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screen_name_taken Aug 27th, 2010 06:43 PM

Italy - what do you bring back to the US?
We will be in Italy again :) this coming October.

I remember reading a topic on suggested items to bring back to the US from Spain. What would you bring back from Italy? aside from olive oil, which is easily found at home.

I mean stuff only available in Italy ...


logos999 Aug 27th, 2010 06:51 PM

Pasta, Wine, Dish cleaner, washing powder, vinegar, crackers, grissini sticks, fabric softener, Gran Padano, tomato concentrate, salami, lemonade concentrate, Parmigiano Reggiano, white bread and milk, peaches.

sap Aug 27th, 2010 07:02 PM

Oh, Logos!

Actually, my own rather obvious guess would be anything (e.g., wine, cheese, crafts) made from small producers who do not export. Since they aren't likely to have a website, you won't know until you actually get there and "discover" them. I think the value to you would thus be personal and based on the product's quality and/or uniqueness -- harder to find than it used to be, I imagine.

Per Logos' point, I would think nearly EVERYTHING else is available everywhere these days as he just typed up my monthly Costco list.

Kristina Aug 27th, 2010 07:05 PM

Amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur. Our favorite, called Amaro Lucano is only available in a shop in San Francisco here in the US and is 3x as expensive as in Italy.

Aduchamp1 Aug 27th, 2010 07:07 PM

On one trip our last stop was Milano and brought back a cake from the Galleria.

LoveItaly Aug 27th, 2010 07:11 PM

My daughter brought back a Roman whom became her husband.

diann24 Aug 27th, 2010 07:19 PM

LoveItaly, I have been reading fodors for years and your reply is the best so far. So cute!!! Good for your daughter.

annw Aug 27th, 2010 08:51 PM

My favorites are lightweight -- herb blends for risotto, etc. and on my next trip I plan to bring back basil seed packs (which others have brought me--they grow wonderfully!). I did bring back a chunk of Parmesian cheese once.

ekscrunchy Aug 28th, 2010 02:04 AM

This is just the tip of the iceberg; you will find many more by doing a search:

jelopez33 Aug 28th, 2010 05:17 AM

It depends on the region you visit,as products tend to be extremely regional.
If you are on the nord,don't miss a "colomba" something like a panettone but without candied,and travels very well; besides being yummy

taconictraveler Aug 28th, 2010 05:36 AM

Knorr Porcini mushroom compressed powdered soup cubes. can't find in the states. keep in freezer, great in soups.

ekscrunchy Aug 28th, 2010 06:52 AM

Just a tip: Many supermarkets and Italian specialty stores in the US sell porcini mushroom cubes..look for STAR brand, imported from Italy.

kfusto Aug 28th, 2010 07:02 AM

I buy eye glass frames every time I am in Italy as the selection is so much more extensive and interesting there. Quality IME is superior as well.

Byrd Aug 28th, 2010 07:07 AM

Olive wood stuff. We have a mortar and pestle, salad servers, and a few other small items.

But next time I am determined to figure out a way to bring back one of the big salad bowls from Orvieto!

So beautiful and the more they are used, the prettier they become.


sap Aug 28th, 2010 07:12 AM

What an excellent idea, kfusto. I'll have to remember that as I'm rather picky about frames and can never seem to find anything I like.

I've never heard of the Knorr Porcini cubes, but we are fortunate here in the SF Bay Area to have dried Porcinis in most of the grocery stores. They are a crucial ingredient in our favorite Tuscan Chicken Artichoke Soup.

Of course, I like LoveItaly's suggestion best!

swisshiker Aug 28th, 2010 07:20 AM

sap, you have broken one of Fodor's rules! [-X

Don't you know that you must include the recipe whenever words such as <i>"favorite Tuscan Chicken Artichoke Soup"</i> are mentioned? :)

sap Aug 28th, 2010 07:47 AM

Ha! Well, I think I have it memorized, so here goes:

(BTW - I rarely measure anything, so I'm just guessing as I type. You'll have to eyeball most of it to taste)

Soak 1/4 c of dried Porcinis in a mix of hot water and dry white wine - just enough to cover - for 20 minutes. Sometimes I add a few drops of brandy because I think it brings out the depth of the mushrooms, but it's not exactly an Italian touch.

Meanwhile, soak cooked artichokes in a few tbsp of lemon juice - though I usually just lazily use a can of hearts since you can't tell the difference once it's in the soup.

While the mushrooms are softening and the artichokes "marinating," boil, bake or grill 2 or 3 chicken breasts. Cool.

Saute chopped garlic and a large handful of chopped fresh parsley in olive oil. Then drain the mushrooms and artichokes, chop and add to the pot.

Pour the leftover soaking liquid from the mushrooms into a separate container, stopping when you reach the "grit" and the bottom. Stir in 1 tbs or two of tomato paste. Add this to the pot and stir.

Pull & shred the cooled chicken breasts into the pot.

Put 1 tbs or so of flour into a cup and slowly mix in dry white wine (@ 1/2 cup) to make a slurry. Pour this into the pot and stir.

Add 6-8 cups of chicken stock to the pot and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Add salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste.

At this point, you may add a few handfuls of arborio rice or a very small pasta to the pot and cook until done. (I prefer the arborio.)

Add another handful of fresh chopped parsley. Squirt in a few drops of lemon juice just before serving and grate fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino or Grana Padano over each bowl. (We use Pecorino as we buy large hunks from Costco.)

Buon appetito!

[NB: I've adapted this recipe over the years from an Italian cooking class my DH had enrolled me in as a b-day present some 15 years ago. He claims it was one of the best investments he's ever made.]

sap Aug 28th, 2010 07:59 AM

Just in case it wasn't clear: Mix the tomato paste into the clean mushroom soaking liquid poured into the 2nd container, not the grit at the bottom of the first. Yuck! :d

swisshiker Aug 28th, 2010 08:54 AM

sap ((L))

Gina817 Aug 28th, 2010 09:12 AM

I realize not everyone celebrates Christmas, but we like to bring home a locally made ornament. This way it is small and light. We have such nice memories taking the ornaments out each year.

However, nothing can beat this post,
"My daughter brought back a Roman whom became her husband."

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