It’s time to buy Tuscan. Help from across the miles this holiday season by selecting a specialty food gift from the region’s businesses. Here’s The Florentine’s pick of the crop for the Tuscany lovers in your life. All ship internationally and have English-friendly online shops.
Organic farm Podere l’Agave, in San Vincenzo on the coast of Tuscany, has come up with a flavourful gift box to transport Tuscany lovers. Barbara Zenoni, owner of l’Agave and two related residences in Livorno and by the port of San Vincenzo, launched an e-commerce this year to make up for the loss in foot traffic due to travel restrictions; her regular visitors from Italy and Europe have been keen to put in orders. Part of her holiday gift box series, the Vegetarian Box contains organic extra-virgin olive oil, organic legumes from a neighbouring producer as well as some fabulous jams and pasta sauces.
For tea drinkers
Established in 1961 by Alfredo Carrai, family-run firm La Via del Tè has never rested on its Tuscan tea leaves. Sip a warming cup of the six scented blends that evoke the magic of Christmas with the Tè di Natale set. Featuring black, green and white teas flavoured with spices and candied fruit, choose between bags (37.50 euro) or tins (59.90 euro) of assorted whole leaf teas to suit your preferences.
For coffee addicts
Italy’s not just a land of espressi and cappuccini knocked back at the bar. In recent years, experienced baristas have cultivated specialty coffees based on meticulous research and local roasting. The brilliant e-commerce by the guys at Ditta Artigianale ships beans and ground near and far, as well as providing in-depth information about the cup profile and provenance. Try the Finca El Puente variety box from Honduras (24 euro) featuring Java, Geisha and Mokka as part of a coffee bean education. You can even have the trademark cups (espresso cup 4.20 euro / cappuccino cup 5.90 euro) shipped to your door for a bittersweet taste of this artisan coffee mecca in Florence.
For those in need of Negroni
Coral Sisk’s foodie travel company, Curious Appetite, has surpassed itself in 2020 by switching to online culinary experiences. The holiday gift selection is no exception. Our pick is the Negroni Box (estimated price for shipping to the US: 325 dollars) embracing artisanal vermouth, Cortona-made gin and craft-made bitters, plus a recipe card explaining how to make the perfect Negroni by expert bartender Julian Biondi and a voucher for a virtual mixology class.
Splurge on quality chocolates by Amedei, a leading confectioner headquartered in Pontedera started by maître chocolatier Cecilia Tessieri Rabassi, when she was just 25. Our pick is La Guaira (90 euro), which contains seven small-batch and award-winning chocolate bars, including the rare Chuao and Porcelana beans, plus two Criollo varieties renowned for their sophisticated flavour. The collection is named after the Venezuelan port where the cocoa is harvested. Included is a box of 16 pralines.
For cookie monsters
There’s something about these glossy royal blue bags twined with string that shout Christmas. Prato biscuit bakers Antonio Mattei have been delighting Italy lovers around the world since 1858. The packaging’s as delectable as the contents, so opt for a Pablo gift box (39.70 euro), packed with almond, pistachio, dark chocolate and hazelnut variations on the crunchy theme. The unusual hat box design has been used by the biscuit factory to ship its goods since the 1920s. Hats off indeed! While you’re buying, add a canvas tote bag (10 euro) sprinkled with gold and blue lettering by Florentine calligrapher Betty Soldi.
For olive oil fiends
2020 hasn’t all been bad. It’s proven an exceptional year for Tuscany’s olives with bumper pickings and top-notch oil. Stock up on the region’s finest with olive oil specialists Pruneti, based in San Polo in Chianti. The Pruneti family has been working the local land since the mid-nineteenth century, with formers foray into iris and saffron growing. Treat yourself to the Tricolore collection (35 euro), which brings together the excellence of Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil and its icons: Tuscan IGP, 100% Pruneti Monovarietal and Chianti Classico DOP.