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There is a variety of ingredients that should take pride of place in every Italian lover’s store cupboard. Whether whipping up a quick but delicious pasta or a more complicated dish, there are certain ingredients that have become as essential in British households as in Italy. For retailers, it’s key to have a good stock of these British-Italian basics in order to become a one-stop-shop for your customers, with quality in mind.
Extra-virgin olive oil
You simply won’t see a great Italian kitchen without at least one bottle of premium oil. Extra Virgin is the most natural form of olive oil, made by crushing the olives and extracting the juice without the use of chemicals. It’s worth stocking both a mild-flavoured one for cooking and another, more distinctly-flavoured option for drizzling on salads and other dishes.
No store cupboard would be complete without a few different varieties of dried pasta. Look further afield than the classic shapes such as penne and spaghetti, and experiment with orecchiette, tagliatelle and boccole. Moreover, short-cut pastas such as orzo and maccheroni are ideal for not only soups but stews and salads as well for a true taste of the Mediterranean.
Traditional high-quality Balsamic vinegar has so many different uses. It can be poured over salads, used as a dip for breads and drizzled on vegetables. The older, sweeter varieties are delicious drizzled over ice cream – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
Herbs and spices
Whether cooking a rich, herby ragu or garnishing a salad with fresh basil, herbs and spices are essential to Italian cooking. Herbs such as thyme and oregano add a delicious Italian flavour, and good quality options will go a long way.
Tomatoes are used as a base for a variety of pasta dishes, bakes and soups. Quality is key for that authentic flavour, and whole peeled tomatoes are considered to offer the best. It is also beneficial to stock a range of beans used in Italian cooking such as cannellini and borlotti.