Do you have a cook in your life that adores everything Italian? Maybe an Aunt who loves to recreate nonna’s recipes or a friend who relishes making pasta by hand? Then look no further for great ideas for your holiday gift list. I have compiled a list of ten Italian cooking tools that I absolutely love and use in my own kitchen. Any one of them would make a fantastic gift for your Italophile.
Fresh gnocchi is super easy to make if you have the right tool. This simple and inexpensive board that has ridges makes the perfect sauce-grabbing ridges on gnocchi without damaging or flattening the delicate dough.
You can buy this board here: Fantes Gnocchi Board, Beechwood, 8-Inches, The Italian Market Original since 1906
When I first moved to Italy a little more than five years ago, I came with only one suitcase. Needless to say, I had to start from scratch assembling all my kitchen tools. One of the first things I bought was a mezzaluna. It’s the perfect tool to chop herbs, nuts, garlic, chocolate. You name it you can chop it with this handy dandy little tool. It’s so useful and versatile and the best part is that I can’t chop off the tip of my finger. Yes, I admit I did this not too long when I was chopping parlsey with a knife and not my mezzaluna. Six stitches later I make sure to stick to my mezzaluna when chopping parsley!
You can buy this mezzaluna here: Stainless Steel Rocking Mezzaluna Knife with Wood Handles, 10 Inch
Bialetti Espresso Maker
I would be lost without my espresso maker. I have tried using those fancy capsule coffee espresso machines and coffee presses. For me, la caffeteria or moka in Italian is the best way to make strong coffee and unlike an espresso machine, a moka pot requires minimal maintenance – just rinse in hot water after each use. In my opinion, Bialetti makes the best.
Check out this Bialetti espresso maker here: Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker
If you’re making homemade ravioli, a ravioli stamp makes your work super easy. They perfectly cut and seal your filled pasta dough in one single motion. It can’t get any easier than that!
A parmesan knife is a small spade knife has a sharp tip that lets you stab directly into the cheese like parmesan and continue cutting with the long end for added strength when cheese are just too hard. A perfect stocking stuffer for any cheese lover.
Check out this parmesan knife: Eppicotispai Stainless Steel Parmesan/Hard Cheese Knife with Wooden Handle, 6-5/8-Inch
This is a great tool and it has many more uses than truffles. I personally am not a fan of truffles. I know I probably am a disappointment to many since I live in the land of truffles. Thankfully, my husband is not a big fan either so at least I am in good company! I love this little tool because you can shave things like chocolate curls for your cakes and pies or other desserts, or ribbons of carrots and zucchini for salads or to decorate a plate. It’s also perfect for slicing garlic paper thin allowing it to melt into your dishes. It gets rid of the hassle of chopping and making your hands smell like garlic for days.
This is this chocolate/truffle plane that I like: Fantes Adjustable Chocolate Truffle Plane, Stainless Steel, Made in Italy, 7.5-Inches x 3.5-Inches, The Italian Market Original since 1906
Napoletana Coffee Pot (Maker)
So, I discovered this little gem of a coffee maker or moka when my sister and I were visiting Sorrento on our first trip to Italy (before I moved here). We were staying at this super cute little b&b right on the water complete with its resident dog and cat. Every morning, breakfast was served on the roof top deck with views of Mt. Vesuvius. They brought us our coffee in this interesting little coffee moka and told us to wait a minute or two before turning it upside down to let the coffee drip down then pour it into our coffee cups.
Historically this “macchinetta” is the oldest coffee maker, used by Neapolitans long before the stove-top moka. It functions on the precipitation of boiling water on the ground coffee powder for a slow-drip beverage. People still appreciate this type of coffee for both sentimental reasons and for the actual flavor of this particular brew, which is lighter and suitable for late afternoon cups, as opposed to the more audaciously caffeinated espresso. Since my husband thinks I drink too much (strong) coffee, I compromised and use this little moka maker in the afternoons to make my coffee.
You can find this coffee maker here: Ilsa Neapolitan 6-Cup Aluminum Coffee Maker
So, I freely admit that when I first moved to Italy and subsequently meeting my husband I was petrified to say the least to make pasta for him, let alone trying to make homemade pasta. While I overcame the fear of making (store bought) pasta for him, I did not try my hand at making homemade pasta until we both attended a cooking class in Sicily and made our very own hand made ravioli. It was one of those “Aha” moments where I realized that it really isn’t that hard to make homemade pasta and it really is with it. So, upon our return from Sicily, we bought our very first pasta maker. Yes, we have used it. Not every day or every week, but it is a welcome addition to our kitchen for those inspirational days when we want to make pasta. There are few things more satisfying than cranking your pasta machine on a floured table.
You can find this pasta maker here: Imperia Pasta Maker Machine – Heavy Duty Steel Construction w Easy Lock Dial and Wood Grip Handle- Model 150 Made in Italy
Pasta Drying Rack
So, now that you have a pasta maker, you need a pasta drying rack so you can dry your freshly homemade pasta noodles before cooking. I prefer the collapsible kind since counter space is a precious commodity in our kitchen.
The Silver Spoon Cookbook
This was one of the first Italian cookbooks I bought. It is considered the bible of Italian cookbooks since first published in 1950. I found out there was also an English version and bought it for my Mom last year. The Silver Spoon was actually first conceived by Italy’s design and architectual magazine Domus. They formed a group of cooking experts who went about collecting traditional Italian recipes. The newest version of the cookbook has updated ingredients, quantities and methods more suited for a wider and modern audience while at the same time preserving the memory of the traditional recipes. The new edition also features new introductory material covering such topics as how to compose a traditional Italian meal, typical food traditions of the different regions, and how to set an Italian table. It is a super addition to anyone who loves making and exploring Italian recipes.
You can find the cookbook here: The Silver Spoon New Edition
So, if you are looking for that special gift for someone who loves everything Italian when it comes to cooking, then look no further.
As always, buon appetito!