Italian gift box, which features some of our Louisiana-themed Fleur de Lis and crawfish pasta shapes.
  • Our Italian Inspiration gift box is a superb gift for the Italian food lover, with different kinds of pastas, sauces, tapenade, and our own olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Each of our gift boxes also comes with a bar of Italian dark chocolate. While you can eat the chocolate as a satisfying sweet after dinner, we also encourage you to play around with using Italian chocolate as an ingredient in your own dessert. For example, you could serve store-bought cannoli that you dip in melted chocolate. Or serve something simple and elegant, like gelato topped with chocolate shavings.

Check out our website for recipe inspirations.