Years ago my cousin and I spent three weeks travelling through Italy.
We had the best time, eating and drinking lemoncello, and eating and seeing the sights, and eating and attempting to speak Italian. Did I mention we did a lot of eating?
That trip ignited a passion in me for all things Italian: I was infatuated with the sights and sounds and people, but – most of all – I utterly fell in love with Italian food. I’d never tasted anything so simple, yet so packed with flavour – fresh seafood gently flavoured with onion and garlic, pasta in a simple sage and butter sauce, and pizza – oh, the pizzas!
We quickly learned that less was more – a classic Margherita, with salsa di pomodoro (tomato sauce), formaggio (cheese) and fresh basilico (basil) – had more flavour packed into every slice than ‘UK pizzas’ that came laden with toppings. It made me appreciate the artistry of traditional Italian cooking even more.
Since then I’ve been obsessed with authentic Italian fare… wood-fired pizzas, insalata tri-colore (tomato, mozzarella, basil), gnocchi drizzled with pesto… which always taste better when you have genuine ingredients.
Ciao Gusto – which translates to ‘Hello Taste’ – is part of ITALIA DEL GUSTO. An alliance of over 30 family owned or cooperative Italian food and wine companies, Italia del Gusto is bringing the local food industry to an international audience with a range of iconic products, and bringing them to life with a selection of traditional recipes.
Unfortunately, jaunts to Italy aren’t so easy to arrange these days (sigh), so I was thrilled when Ciao Gusto got in touch to ask if I’d like to sample some of their range. A hamper of gourmet goodies arrived laden with cheeses and cured meats, olive oil and pasta, and even a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I was in was in foodie heaven.
I was even more excited to discover Ocado (who we do our weekly shop with) now has a dedicated range of Ciao Gusto products that can be purchased alongside your regular online shopping, and delivered straight to your door.
You can choose from hundreds of products; some of my absolute favourites include a toasted panini filled with Auricchio provolone cheese, Negroni salami and some Ponti artichokes (also delicious layered on a pizza base, with some Italian tomato sauce, and some Auricchio buffalo mozarella; yum!).
For a sweet treat, I adore Fabbri Amarena wild cherries in syrup, which I team with Valsoia soya ice cream (completely dairy free but JUST as creamy a delicious as regular ice cream).
If you’re drooling just thinking about it, I’ve got some some ‘favoloso’ news for you – I’m giving away a luxury hamper crammed full of Ciao Gusto goodies, and worth £100! (actual items may differ slightly from those in the photo, depending on availability).
To enter, simply follow the Rafflecopter prompts and cross your fingers. Good luck!
(T&C’s: ends 23.59, 26/5/17, UK only, over 18’s only, 1 x Ciao Gusto Italian hamper worth £100 (exact contents may differ from photo, depending on availability). Not transferable, winner and promoter’s details available on request. Prize sent directly from Ciao Gusto, promoter (Mummy’s Little Monkey) is not responsible for prizes lost or damaged in transit.)