From the leaning tower of Pisa and the Roman ruins that offer a step back into history to the watery canals of Venise, Italy is a place known for both it’s beautiful architecture and its delicious food. It is also a country that has heavily influenced the rest of the world not only due to the talented fashion designers such as Gucci and Versace but also for incredible artists like Leonardo da Vinci who paved for the way for the future of fine art. Food is also a huge thing that we can appreciate about Italy, think spaghetti and meatballs and pepperoni pizza, but this European country is also known for many other popular snacks ranging from black truffle chips and lemon pepper crackers to orange-carrot cake and a chocolate bar made only for the richest of the rich, all of which we’ll be getting a taste of this month.
Alfredo’s Truffle Chips
Potato Chips with Black Truffles
While Italy is world renowned for it’s pasta and wine, there’s also another treasured food that Italians simply cannot live without and those are black truffles. These small, brown mushrooms are typically grown in the Northern and Central areas of Italy and help provide a complex and unique flavor to any pasta dish. The fungi can be quite difficult to locate though as they are found underground with the areas heavily guarded by hunters. Specially trained dogs and pigs are employed to sniff out these mushrooms which are then harvested and used to create delicious foods such as these black truffle potato chips, made using real Italian truffles.
Chocolate Covered Cake with Coffee and Custard
Tiramisu can be found under the dessert section of almost every Italian restaurant’s menu but the beloved dessert hasn’t been around for that long. Having only first been introduced sometime in the 1970’s, this layered cake was created by a man known as Carminantonio Iannaccone who had already become a pro pastry chef by the age of 12. After opening his own restaurant, he set out on a mission to create a dessert that would encompass the everyday flavors of Italy. Two years later, tiramisu was born and was made using a pudding type cake with espresso, rich custard, and lady fingers, with the name tiramisu meaning ‘pick me up’ as the dessert contained caffeinated coffee. By the 1980’s, the dessert had spread like wildfire with chefs around Italy either buying Iannaccone’s recipe to sell in their shops or creating their own version, with this creamy cake now known as being one of Italy’s staples.
Taralli Limone e Pepe
Lemon-Pepper Flavored Wheat Snack
If you happen to be cruising down the snack aisle in an Italian grocery store, you’ll notice that the aisle isn’t filled with chips and popcorn but rather Italy’s most popular snack food, taralli. These crunchy, spirals are made using a blend of flour, water, and olive oil and are best described as being a mix between a breadstick, pretzel, and a cracker. These tarallis also come in a multitude of different flavors for everyone’s taste buds ranging from coffee flavored to fennel seed and rosemary. The ones that we’ll be taste testing this month combine tangy lemon with a generous amount of cracked black pepper for a truly unique snack.
Crispy Almond Cookies
Made using an abundance of crunchy almonds for that perfect nutty flavor, these amaretti cookies come from a place of love. The story behind these cookies dates back to 1719 and involves a young couple who were living in Sarrono at the time. When they got word that the cardinal was passing through their town for a visit from Milan, they decided that they wanted to bake a special treat for the occasion. Working with very minimal ingredients and little time, the couple mixed together just about everything they could get their hands on which included sugar, egg whites, and apricot kernels. When the cookies were done baking, they wrapped them in gift paper and gifted them to the cardinal. He ended up falling in love with the young couple’s creation and blessed them for a long and happy marriage. The couple went on to open their own cookie business selling these crunchy and delicious almond creations which are still enjoyed throughout Italy today.
Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts
While Italy is known for being the second largest hazelnut producers in the world, the Italian hazelnuts grown in the Piedmont region, are definitely their pride and joy. Prized for their excellence and loved throughout the country, these hazelnuts are responsible for not only Nutella, the chocolatey breakfast spread loved worldwide, but also for this chocolate bar. Created by the Italian chocolatier Cuorenero, it includes not only the freshest Piedmont hazelnuts but also the finest cocoa possible, sourced by South America and West Africa, making it one high quality snack.
Froletti Al Limone Cookies
‘When life gives you lemons’ is a commonly used phrase made to help motivate and uplift somebody but in Italy, lemons themselves are enough to bring anyone some joy and happiness. Considered to be an art form, growing lemons in Italy is serious business with their citrus known to be some of the best in the world, making the tedious process of cultivating the land and months of endless care all worth it. These citrus fruit often time grow upwards of three times bigger than your average grocery store lemon with one variety, the Cedon Citron, even growing to be as large as a human head. While Italians are talented at growing lemons, they’re even better at cooking with them, using the zesty flavor of the citrus to bring a vibrancy and uniqueness to many different dishes and desserts, including these lemon froletti cookies, which are packed with a bright, citrus flavor.
