Carluccio’s Christmas – A Preview:
My first ‘Christmas in July’ was to preview what you can now buy in Carluccio’s for Christmas.
Snow and sampling Christmas goodies on a hot Summer’s evening felt a little strange.
However, after a glass of prosecco and some snacking on Carluccio’s dishes and treats we got over it.
Over 20 years ago, Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio, driven by a genuine passion for artisan Italian produce, began sourcing and carefully curating the very best products from the length and breadth of Italy. It is this passion that continues to drive Carluccio’s – to this day they never use a middleman, but deal directly with specialist producers to bring you, quite simply, the very best of Italy.
This year, Carluccio’s Christmas collection tells the story of its unique suppliers and their dedication to their craft; from family bakeries in Veneto and Genoa, to farmers in the hills of Piemonte and clementine growers in Calabria. As well as those hero products that are a must-have at Christmas, Carluccio’s bring you its largest range of panettone to date; from the most traditional, to prosecco cream-filled and limoncello-spiked varieties and, for the first time, a gluten-free option.
We were blown away by the array of gift boxes and chocolate goodies and being able to sample all of them left us senses rather overindulged. Be warned they are rich and luxurious so a little goes a long way.
My favourite was, well actually I liked nearly all of them but if I had to choose: From the chocolate gift selection:
CLEMENTE IN CAMICIA (300g, £17.95; 200g, £12.95; 75g, £4.95) – Juicy candied clementine segments double-coated in rich dark chocolate and come in three weights to suit all sizes of family stockings.
CROCCHINI (200g, £9.95) – Crunchy, caramelised pieces of hazelnuts coated in dark chocolate.
TAROCCO (200g, £7.95) – A soft slab of delicious dark chocolate and Piemonte hazelnuts.
From the Gift boxes I was impressed by:
PER I FORMAGGI (£14.95) A beautiful wooden cheese board and serving spoon with a fabulous fig jam made in small batches by the Zanuttigh family – enjoy with a chunk of Parmesan.
IL PORCINO CESTINO (£25.00) A basket filled with mushroom treats: truffle oil, mushroom and truffle sauce, porcini cream and dried porcini. A must for anyone fanatical about funghi.
I was particularly pleased to see there was a gluten free panettone, which I’ve not been able to have for years, and it was really good.
GLUTEN-FREE PANETTONE (500g, £12.95) Made with a natural yeast, this panettone is unglazed and gluten-free, but with no sacrifice of taste.
They also have a full range of panettone including one with limoncello, another with crema and prosecco and of course the PANETTONE TRADIZIONALE (1kg, £16.95) This multiple award-winning part-bread, part-cake uses plump sultanas, candied peel, natural yeast (from a starter dating back over 100 years) and is finished
with a hazelnut glaze. A chocolate version (1kg, £16.95) with milk and dark chocolate pieces taking the place of dried fruit and candied peel is also available.
The star of the show for us was the PANDOLCE (300g, £10.95) An aromatic ‘sweet bread’ made in a family pasticceria in Genoa since 1780. A real labour of love, not only do the bakery make the cake, they make the ingredients too – grinding the sugar, candying the fruit and roasting the pistachios. Not only was it exquisite we were taken by the story of its origins and that it is still made today in the same place.
If you are looking for luxury and the price is no object then you should take a look at the LIMITED EDITION ADVENT CALENDAR (£75)
For a delicious countdown to Christmas, this limited edition luxe advent calendar features quintessentially Italian products from Carluccio’s core collection. Just some of the treats behind the doors include limoncello chocolates, truffle butter, aged balsamic vinegar, torrone pieces and porcini oil to name but a few.
Whether shopping for the Christmas Day lunch host, colleague or family member all the gift boxes come beautifully packaged.
I will certainly be ticking off my Christmas list at Carluccio’s this year.