Make Your Own Gifts – A Taste of Italy

If you haven’t finished your shopping yet, don’t panic. The store shelves may be sparse, but you can put together a unique gift basket with what is still available. A gift basket that will appreciated and used, not just something that looks pretty under the tree. Today we travel to Italy!

A Taste of Italy Gift Basket

Well, ok – the next best thing. For the lover of all things Italian on your list – we once again start with a Wine Barrel Gourmet product – this time the Italian Rosemary Red Wine Salad Dressing mix, a nice herb dressing with just a touch of sweet red wine.  To help our recipients use the mix, I included a small bottle of extra-virgin olive oil and some Newman’s Own balsamic vinegar. Some nice durum wheat pasta and a jar of lupini beans (similar to fava beans and popular in Italy) add a nice touch, or could be used with the other ingredients to make pasta salad.  A box of crunchy bread sticks are tasty dipped in the dressing. And of course, what’s an Italian themed meal without opera? Luciniano Pavarotti supplies the music for cooking, eating, and enjoying the company of friends.  I tucked all this into another “previously loved” basket. Tie a big bow on the front and slip it under the tree for  someone special.

Many other ingredients would fit in with this theme; a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, some marinated artichokes, fresh shallots and/or garlic cloves, polenta mix, fancy tortellini, a wedge of Romano cheese, etc. Use your imagination and scan those almost-empty shelves for a trip to Italy!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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