Carluccio’s Il Massimo hamper: Christmas sorted
We’re huge fans of Carluccio’s here at FashionBite, and when December rolls around, it’s one of the first websites we check for gift ideas. Every season the deli/restaurant comes out with new hampers full of drool-worthy products you can take home for your mum, gift to your flatmates for the ultimate night in, or present to your partner in the hope they’ll start cooking dinner more often.
Sure enough, this Christmas our favourite Italians have come up trumps, introducing a large selection of bright red boxes stuffed with delicious goodies – even better because the wrapping’s all done for you, and it’s beautiful.
Il Massimo (£75) is the daddy of them all, including a bottle of Prosecco (that trend isn’t going anywhere – cracking it open we remembered why) among other authentic Italian cupboard staples and festive fancies. In the name of research, we got hold of one and tried everything – and it’s safe to say it’s worth splashing out on.
To start, we cooked up a portion of artisanal pappardelle pasta and tried a little with the wild boar ragu. The creamy, smooth pasta is such high quality you could devour the lot with some butter, but the ragu won our vote, although very rich. Next we boiled some trofie durum wheat pasta (short and twisted, hailing from Genova) with a little pesto (again Genovese, a classic recipe with pine nuts and plenty of basil), which made a thoroughly posh (and exquisite) version of a beloved university staple.
The Olio Do Colline (made from Taggiasta olives) and Olio Con Funghi Porcini (with Porcini mushrooms) were mopped up with some garlic focaccia (bought separately) and tasted excellent, though the mushroom oil’s strong, earthy taste is definitely best saved for a risotto (thankfully, there’s carnaroli rice in the package too!).
Next, onto dessert – the selection in the box is perfect for separating out and taking along to a family gathering when you don’t want to turn up empty handed, or putting on the table when guests come over around Christmas (or, you know, chucking in your own private cupboard for a rainy day). Fiocchi Di Neve (meaning ‘snowflakes’, they’re super-light, mini meringues filled with tiny pieces of hazelnut) are dangerously easy to eat – before you know it, you’ve had three.
The box of Gianduiotti (those silky smooth, hazelnut chocolates you sometimes get with Italian coffee, the shape of upturned boats) is equally naughty and they’re perfect to serve after dinner. Finally, when your guests have gone home, you can indulge your inner child in total peace with the giant milk chocolate coin – only fair when you’ve been such a good host…
Amy @ FashionBite xx