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January 24, 2017
After the indulgences of the holiday season, it’s time to make a clean start to the year… and that includes in the kitchen too! With the Year of the Rooster on the horizon, Chinese New Year tradition dictates that you should give your house a bit of a spring clean, sweeping away the bad luck to welcome new beginnings – so what better excuse to give your store cupboards a bit of a spruce-up?
Yes, it’s time to say farewell to those dusty dried-up sauces, decades-old jars of indeterminate origin and mouldy bits of cheese at the back of your fridge and take the opportunity to stock up on some brand spanking new pantry essentials that deliver the most bang for your buck in the long-term.
OK, let’s start with an easy one… and surely we don’t need to tell you why salt is the godfather of all gourmet staples? Our Sylter Coarse Salt is screened by hand and sealed in airtight glass jars to guarantee the highest quality; use these crunchy flakes for seasoning whatever food you fancy – it really is amazing how much a little sprinkle of salt can enliven even the blandest of dishes.
For nights where culinary inspiration has deserted you, carbs are always the answer! Our range of Verrigni Pasta is made in Italy and comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, including spaghetti, linguine and fusili; once opened, store your pasta in a cool dry place in an airtight container and it should last for plenty more meals to come.
Although debate rages over whether you should be cooking with olive oil, there’s no argument that it’s the saviour of many a dull dish purely in terms of flavour. Every oil has its own distinct taste, colour and aroma but we love our Casanova di Neri’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, tart and astringent it works very well in salads and with raw veggies. Petrolo's Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil instead is more mellow and warm, suitable for pastas, meat and fish dishes, or simply as a dip with bread.
Balsamic vinegar goes hand-in-hand with olive oil; combined, they create the most simple but delicious vinaigrette that any kitchen amateur can master with ease. Save a bottle of Acetaia Leonardi’s Balsamic Vinegar for adding extra oomph to salads, sauces, marinades, raw or cooked vegetables, poultry and fish dishes, and as a dip for bread.
It’s always good to have a jar of nature’s gold on-hand to make your day that little bit sweeter. Petrolo’s Acacia Honey comes straight from the Italian countryside and has a gorgeous mellow flavour and smooth runny viscosity that makes it ideal for drizzling over yoghurt or dessert, accompanying your cheese and fruit-board or adding as a sweetener to drinks.
These little umami bombs deliver a real punch to any dish – and compared to the overly salty supermarket varieties, Don Bocarte’s Cantabrian Anchovies take that flavour to a whole new level. Store them in the fridge and try them raw with salads, cheese, fresh tomatoes and on top of bread, or add them to pasta sauces or meat dishes to add an extra depth and richness to your cooking.
Speaking of intense flavour kicks, a shaving of Parmesan makes almost any savoury dish sing! Montanari & Gruzza’s Organic Parmigiano Reggiano will last forever in the fridge in case of any foodie emergency – just remember to take it out a while before using.
Another exceptional condiment that every pantry should not be without is a high-quality sauce to serve with your favourite steak. Eckart’s Handmade Spicy Steak Sauce is thick and sticky, and will look great on your shelf in its minimalist glass bottle with retro paper label.
It’s always useful to have a shelf full of seasonings and sauces to help kick-start cooking creativity – and we might be biased here, but Mekhala’s Organic Sauces & Seasonings never disappoint! Their Asian-inspired range includes dried herb blends, curry pastes and ready-made dressings that offer a quick, easy and convenient route to a whole rostrum of delicious dishes at the drop of a chef’s hat.
Rachel Read is a freelance writer, editor and blogger with over a decade’s worth of media experience under her belt. In addition to co-founding writing & editing agency Editors’ Ink and writing her own lifestyle and beauty blog Through The Looking Glass, Rachel is a food lover whose job frequently involves checking out the latest restaurant openings in Hong Kong – yum! Follow her on Instagram for #foodporn aplenty.
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