Cook-Off Competition Winner Revealed

Congratulazioni Alexandra!

We loved all of the entries into our latest Cook-Off Competition and it was great to see such a wide range of dishes. We received everything from pastas and biscuits to breads and cakes, but there can only be one winner. And that winner is:

Alexandra McDermott from The Lass in the Apron

Tuscan Panforte Biscotti

We were blown away with Alexandra’s Tuscan Panforte Biscotti, a twist on the classic festive treat, and decided to catch up with her after the win.

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Tuscan Holiday Hamper

There is no better way to capture the mood of Tuscany than to replicate an Italian meal in the comfort of your own home. With our help, you’ll be able to do just that. Give someone you care about an authentic Italian Christmas with our guide to the perfect Tuscan holiday hamper.

Tuscan Sun Cookbook & Ingredients

Cookbook

A cookbook can mean taking a voyage to another world as new recipes are tried and out new favourites discovered along the way! We recommend The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances and Edward Mayes. It’s brimming with over 130 recipes made by the couple over their two decade stay in Italy, including everything you need for an intimate meal or a long-lasting dinner party.

 Basket

A cookbook will encourage your loved ones to get stuck in and make time-tested Italian meals, so what better way to help them along by providing some ingredients? To get little tastes of Tuscany include Tuscan Shopping’s basket featuring mushrooms, tomatoes, sauces and pate. It’s sure to help those just dipping their toes in the culinary experiences Tuscany has to offer.

Wine

Wine Decanter

To add a touch of class to the hamper, include this one litre wine decanter from Wine Ware so your recipient can serve their guests in style. Even without pouring wine it makes a beautiful feature on an Italian table. With so much great choice, we recommend hearing what our wine expert, Rich Cook, had to say about local Tuscan wines. Be sure to include a bottle or two so it can be used when cooking, hosting a party, or just for enjoying a relaxing evening during the winter holidays.

 Personalised Vinyl

If you’re assembling the hamper for a true wine connoisseur you can personalise their own winery vinyl. A personal gift always seems that little bit more special in an assorted hamper.

Sweet Bread

 Panettone and Pandoro

To get a taste of what Christmas is like in Italy, expat bloggers Krista of Alla Fiorentina and Melinda of Living in Florence offered their insight. Both agreed that the essential addition to your Christmas hamper is some Italian sweet bread.

“Christmas in Italy is a big deal! It’s always excited to see which new Christmas lights the city will choose to decorate the streets of Florence, and of course the gorgeous tree in front of the duomo is always a sight to see. The religious won’t miss the Pope’s Christmas Eve mass, and on Christmas Italian families gather together for a Christmas meal. An Italian-themed Christmas hamper wouldn’t be complete without panettone, a traditional holiday dessert (which sometimes doubles as breakfast) and a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate!” – Krista

“In Florence people buy ‘pensierini’, which are little gifts for friends and acquaintances. We often say, “it’s the thought that counts” and in Italy, it is what is most important. Christmas is all about sharing with others and bringing them joy and a ‘pensierini’ does just that. In the hamper, I would definitely say ‘panettone’ or ‘pandoro’, the two typical Italian sweet breads that are standards for every Italian family.” – Melinda

Biscuits

Biscottifico Biscuits

A final touch to your hamper, are some authentic Tuscan biscuits from Biscottificio Belli, featuring cantuccini al cioccolato, ricciardilli alla mandorila and canticcini alla mandorila (made with almond paste, chocolate and almonds repectively). These biscuits have been made with the same recipe for over 50 years so they’re the perfect companion to an afternoon glass of wine or coffee.

Say a very big Buon Natale this year with some traditional Italian flavours from the heart of Tuscany!