Rustichelle al Rosmarino
Having been used for centuries not only for it’s fragrant and strong flavoring but also for the medicinal properties, rosemary is the star ingredient in these crispy herb crackers. This herb has been known to treat many different things such as muscle pain, improve the memory, help with circulation, boost the immune system and even slow the aging process of the brain. The use of rosemary is so frequent in Italy that researchers in the region believe it is the reason that many Italians are living two decades longer than the national average with over 300 residents currently living in the country aged 100 years or older. While these crackers can’t promise a guaranteed long life, one thing they can promise is a flavorful and tasty snack.
White Chocolate with Saffron
Also referred to as ‘red gold’ due to the tedious process just to harvest the spice, Italian saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. In order to cultivate one pound of this precious spice, a whopping 75,000 flowers must be harvested which are then carefully plucked to avoid contamination, as other parts of the flower are extremely poisonous. It is then all laid out to dry before it is then packaged and ready to be sold. The red gold saffron is one of the world’s rarest spices and is sought after due to its brightness and aroma but also comes with a hefty price tag of $2,000 per pound. This white chocolate bar included in this month’s box is made with this expensive Italian saffron as well as delicate and sweet white chocolate making for a treat that’ll leave anyone feeling like royalty.
Italian Carrot Cake with Orange Cream
Surely you’ve heard of carrot cake before or you’ve even had a taste of it, with its thick layer of cream cheese frosting loaded with nuts and raisins, but in Italy, carrot cake is something completely different. Italians believe that carrot cake should be highlighting the natural sweetness of carrots and so they get rid of all the extras including the cream cheese frosting instead adding a touch of orange juice to help bring out that fresh flavor of the carrots. Because of this secret ingredient, carrot cake is actually a popular choice of breakfast food but can also be a dessert simply by adding a drizzle of orange cream over the top for added sweetness.
Anello Gusto Pizza Rings
Pizza Flavored Corn Snack
If you’re a pizza lover, you better thank Italy for their amazing creation which originated back in the 18th century. This saucy, cheesy, masterpiece was created in Naples and was made by the locals using ingredients that were most available to them such as tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil. The creation of the very first pizza spread throughout the country like wildfire and quickly became an international sensation with many different varieties and flavors available today. There are also a multitude of different snacks flavored like the famous dish, including these puffy rings flavored with all of the components of an authentic Italian pizza, with hints of tomatoes, cheese, and olive oil.
Effervescenti Fizzy Candies
Lemon and Orange Fizzy Fruit Candies
From dishes such as pizza and pasta to tiramisu and limoncello, the food in Italy is anything but boring and the same can be said about their drinks as well. Here, the locals love to sip on beverages that are full of fizz and flavor and tend to skip over ordinary tap water in favor of these crisp drinks. In Italian restaurants, every table is set with a bottle of fizzy mineral water known as ‘aqua frizzata’ and the shelves of Italian grocery stores are brimming with different flavors and varieties of these fizzy drinks. With their love of all things fizzy, it comes as no surprise that the Italians have found a way to incorporate this fizziness into their candies. Filled with a bubbly powder to make them tickle your mouth, these orange and lemon candies are truly something else.
Originating from the Northern Italian town of Torin, these famous chocolates have been made the exact same way for centuries and are known as the pride and joy of Italy. The hazelnuts used to create this deliciousness come from the famous Piedmont region known for its hazelnuts, which are ground up into a paste and then mixed with cocoa and sugar to create this silky confection. Though it is uncertain as to who invented this delicacy, its believed that they became popular in the 1860’s and are now considered to be one of the best authentic Italian treats.
Cappuccino Cream and Cereal Truffles
If there’s one thing you should know about Italy, its that they take their coffee very seriously. While most of us need a cup of the liquid gold to start our day off on the right foot, in Italy there are a strict set of rules to follow when it comes to coffee. Some of these rules are quite complicating and out there including the fact that beverages with milk such as lattes and cappuccinos are not to be drank after 11 am as drinks with milk are reserved strictly for breakfast. Another fun fact about the coffee business in Italy is that to-go cups aren’t a thing. This means that if you’re ordering a coffee from the coffee shop, you’ll be forced to sip your drink at the counter before paying for it. So while there may be quite a few rules and guidelines surrounding coffee, be glad that the only thing to do with these truffles is to enjoy the creamy cappuccino flavored filling.
Rating 5/5 (my absolute favorite thing this month)
Another month of Universal Yums in the bag and onto the next, where we’ll be trying snacks and candies from another brand new country.
In the meantime, be sure to catch up on any previous posts you may have missed and don’t forget to check out the link below to save $5 on your first month of Universal Yums.