I’ve broken this year’s gift guides into three categories based on three of my favorite places- Paris/France, New York City and Italy. The items in each list are all things either made in the specified location or representative of the area, and all things that I personally love and/or use. With items both big and large, affordable and luxurious, you’ll be able to find something for everyone on your list, from the traveler to the foodie to the fashionista to the host. Be sure to check back as I’ll continue to update and add items to the guides and even make note of sales or discount codes. You’ll be able to conveniently find these guides throughout the holiday season by clicking the small pictures directly under the latest post or via the button titled "Runway Chef's 2015 Holiday Handbook" at the top of the side bar (FYI, the side bar button will also take you to other holiday content such as homemade gift ideas, holiday decorating and festive dressing). Now, without further ado, I present to you the Italian holiday gift guide….
Italian Lessons || If you can't travel to Italy, you can at least speak like you are; learning another language is not only fun but it's also useful (especially if for someone who travels a lot).
Dolceria Bonajuto Chocolate|| A chocolate treat for when you're craving an Italian sweet; Italians sure know their chocolate and these Bonajuto ones are no exception. Made the same way since 1880, these Sicilian sweets will be sure to delight everyone on your list (because let's be real, who doesn't like chocolate?!). Their bars are perfect for stocking stuffers and this tin of chocolates would make a divinely delicious hostess gift.
Leather Gloves || Italian leather products do not disappoint, especially when it comes to gifts. While there are a variety of directions you could go in (bags, shoes, belts), leather gloves are a classic item that you just can't go wrong with. They're a closet staple that any stylish man or woman would appreciate it, and, with proper care, they'll be an item that will last for years.
Espresso Maker || The Italian way to start your day; I was never much of an espresso drinker until we visited Italy, upon which, I immediately became hooked. Whether it was for a morning cup, an afternoon pick-me-up, or something to enjoy while sitting outside, Italians were always enjoying their espressos. The espresso love was contagious and by the time we left Italy I had fallen for all sorts of espresso making machines. The little stove top one is, by far, my favorite. No frills, no fancy things, just good espresso. Plus, it's much more affordable than some other machines on the market, making it perfect for gift giving. Don't forget to gift some coffee and espresso cups along with it for a complete package.
Italian Merino Wool Sweaters || A classic Italian piece; merino wool sweaters are comfortable, warm and durable. I stocked up on a few on our recent Italian trip and I'm already regretting not getting more. These chic sweaters (turtleneck, v-neck or otherwise) would be a wonderful addition to anyones closet, and I know both men and women would appreciate receiving one. (Picture on the left by Urška & Domen)
Italian Liquor || When a country has something called aperitivo, it's completely makes sense that they would also create some delicious liquors. One of my favorites is Frangelico, but there's also Campari, sambuco, limoncello, grappa, Aperol and Disaronno. Bring a bottle as a hostess gift, or give some to a cocktail mixing friend.
Patika Biscotti || A classic Italian cookie; though these delicious biscotti are made here in NYC, they couldn't taste more like they're straight from Italy (and trust me, I would know....I ate at least 5 a day on our trip there in October). They make a perfect gift for tea or coffee drinkers or hosts, and, because they're a harder cookie, they're perfect for shipping or toting along on your holiday travels.
Olio Novello || It doesn't get much more Italian than olive oil. This one is the first press of the season making it extra delicious and extra perfect for gifting. Tie a bow around the neck of the bottle to give as a hostess gift, or pair it with the makings for an at-home Italian pasta night that any foodie would be happy to receive.
Nougat || An Italian treat when you're craving something sweet; nougat has always been a favorite candy of mine and with so many different nuts, chocolates and flavors, there's sure to be one perfect for every stocking you have to stuff.
Olive Soap + Nocciola Spread from Bottega || Italian treats from a US-based purveyor; I was introduced to this company last year (you can check out the gift guide we collaborated on here), and now, after traveling to Italy, I appreciate the amazing products that they have even more. They truly work hard to bring over some of the best artisanal products straight from Italy. Two that are currently catching my eye- the prickly pear cactus soap (such a unique, yet lovely, scent) and the nocciola spread (because it was one of my favorite things about the Piedmont region). They do offer shipping, but if you're a local NYC resident, swing by their pop-up and pick up some of their goodies for yourself, or, you know, to give to others!
For even more Italian gift ideas, check out this post.