Bring Italy To You
2020 has been a year of massive change. Nowadays, the new normal consists of meals at home, Zoom parties, and cancelled trips. While logging online to cancel your dream vacation to Italy may have felt gut wrenching, there is always a positive to be found in every difficult situation. If you were dreaming of your summer consisting of Italian nights with pasta, pizza, and Chianti galore, now is the perfect time to take on a DIY project and bring Italy to the safety of your own home. When most people think of Italy, they imagine tasty wine at night, an aperol spritz during the day, fresh ingredients, and the sounds of Italian music constantly playing in the background. Fortunately, this is something that can be recreated in your own home. Read on to find out how to bring Italy to you!
What To Wear
There is nothing that gets people more in the mood than when they look and feel their best. Therefore, lay out all the outfits you were planning on packing for your trip to Italy and wear them during your “Italian Staycation”. Italian summers are HOT! That’s why packing for a trip to Italy should consist of lots of breathable linen and cotton based clothes. In addition to staying cool, Italians like to remain fashion-forward.
When it comes to dressing for Italy, keep your outfits simple yet sophisticated. Below are a few outfit ideas to jog your creative side.
Daytime: A white linen dress, cross body purse, flat espadrilles, sunglasses and a floppy hat to keep the sun off your face.
Nighttime: A patterned high rise mini skirt (not too short though), black puff sleeve t-shirt, strappy heeled sandals, and a stylish clutch.
What To Drink
Chances are, if you were planning a trip to Italy, you were looking forward to tasty cocktails during the day overlooking the Amalfi coast, and classic Italian wines to complement beautiful charcuterie boards and pizza and pasta galore. While you may not be able to bring the views directly to your home, you can absolutely bring the drinks! Below are some classic drinks you absolutely must add in to your “Italian Staycation.”
Aperol Spritz: This is a drink that is Italian to its core. Hailing from Northeast Italy, the Barbieri brothers had no clue their creation would one day be one of the most famous Italian drinks. This simple drink only takes a few minutes to make. Yet, it will have you feeling like you have been transported to Italy itself. While there are many different varieties of the drink, the classic recipe seems to hold strong in the hearts of Italians.
RECIPE: Fill a wine glass with ice, add equal parts Aperol and Prosecco with a dash of club soda and a slice of orange for garnish. Feel free to adjust the recipe to your desired taste!
Limoncello: This yellow liqueur comes from Southern Italy. It can be enjoyed on its own, mixed with club soda, or added to a variety of different cocktails to give a tangy twist. While you can make your own with 100 proof vodka, organic lemons, and sugar fairly easily, this is one of those unique items that is more fun when left to the professionals. Order an imported bottle from your local specialty alcohol store, and opt for the “pick up and go” or “contactless delivery” option to stay safe.
Bellini: Bellinis are another classic Italian cocktail. Originating in Venice, bellinis are the Italian version of a mimosa.
RECIPE: The easy version of the recipe simply calls for 3/4 glass of Prosecco, 1/4 glass of peach puree, and peaches for garnish. However, if you want to make your own peach puree, the gets slightly more complicated.
Chianti: Now, when it comes to nighttime, there is nothing more Italian than a bottle of Chianti. Whether you are enjoying some charcuterie or homemade pizza and pasta, a bottle of Chianti will immediately transport you to central Tuscany, home of the unique wine. Opt for the “riserva” which signifies the wine has been aged for at least two years in the barrel or the “gran selezione” indicating it has been aged for two and a half years. A good chianti can move mountains. However, this type of wine does tend to be a bit acidic if enjoyed before enough aging has been achieved.
What To Eat
While Italy has scenic beaches, historical monuments, and shopping galore, everyone who visits Italy cannot seem to stop talking about the food! Whether its a charcuterie board made with unique cheeses and meats, or pizza and pasta made from scratch, Italy takes the cake when it comes to the best food in Europe. Fortunately, you can bring a little slice of heaven right to your home, and you can have fun doing it too.
Charcuterie: The term “charcuterie” is actually a French word to describe the branch of cooking dedicated to meats. Charcuterie boards typically have an array of meats, cheeses, crackers, dried fruits, and jams. Charcuterie boards not only taste good, but they look beautiful and are the key to setting the Italian mood during your staycation. The key to a good charcuterie board is variety and quantity.
Simply take your favorite mix of cheeses (think honey goat cheese, creamy brie, blue cheese, smoked gouda, and parmigiano) and arrange them on a wooden cutting board. Next, decide on your meats (think peppered salami, uncured soppressata, prosciutto, and mortadella) and add them to the board as well. Then, add in some salt and pepper crackers, sourdough slices, boysenberry jam, dried apricots, and almonds. Before you know it, you will have the perfect charcuterie board.
Pizza and Pasta: Italy is the country of carbs…and boy are they worth it! There is something special about the way Italians made their pizza and pasta and a lot of it lies in the fact that everything is made in-house. Therefore, there are a few different ways you can incorporate pizza and pasta into your staycation.
If you do not feel like doing any work, call your favorite Italian restaurant and order delivery. While this may not feel quite as authentic, it will still keep the Italian vibe going and you know you will love the way the food tastes.
If you want to make dinner an activity the whole family can enjoy, plan a “make your own pizza” night. Simply buy you favorite dough (*Trader Joes Herb Pizza Dough is the best), a pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and whatever toppings your family likes. For pasta, you can make anything from lasagna to gnocchi and add in your own homemade bolognese sauce.
For those of you that happen to be in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, I recently discovered , your one stop shop to bringing Italian cooking and ingredients right to your front door. After training at the Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy, she began her own homemade pizza and pasta kits, for those looking to bring a little piece of Italy to their own homes. Each month the kits consist of a different recipe, with all necessary ingredients, and dough that is hand rolled by Melissa herself!
Dessert: No meal is complete without some kind of dessert. For Italian vibes, end your meal with a scoop (or two) of gelato, biscotti, tiramisu or cannoli.
Tie It Together
While an Italian themed staycation may not be what you were expecting when you booked your flight to Rome, it can still be a great way to switch up the days and nights we now spend in our homes. From putting on all the outfits you spent months planning for, to enjoying tasty drinks and homemade food from the safety and comfort of your own home, bringing Italy to you is the perfect way adapt to this new normal.
Small things here and there can also help to turn your home into an Italian oasis. Red and white checkered table cloths (white linen for nice dinners), an Italian wine tasting event, and an Italian flag hanging at the entrance to your home can help to transform your home into an Italian staycation. After you decorate your home and decide on your outfits, drinks, and food, simply put on your favorite Italian playlist from Spotify, sit back, relax, and enjoy the time with your loved ones.