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a taste of italy

I often say it’s possible to travel with your taste buds. Combine a few key ingredients to create a delectable dish, add elements for ambiance, queue accompanying music and you can find yourself vicariously transported around the globe to your destination of choice. For this stop, we land in Italy.

Going from savory to sweet, I picked a few tantalizing bites that will make an impression on guests, and certainly will make an impression on your palette. And guests aside, a simple meal comprised of cheese, charcutiers or a mix of delicacies, along with delicious spreads can be the answer to a dinner dilemma.

Crema di Carciofi
I first tried this artichoke spread at an enoteca where it was served on a wood platter alongside a cheese board. A delectable canapé on bruschetta, or spread on oven-fresh ciabatta, this creamy artichoke pesto packs pleasing artichoke flavor into a single bite. I love artichokes and find the Crema di Carciofi addicting. Perfect as is or tossed with pasta, it’s truly delizioso.

Balsamic Vinegar Jelly
This sultry spread is extraordinarily memorable. The tang of the balsamic hits your mouth then teases it with a hint of sweetness. The balsamic jelly spreads beautifully on bruschetta similar to the Crema di Carcofi and is an incredible accompaniment to cheese.

An evening in Italy wouldn’t be complete without cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano. Here I have it paired with wild rosemary almonds, flavors that blend well with hard cheese and are reminiscent of Italy. There are over 400 varieties of cheese that can contribute to an Italian-themed tasting board. Italy’s Best reviews some of the tastiest tidbits and offers wine pairing suggestions.

Crema di Pistacchio
The only way to describe Crema di Pistacchio di Bronte is decadent. Sweet, rich and creamy, this pistachio cream is blended like a nut butter or a pistachio “Nutella”.

Popular pastry chef David Lebovitz whips pistachio paste into Pistachio Gelato that will make pistachio lovers swoon. Crema di Pistacchio can be spread inside crêpes, served on top of ice-cream if not blended in, topped on waffles with bananas or simply served on an elegant spoon as shown above. A spoonful is enough to satisfy any sweet craving.

Nocciolata Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread
A gourmet and organic version of the traditional Nutella spread, I find Nocciolata a bit more creamy, has more prominent hazelnuts and uses finer ingredients as it’s made in smaller batches. Equally decadent as the Crema di Pistacchio, a bite of this also served on an elegant spoon will be enough to serenade a chocolate lover.

Pair all of these bites with Italian wines and your taste buds will be certain you traveled to Italy for the evening. Buon appetito!

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foodzie: a box of good taste

There’s something wonderful about coming home to find a small package waiting for you. So when I found a Foodzie tasting box at my door, it instantly put a smile on my face. I even found myself humming the classic Sound of Music song “My Favorite Things” as I headed to investigate what was inside. The tasting box arrived right around the launch of yumivore, sent courtesy of Foodzie, and in some ways it was like receiving a new blog birthday gift. Having then subscribed to these sweet surprises, receiving a new package with completely different delectables for June was equally as pleasing.

The perks:
Brown paper packages. Tied up with (or so be it without) string, I admit it, brown paper packages (or brown boxes in this case) are one of my favorite things. You could say the box alone had me at hello.
Sweet surprises. Receiving a tasting box is like receiving an unexpected gift. Each package contains sweet and savory contents, though you don’t know what treasures you’ll find inside until you open the box.
Discovering something new. From discovering a local gourmet shop to add to my places-to-visit list, to taking a bite into tradition, there’s great joy in finding something new, especially if it turns into new a favorite.

Supporting small businesses. Each tasting box is comprised of a variety of products from different states, so it’s a convenient way to enjoy artisan products and in return help local economies by supporting small businesses that thrive in them.
Happiness in a box. From gourmet indulgences to practical eco-friendly products such as a useful produce bag, there’s a lot of care, attention to detail and happiness wrapped up within.
Keep in mind:
There was a drawback to the tasting box. Being allergic to an ingredient meant that I couldn’t have a product or two, which could happen to anyone with food allergies, but with a “lemons to lemonade” philosophy these products turned into shareable gifts which friends were happy to try out and enjoy.

Loaded with sweet surprises, a clear benefit of the tasting box is that it enables you to sample a wide range of intriguing products. Beyond that it also offers recipes, coupons and discounts for full-sized items. Certainly the Foodzie Tasting Box is packed with good taste. I look forward to more!

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