Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Give the Gift of Restaurant-Quality, Gluten-Free Pasta This Holiday Season from Charlie's Table -- Sampler Boxes Available to Ship Direct to Door (Review)

 Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Have you come across a food or scent that reminds you of a loved one or dear friend no longer with us?  Recently, I was sent a sample box of gluten-free pasta from Charlie's Table, and found myself thinking of my Nana, who passed 10 years ago.  She was Italian and loved to bake and cook up authentic Italian dishes for her family to enjoy. But, if you have an Italian relative, then you know trying to get them to write down a recipe is hard as they have it up in their head, and measurements are done using their hand instead of measuring spoons and cups.  When she passed, we not only lost our Nana, but we lost all the family recipes we grew up having her make share.  Over the years, I have tried to find similar recipes for some of her dishes through online Italian recipe forums and cookbooks, but nothing ever came close to the flavors of what she was able to create - usually in record time. When we came to visit, she would quickly put on her apron and in what seemed like minutes, she would be whipping up fresh, homemade pasta, sauce and meatballs. It was crazy what she was able to do in the kitchen, and missed for sure.  I wish I could have continued to make the dishes and baked treats she did for me, and pass those recipes onto my girls for them to continue the tradition.  

But, getting back to Charlie's Table...I was sent their sampler box, which contained four 9 oz. containers of their popular handmade cut pasta to enjoy. Each container feeds 3 people, or in our case, two very hungry tweens who love their pasta and grated Parmesan cheese.  We received the following types of gluten-free pasta in the sampler #1 box -- Garganelli, Gemelli, Rigatoni, and Tagliatelle.  

My girls were excited when I showed them the different pastas, and were quick to ask if I could make one for them to try.  I don't know about you, but once you try handmade pasta it is hard to go back to the dry, packaged stuff. Plus, when you cook up homemade pasta, it cooks in less time - usually 3-5 minutes, depending on the pasta type you made.  The four pastas sent from Charlie's Table took only 3 minutes to cook up, once a pot of salted water came to a boil.  If you don't do it already, make sure whenever you cook up pasta, either homemade or store bought, that you salt the water, as this is the only time you can really infuse the pasta with salt.  I learned this from my Nana, and have made sure my girls know to do this with pasta and anything else that we boil in water on the stove top.  I have always been a fan of Tagliatelle pasta, so chose to make this one first for everyone to try.  In under 10 minutes I had the water boil, pasta added and cooked up, strained, and then in plates ready to serve up.  Usually with a boxed spaghetti from the store, you have to wait 10-12 minutes just to get the water to boil, and then another 12-16 minutes for the pasta to cook al dente. As a busy mom and two growing girls, I love the convenience of Charlie's Table pastas as I can take a package out of the fridge and cook up in record time.

Once I plated the pasta and tried a piece, I found myself reminiscing about my Nana and her pasta.  This pasta from Charlie's Table tasted just like what my Nana would cook up for my brothers and I -- even though she never cooked gluten-free as it wasn't a thing back then.  I have tried so many handmade pasta recipes over the years, as well as bought pastas whenever I would be in the North End in Boston, but nothing came close to the flavors of my Nana's pasta -- that was until I tried Charlie's Table. It was crazy how by taking a bite, then another, until I ended up making myself a plate of pasta, I felt like my Nana was still here and just having  made fresh pasta for me to enjoy at her dining room table. I couldn't help but tear up as I myself feeling that rush of love that I lost when she passed all those years ago, just with a plate with pasta.  And, when family came for Thanksgiving, I had to whip up a pot of Charlie's Table pasta to see if I was just having a moment, or if this pasta tasted just like my Nana's.  My father would be the true taste tester as my Nana was his mom, and grew up on her pasta.  After the first bite he started to tear up, and turned to me and said, "Yes," this tastes like her pasta,  All those years later he, too, was transported back to her kitchen in Boston, enjoying a fresh batch of pasta. My brothers also agreed as they sampled the pasta, and were quick to grab their phones and place an order online at Charlie's Table, so that they would never be without our Nana's pasta again.  I, too, have also ordered more pasta to keep in the freezer, not just because it reminded me of my Nana's pasta, but also because my two girls loved it!  They said out of the all the different handmade pastas I have bought, this one is the best tasting and has the right consistency and feel you would expect when cooking up a fresh batch of handmade pasta. 

All of Charlie's Table pastas have been handcrafted on our old world Italian pasta machines with bronze cut dies that create a gritty texture to hold to sauce on the pasta.

Who knew that sampling a pasta for inclusion in my holiday gift guide would bring me to tears, warm my soul and fill my belly, all at the same time.  I felt the connection to my Nana that has seemed to grow distant as the years continue to pass without her here with us any more, and I am so glad I was able to share what "real" handmade pasta is supposed to taste like with my girls.  

We are now fans of Charlie's Table pasta, and will be buying their gluten-free pastas from here on out. And, when I am looking for the perfect gift for foodies and those with a gluten allergy on my holiday shopping list, I don't have to stress trying to find the right gift, as I just have to head to the Charlie's Table website and place an order, and the pasta will be shipped direct to their door.  

No need to worry about wrapping as the pasta will be enjoyed upon receiving and shortly thereafter. Once you take a bite of Charlie's Table pasta, you will want another and another, until you wonder where the full plate of pasta that was in front of you went to.

If you love pasta, or are looking for a unique gift idea to give those hard to shop for people on your holiday list, or maybe need a gift to ship to family who can't be with you this holiday season, why not consider gifting them the sampler box of gluten-free pasta from Charlie's Table?  You can't go wrong with the assortment of pasta included, and the flavor of this pasta is like nothing you have ever tried before. I am getting hungry and craving a plate of Charlie's Table pasta as I write up this post.  I know what we will be having for dinner tonight! :-)

 Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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