For Italians, food is celebrated and enjoyed with gatherings of family and friends. A true Italian feast is best when it’s eaten in the company of those we love, at a time when the whole family can slow down over conversation and several courses of fresh, plentiful food.ciaoitalia_family_share

Right now is great time to plan an Italian feast with the family because H-E-B is celebrating the flavors of Italy during their Ciao Italia event going on from September 28 through October 11. When you stop by your local H-E-B, you’ll find delicious new recipes and products that are actually direct from Italy, like balsamic vinegars, olive oils, pastas, sauces and more.

During Ciao Italia, H-E-B is making it easy for us to gather all the ingredients for an Italian feast. Below we’re sharing some recipe ideas to help you pull this together in your own kitchen.

ciaoitalia-middlelisting-800x200Take it Slow: For many Italians, Sunday lunch is a perfect time for a big family feast. In Italy, this meal can last several hours. It’s the main occasion to bring the extended family together, and the time when all courses are included — from antipasto to dessert & caffe’. While it might be hard to carve out this much time in our own busy schedules, it’s nice to plan this type of feast when you’re not in a rush and can take it slow.

Antipasti: Classic antipasti are usually made of charcuterie, cheese, pickles. H-E-B’s website includes some really great ideas of recipes. Check out this page of Easy Italian Appetizers that includes Marinated Mozzerella Antipasto and Prosciutto Wrapped Melon.

image-1-1Main Courses: In Italy, the main course is usually split in two, primo and secondo (first and second courses). Primo consists of pasta, risotto or a soup. Traditionally, pasta is freshly hand-made on the same day. (Check out H-E-B’s tutorial on How to Cook Pasta Like an Italian for pro tips.) Secondo varies from region to region but is usually based on meat or fish, with countless side dishes. The H-E-B website includes a huge assortment of Italian recipes sorted by region. Here’s a few that stood out to us, looking particularly delicioso:

ciaoitalia_family_photo-for-editorialDesserts: A few pieces of cheese usually close the main part of the lunch. But there’s more to go with desserts, fruit and socializing over a cup of coffee and a bit of limoncello (lemon liquor). These cookies or tiramisu looks like they’d go well with long chats with the fam.

image-1-2–> H-E-B Ciao Italia Sweepstakes: Besides recipes and cooking tips, when you visit you can also enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win one of several fabulous prizes including a Fiat, a trip to Italy or Vespa. Good luck!

We hope you enjoy your Italian Feast! If you have recipe ideas or suggestions to share with us, we’d love to hear them! Please let us know in the comments below.

Buon Appetito!