Three ideas for your holiday shopping list: Delicious fresh Italian olive oil, an appliance that will change the way they cook and beautiful cookware made in the Southeast.
Marcelli Formaggi Olio Fresco Novello
Andrew and Christina Marcelli, siblings and co-owners of Marcelli Formaggi, returned from Italy in October with a limited number of organic, first press olio fresco novello (fresh olive oil) to offer their customers, pressed just this fall. This is their third year partnering with a farm in Abruzzo, a region that borders the Adriatic Sea. They travel to Abruzzo to help with the harvest, a process in which the olives go from tree to bottle in seven days. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a bottle. The oil is bright green, slightly cloudy, and intensely “green” in flavor with a bit of peppery finish. It’s highly unusual to get hold of such fresh olive oil so far from where it’s produced. By the time imported olive oil arrives here in the States, it may have been shipped to many places and who knows how it was stored. This is olive oil just about as fresh as it’s possible to get. When you get your bottle, be sure to store it in a dark place, and don’t hoard it. Start drizzling and dipping immediately.
$45 per 500-milliliter bottle. Available from marcelliformaggi.com.
Black + Decker 6-Quart Pressure Cooker
I admit I was a little put off by all the hype over electric pressure cookers. “What’s the big deal?” I thought. Then I tried this electric pressure cooker from Black + Decker. Now I’m a huge fan. If there’s someone on your gift list who loves to cook, and doesn’t have one of these, you’ll be a big hero if you’re the one that gifts them with this. The many functions make this an amazingly versatile appliance. Use the Browning function to melt butter and brown your cubes of butternut squash. Then switch to Steaming and in 10 minutes, after the pressure builds, you have perfectly tender (and browned) squash. I have a whole list of vegetables I cooked in less time than I would have thought possible, and with all kinds of enhancements like the browning. There’s a rice cooker function, a setting for beans and it works as a slow cooker as well. My favorite use was taking it to the beach where it took the place of all those inadequate pots and pans you find in rental houses. I don’t know how I cooked without it.
$99.99 for the 6-quart 11-in-1 cooking pot. Available at amazon.com.
Hammer Stahl American Clad Cookware
If you’re gifting someone who loves to eat local, then they will probably enjoy cooking local, too. Hammer Stahl cookware is made in our neighboring state of Tennessee. The company produces a whole line of beautiful 7-ply stainless steel cookware. We tried the 10.5-inch fry pan and fell in love. The specially designed handle stays cool, the skillet cooks like a dream, the design is perfect for nonstick cooking and ease of use and the whole thing can go in the dishwasher. We love that it’s made by an American cookware company that’s been around since 1874. With cookware made in Clarksville, Tennessee, from steel sourced from Pennsylvania, you can truly feel like you’re supporting local craftsmen and gifting a quality product. This is cookware that will be around forever, as evidenced by the company’s lifetime warranty. Pieces range from skillets to lidded saute pans to stock pots.
The 10.5-inch fry pan is specially priced at $69.95 through December 31, with other pieces and sets on sale as well. Available at Cook’s Warehouse locations. hammerstahl.com