I love globecooking - recreating exotic recipes from scratch (click through to see my country-by-country index) - but I also love sampling authentic ready-made delicacies from other parts of the world, so when Italia Regina got in touch, I was over the moon. They are an online store who promise to bring you a taste of Italy, sourcing and delivering the finest Italian foodie products all over the world.
The first product that we discovered was this mini panettone or panettoncino from Casa Rinaldi, who are particularly renowned for their traditional balsamic vinegars. Panettone is a traditional sweet Milanese Christmas cake with the addition of raisins (classic version), candied fruit or dried fruit and nuts.
In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone, eggs, sometimes dried or candied fruits, and typically a sweet liqueur such as amaretto. I just sliced ours into wedges which were devoured before they had barely hit the plates though ! It's a very soft texture, similar to French brioche, and the wonderful festive aromas of dried fruit and Christmas spices had our mouths watering.
We also discovered some soft nougat bars, also from Casa Rinaldi. White nougat (called "mandorlato" or "torrone" in Italy), appeared in Cremona, Italy, in the early 15th century and these bars follow the traditional method, sandwiching the chewy nougat between two very thin sheets of rice paper.
The bars are packed full of nuts - the green one is pistachio and the white one is walnut - which perfectly complement the sweetness of the nougat and give it some lovely crunch.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy the bars were to slice with a knife - it's not rock hard or ultra-sticky like some nougat we've tried in the past. Even Juliette, who currently has braces on her teeth, managed to eat it with no problem !
Casa Rinaldi is just one of the brands that are stocked on Italia Regina. You can also buy authentic pasta, sauces, salami, parmesan, oils, vinegars and much more.
for more information, recipes and the history behind traditional Italian foods, check out their blog www.italianwinefood.italiaregina.it and online shop www.italiaregina.it
Disclosure : I received the products in order to write an honest review.