Some of the best souvenir shopping is in the small neighborhood alimentari shops, local grocery stores and in major Italian cities, Eataly. Here is our guide to the best food souvenirs from Italy
Pocket Coffee It looks like a teensy tiny juice box, but it is filled with a shot of pure, brewed arabic espresso and chocolate. Look for them at the cash register in bars or if you are on an Italian road trip at the Autogrill rest stops.
Kinder Surprise This sweet treat was long banned in the United States because of the small toy prize inside. During the summer there is a special version that is still in the iconic egg shape, but is eaten with a small, included spoon.
Pasta is a great gift to bring back. It is light and easy to pack. Look for pasta from Gragnano, a small town in the mountains above the Amalfi Coast. This town, whose streets were designed to dry the pasta in the mountain and sea air, produces some of the best pasta in Italy.
Colatura and salted anchovies from Cetara. Cetara, on the Amalfi coast is the capital of anchovy production in Italy. The ancient Romans produced a sauce, called Garum, from the liquid collected from preserving anchovies with salt. This sauce is still prduced today and only in the town of Cetara.
Grappa and Limoncello. Beautiful bottles of grappa, limoncello and many other digestivos and amaros are a wonderful reminder of the delicious meals and evenings you spent in Italy. Collect a small bottle from each town you visit and you will have a wonderful collection to share when you are back at home.
Wine. Many Italian wines are produced in such small quantities or by such small producers they are simply not available in the U.S. Grocery stores have terrific selections of local wines at great prices.
Pastigle Leone The beautifully decorated tins that will make you happy long after you have eaten traditional Leone candy. We love the Venetian spices and old fashioned violet.
Proscuitto and Salami. At long last the ban on bringing some cured meats from Italy back to the U.S. is being lifted. From May 28 the The United States Department of Agriculture relaxed some of the restrictions. Salami from the northern regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Piemonte, and the provinces of Trento and Bolzano are now allowed. Ask for your sliced meat to be packaged sottovuoto – Vacuum Packed.
Coffee Part of why the coffee in Italy is so delicious is the machine and the water and the skill of the barrista, but part of it is the coffee. Stock up on different roast and grinds from all the places you visit and make your morning cup of coffee an Italian one.
Dried Beans Stock up on bags of dried borlotti beans from tuscany, small chickpeas from Umbria and purgatory beans from Lazio. On grocery store shelves, look for ready made mixes of dried beans and grains that make delicious soups.
Read more on shopping in Italy here.