Cookbook gift sets

Bringing the flavors of Sicily to your door

By Christina Mueller

Sicilian heritage might not guarantee a passion for good food, but for the Di Piazza family, the two have always gone hand in hand. So when Sicilian immigrant Vincenzo Di Piazza had trouble finding the foods of Italy locally in St. Louis, he knew he needed to do something about it. Returning to Italy, Vincenzo sought out artisanal producers to source these simple yet essential ingredients—those that ignited his passion for food and cooking, and defined his sense of self, family, and community.

He also happened to change the culinary landscape in the process.

Launched in 1987, Di Piazza’s company, Ditalia, has inspired American food lovers to explore the nuances of Italian foods and find community in the experience of sharing a great meal. In fact, Ditalia was one of the first businesses to offer rare Italian specialty foods and gift baskets on the internet.

Italians make the simplest dishes shine, and with Ditalia the Di Piazza family has taken care of all the heavy lifting. With the warmth of summer nearly upon us, Ditalia has crafted the ideal basket to create a memorable, in-season, pesto-centric summer supper. Welcome the warmer season with their Pesto Experience gift basket. Textured trofie pasta is the perfect complement to Frantoio d’Orazio extra-virgin olive oil and mild-mannered DOP Genovese basil pesto. The dish is completed with a sprinkle of Salfiore di Romagna sea salt, which manages to further brighten the pesto flavor.

In honor of Ditalia’s 20th anniversary, this month BlackboardEats subscribers are invited to share the Ditalia love with 30 percent off of anything and everything on the entire site. And in true Italian style, the Di Piazza family would like to encourage you to put down your social devices, invite some friends to gather around the dinner table, and engage in some face-to-face conversation over some real Italian pesto pasta. You won’t regret it. Vincenzo would be proud—and your life will be just a little bit richer for it.

Finished Trofie pasta from the Italian Pesto Experience Basket
The perfect pesto experience

Make sure to toss the trofie with a tablespoon or two of the included extra-virgin olive oil. This ensures your pasta soaks up every flavorful drop of the pesto.

If it's good enough for the pope..

Salfiore di Romagna is sourced from the coastal town of Cervia on the Adriatic Sea, where salt production dates back more than 2,000 years. Cervia, from the Latin acervus, literally means a mound of white salt. Often called il sale dei Papi, or "Pope's Salt," Salfiore di Romagna is still sent to the Pope’s estate at the Vatican and is the preferred salt of Vatican City.

Scott, Vincenzo, and Vince