In the past hampers for me, were those odd things that you’d find at the back of a catalogue. Huge piles of tins and packets that as a kid I’d think were fabulous and great value.
Of course, grown up me knows why my mum would roll her eyes at me, and quietly ignore my enthusiasm for a big box full of food. Sure there’d be good stuff in there – chocolates, booze, biscuits. But also a lot of stuff that she (and I) wouldn’t actually want to eat. Tins of ham, fruit cocktail, and veg might work for some families, but with a full allotment, and fussy kids, not ours.
Now, I think of hampers and I think of luxury treats rather than store cupboard fillers. I think of things that I might not necessarily buy for myself in a shop, but would love to have, or try. And just in time for Christmas 2018, you can treat yourself, or someone you love to one of these gorgeous Italian feast hampers from DiForti.
I’ve been lucky enough to receive one of their Small Savoury Hampers for review – and I’m a bit smitten.
The small savoury hamper contains a slew of goodies – Carnaroli rice, gluten free penne rigate (they also have a totally vegan gluten free hamper too), a jar of Nduja, Sicilian pesto, Toscano salami, truffle oil, Taralli biscuits, tuna loin in oil, and sweet red peppers stuffed with cream cheese.
Lots of treat for a deli board, or to play with in the kitchen. Here I must admit that the Taralli – crisp, crunchy bread biscuits for nibbling on – were the first casualty. In fact, I was scoffing these on a daily basis in the office before they even made it home. They are addictive.
The Sicilian pesto was the next to fall. We had it stirred into pasta to accompany some roast chicken thighs – the soft fennel flavours in this pesto are delicious. The final time we had it was to accompany some thick pork steaks – fennel and pork always go well together and this was no exception.
A hunk of that delicious salami went into a simple risotto with the Carnarolli – I can now admit that I prefer Carnarolli rice to Arborio. Arborio is fine, but Canarolli just has something about it that I prefer, maybe it’s because it’s a little finer, maybe it’s just because I find I need to stir it that little bit less.
Finally, whilst I have the stuffed peppers in mind for Boxing Day’s living room carpet picnic, I’m plotting on using the rest of the goodies in January, whenI have time to get properly creative in the kitchen. Maybe the second half of the rice with the white truffle oil in a mushroom risotto. And the tuna might work well in a creme fraiche pasta dish that is another store cupboard favourite.
In the meantime… Santa, how much room do you have on your sleigh for a large hamper?