We all love taking back home a bit of the place we visit. Travellers often know exactly what souvenir they want to collect from a country even before they land there. Italy offers many a unique items that can be bought as memorabilia besides the usual suspects (magnets, postcards and key chains). There’s Italian porcelain, glass, leather, shoes…and then there’s Italian food items! Here are 5 best food souvenirs you should buy from Italy and the food brands to look out for near you.
Pasta is easily available all around the world, but there’s something special about buying pasta from its birthplace. You’ll find the widest variety of shapes and sizes all under one roof, and these packets not only make for great personal souvenirs but are also a delightful present for your loved ones back home. Do try some of the local brands the store may have to offer, but if you’re looking for safe bets then De Cecco and Barilla are your go-to brands, which are easily available all over Italy.
Polenta is perhaps the most underrated comfort food that there is. Thanks to the popularity enjoyed by mashed potatoes, this cornmeal equivalent from Italy has been flying under the radar. Take home a packet of polenta grits to whip up at your next dinner party. Go for any local yellow cornmeal when choosing your polenta.
3. Aceto Balsamico di Modena
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is easily available in global supermarkets. However, most of the commercial grade bottles simply imitate the traditional product by addition of thickeners, coloring and sweeteners. Get your hands on a traditional and original Aceto Balsamico di Modena while in Italy to take home the true flavours of this rich and glossy vinegar. Tip: the colour of the cap indicates the age of the vinegar. White cap means the vinegar has been aged for 12 years, and golden cap indicates that it is extravecchio (extra old) having been aged for 25 years or more.
Save the typical chocolate souvenir for other European countries, and take this delicious nutty nougats from Italy instead. They are regarded as traditional Christmas dessert, so they make for perfect holiday season souvenir.
Limoncello (also known as limoncino in Northern Italy) is an Italian Lemon Liqueur, the second most popular in the country after Campari. It’s made from the zest of Sorrento lemons with an average alcohol content ranging 25-30%. While it is used to make various cocktails and added to desserts even, limoncello’s primary purpose is to be served as a digestivo at the end of a typical Italian meal. This liqueur can be brewed at home quite easily, so naturally there are a quite a few locally made limoncellos in the market. If you are looking for some branded liqueur then opt for the classic Italian heritage brand Dolce Cilento.