christmas-gift-ideas

I have been absolutely obsessed with Maremman artisans recently. There are so many gorgeous craftsmen in my neck of the woods that I wish I’d discovered them earlier. I would have saved a bundle on rubbish presents and Ikea furniture.

But with the festive season so close I can touch it, I’ve put together a list of gift ideas inspired by the Maremma. You don’t have to be in our corner of the Tuscan countryside to get all of them, but all the much-loved local artisans I’ve mentioned do ship overseas, if you’re smitten.

The Maremma is about simplicity and authenticity, so bring a little of the country spirit to your Christmas this year and give gifts that are handmade, homemade and utterly Tuscan!

Disclaimer: I didn’t get paid to mention any of these artisans. I’m simply obsessed with them on my own accord!

1. Altaluna’s Christmas elves

altaluna elves

I love, love, love Altaluna. This Florence-born, Pitigliano-based ceramic artist basically reads my mind. Everything she makes, I want. Her pieces are whimsical and bright, perfect for adults and children and all handmade in the Maremma.

In honour of the festive season, she’s made these gorgeous elf bells that only cost €17 euros and make beautiful knick knacks about the home.

2. Abbaialuna’s Bucchero water glasses

abbialuna

Altaluna’s fidanzato (boyfriend) Abbaialuna makes the most incredible ceramic tableware and I feel like a broken record, but I’m head over heels. I picked up two Bucchero water glasses the other day. Bucchero is an old Etruscan form of pottery making that was all the rage in the Maremma before the Romans arrived.

The pieces aren’t painted black, but are reduced supply of oxygen during kiln firing gives them that colour. The glasses cost me €10 each and are extra special because no two are alike and they have the faintest silver thread through them. I drink everything from water to tea to beer out of them.

3. A panificato or two

panificato giglio island

Who says homemade makes rubbish presents? I have toyed with making a panettone for years, but it’s impossibly difficult. Plus yeasted breads never turn out in my kitchen.

Then I stumbled on this Maremma Christmas dessert from Giglio Island, which is a thousand times easier and more delicious. It’s our version of that gorgeous, gooey Sienese classic, the panforte, but it’s made with dried figs, dark chocolate, liquor-soaked pears, almonds, cinnamon and other delicious holiday flavours.

You can get the recipe here. Make a bunch and wrap them up in butchers paper with kitchen string and a beautiful ribbon for a really artisanal gift.

4. Gift basket of delicious goodies

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If you happen to live in Italy or somewhere that doesn’t have stringent quarantine laws, you can make a Maremman gift basket. My top picks would be a bottle of something by my favourite organic vineyard, Fattoria La Maliosa, the world famous (at least in my mind) Briaca red wine cheese from Manciano‘s dairy, saffron from Marsiliana and anything porcini or truffle related.

You can pick all of this up from a good grocery store or supermarket anywhere in Grosseto, put it a rattan basket or wooden box, wrap it up and you’re good to go.

5. Il Riccio leather purse

il riccio grosseto

I’m new to Il Riccio. I have admired their gorgeous craft shop in Grosseto for years, but never been inside. They have a great English website that features all their collection.

As far as I’m concerned, you won’t find better made or better priced leather goods this side of Tuscany. I’m saying you’re getting these for a steal, but you can be sure it’s truly handmade.

6. Gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice

da caino montemerano maremma tuscany

 

If you love the Maremma, you’re coming back soon enough or constantly gushing to your friends and family about it, so a gift certificate is the perfect excuse to book another holiday to Tuscany’s most spectacular countryside.

You can pick up a gift certificate to all of the Maremma’s six Michelin-starred restaurants or make your own I.O.U a dinner for your personal favourite! The best bit about the latter is that you have to be there to pay the bill.

7. Maremma Maiala

maremma maiala

Super cute t-shirts for guys, girls and kids out of Pitigliano. Maremma Maiala is an Italian curse word that actually dates back to the dates when the Maremma was plagued by malaria and brigands. It wasn’t a nice place to visit and as a result became associated with bad luck and terrible omens.

Maremma Maiala isn’t really rude. It literally means “Maremma pig” but is the local equivalent of “For Heaven’s Sake” or “Bloody Hell” if you happen to be Aussie.

I think these would would make a great and quirky gift, plus they only cost €19!

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