5 ways to add Italian gusto to your next holiday meal

(BPT) – The holiday season is always a special time, but this year it’s especially important to pause, count your blessings and enjoy some delicious foods as you toast to friends and family near and far. Whether you’re celebrating in a small group or just with your immediate family, you can make this holiday memorable by creating new traditions and trying some authentic Italian recipes. The dynamic and versatile flavors of balsamic vinegar and sweet white vinegar are your key to delicious dishes.

These five ideas from the cuisine experts at Carandini are sure to excite this holiday season. Be inspired to try them in your home kitchen and enjoy the wonderful flavors as you make merry memories and cheer to a new year:

Creative cocktails: The Surprising Emilio

Starting your holiday feast with a tasty libation will inspire a smile. Select a drink that reflects seasonal flavors, such as the Surprising Emilio. This dark rum cocktail is perfectly balanced with apple juice, elderflower syrup and Emilio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The creamy texture of this vinegar comes from the grapes used to make it and from the maturing time, which add just the right touch of flavor in this delightful drink. Embrace the tastes of Italy as you raise a glass to happiness throughout the season and beyond.

Amazing appetizers: Vegetable skewers with sweet white vinegar sauce

Photo courtesy @momacy

Select appetizers to prepare the palate without being overfilling, such as fresh vegetables with a hand-prepared dip. Vegetable Skewers with Goat Cheese, Celery and Sweet White Vinegar Sauce are an ideal choice. Fresh vegetables like radish, carrot and cucumber are chopped into bite-size pieces and stacked on appetizer skewers. Complement with a dip made from tangy goat cheese and Bianca Sweet White Vinegar. Serve on a tray for buffet or table serving, or opt for easy grab-and-go small bites by placing a dollop of dip in the bottom of small cups and add a few mini skewers in each.

Marvelous main dish: Balsamic-glazed chicken

When you want a fuss-free main dish guaranteed to impress, opt for Balsamic-Glazed Chicken on a Bed of Arugula with Toasted Crostini. Each bite-sized chicken piece gets its incredible flavor from a glaze featuring Emilio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Place the chicken on a bed of the arugula on each plate and garnish with toasted bread before serving while hot. The rich glaze, juicy chicken and fresh greens are a magical combination that will satisfy taste buds for any holiday occasion.

Sensational sides: Using balsamic vinegars to enhance vegetables

It’s the most wonderful time of year, so your vegetables deserve more than basic salt, pepper and olive oil. Emilio Balsamic Vinegar is a wonderful kitchen essential for enhancing any type of vegetable in new and unexpected ways — especially for those following a vegetarian, vegan or keto-friendly lifestyle. For a fresh side salad, balsamic vinegar is the base for a light, luscious dressing. Root vegetables can be enhanced with a tasty balsamic glaze when roasted slowly in the oven. A balsamic vinegar marinade is ideal for grilled veggies, too. Bottom line: keep this on hand and have fun customizing your favorite vegetable dishes!

Delicious dessert: Cinnamon loaf cake with apples

End the celebration on a sweet note with Apple Loaf Cake that is sure to please young, old and anyone in between. Apple, cinnamon, almond milk and a secret ingredient — a delicate and sweet white condiment offering fruity and fresh notes — combine for a tasty conclusion to any holiday meal. When baking, you’ll garnish the apple loaf cake with apple slices and sprinkled with powdered sugar for a lovely-looking dessert that provides a beautiful visual presentation before you cut into thick slices for everyone to enjoy.

Be sure to visit your local Whole Foods Market to pick up Carandini products for your next Italian-inspired holiday menu, or grab a couple of bottles for gifting to your favorite foodies this holiday season.