Food-of-the-Month clubs have come a long way since old-fashioned fruit boxes or tins of nuts, as the Cucina Ferrari Culinary Club well exemplifies. Produced by Italian importer A.G. Ferrari, this food club makes an outstanding gift for lovers of gourmet food and cooking, bringing an assortment of quality artisanal Italian specialties to the recipient’s door every month. In fact, you may wish to gift yourself with a membership to the club at the same time as you buy one for friends or family. It is not inexpensive, but for the quality and variety of products included, the Cucina Ferrari Culinary Club is a good value.
A.G. Ferrari has been in the Italian food import business since 1919. While they operate a storefront in the San Francisco Bay area of California, many of their products are available throughout the United States via mail order. Today their website features a wide variety of products including olive oils, pasta sauces, condiments, cookies, pastas and much more. They focus on small, artisanal producers so that even the simplest products such as rice, flour and dried beans are something exceptional.
While individual products and gift baskets are available in their on-line store, you can also sign up for their monthly Cucina Ferrari Culinary Club, which makes an excellent gift for the Italian cooking aficionado. Each month’s delivery includes and assortment of products, typically focused on the foods of a specific region of Italy or foods meant to be enjoyed at a certain time of the year. The October 2010 shipment featured, as an example, a jar of Organic Tuscan Tomato Puree, Traditional Northern Italian Sauerkraut in Prosecco, Walnut Sauce from Liguria, Potato Gnocci and Fusilli Napoletani. The November 2010 shipment included Organic “Strozapretti” Pasta, canned Borlotti Beans, their popular Green Olive Paste, Onions in Balsamic Vinegar and “Vialone Nano” Rice, a specialty rice meant for Italian risotto. A newsletter is included with each shipment describing the products fully, as well as a recipe which showcases how to use the ingredients in a special meal.
Membership in the Cucina Ferrari Culinary Club can be purchased for one month to twelve months at a time, and ranges in price from approximately $44-50 a month depending on the length of time purchased. This price is not inexpensive; with typically five products included per shipment, that makes the cost per item typically $9-10 each. However, these specialty items are often difficult to find in the United States, unless you live near a well-stocked Italian Food Market. Therefore the Culinary Club can be a great gift for someone who does not have regular access to such markets and wants interesting food items conveniently delivered to them once a month.
The quality of the products in A.G. Ferrari’s Culinary Club is always exceptional. The pasta, flour and beans are far superior to supermarket brands and feature many unique varieties you cannot obtain otherwise. The pestos and other sauces make wonderful quick dinners over pasta or topping for bruschetta and other snacks. Certain products do tend to be delivered repeatedly, so if you belong to the club for more than one year, you are likely to receive some duplicates. However, this can be welcome if you find you especially like certain items and want to enjoy them on a seasonal basis as Italians typically do.
Overall, the Cucina Ferrari Culinary Club is one of the more unique and enjoyable food-of-the-month clubs currently in operation. It makes a great gift for food lovers, and membership can grant any enthusiast easy and regular access to excellent Italian gourmet delights. If you do not wish to commit to joining the club right away, consider shopping for individual products from A. G. Ferrari’s web storefront, to sample the variety and quality of products available.
* A.G. Ferrari website
* Personal experience