I’m a good cook. I’ve cooked most of my life, and I have great role models in my family who are wonderful cooks! I’ve never been interested in sites like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, etc., because I know how to cook, know how to put together recipes, and have generally kept my family well fed. Almost on a lark I decided to check to see if there were “Blue Apron” type of sites in Italy. I was quite surprised to find out there are! Okay, actually I only found two. That might be a limitation of my Italian language/search engine skills!
I only cook for two people these days, and DO find myself a little overwhelmed with trying to pare down our recipes. My main goal in looking for possible meal prep sites was to learn some new “Italian” style recipes for two that are not your standard fare, and to increase my knowledge of Italian ingredients.
The two sites I found are fanceat.com and quomi.it. They appeal to two very different types of cooks. One is the haute cuisine crowd, and the other is the generally able cook who is just looking for ideas, simplicity and convenience. Let’s start with Fanceat.
Fanceat is available in at least Italy and the UK (I didn’t look further), but was definitely not what I was looking for in terms of “everyday” meal planning. Fanceat is designed to be more of an upscale/gourmet meal plan delivery service. These meals are designed by chefs at top qualify (often Michelin rated) restaurants throughout Italy, and delivered to your door within 24 hours, so that you can wow your guests. They had full menu planns with names! Such as Il Picnic Stellato (starry picnic), Susciliano (Sicilian sushi), Contaminzationi (contamination), and Il Mare (the sea). Prices run from 22,45€ per person per meal to 59,95€ per person per meal. Here’s a sample menu.
This is a “picnic” as you can see. A Starry Picnic in fact (or so named). You get quiche with tomato and borage; a salad with chicken, asparagus, grains, and tarragon mayonnaise; a selection of cheeses; and a parfait of rhubarb and white chocolate with strawberries. It shows raspberries on the salad, and a blonde Rabel beer in the photos, but these are not listed as “what’s in the box” – so I wouldn’t count on it. Delivered for 2 people, €50,89. It looks lovely.
This is from Ristorante Gardenia. I couldn’t actually see on the site exactly where Ristorante Gardenia is, and when you search there is definitely more than one in all of Italy, but it was listed as a 1 star Michelin restaurant. Since it specializes in cuisine of Emilia-Romagna (where we live), Lombardia, and Piemonte, it sounded northern, and a little internet sleuthing leads me to believe it is in Caluso (near Torino). No doubt a wonderful restaurant, and if I wanted the perfect picnic for $25 a person, I’d be tempted. But this wasn’t exactly what I was thinking of when I searched for a “Blue Apron” alternative in Italy! I was starting to think that Italians would simply scoff at such a silly idea as an every day food prep delivery service.
Fanceat had many other meals, the most expensive of which was “Il Mare”. It offered a “Pan Brioche Crouton” topped with smoked mozzarella cream, marinated herring and pink onions; Scallops with Grana Padano cream, pineapple and black truffle; and Baccalà (salted cod), with pecorino cream and “proscuitto powder”. For dessert, “Bruto ma Buono” (ugly but good) meringue looking item, a brownie, and a strawberry tart.
Sounds like something I’d love a chef to prepare for me! But at €120 for two people, I’d rather go out somewhere for dinner. I’m not going to pay that much to cook for me and my husband 😉
So, after daydreaming on the fanceat.com, I looked at quomi.it. It was truly the only other food preparation site I could find, and thus I signed up to “try” it. (If you know of others, let me know in the comments!)
Quomi starts off every Tuesday with new menu plans for the following week. You have to be quick, because they apparently have a planned supply of each, and as soon as they get enough takers, that recipe is no longer available. They have two plans: one for two people and one for four. The two people plan requires that you purchase between 2 and 4 meals per week. The four person plan offers between 1 and 4 meals per week. This is 34€ or 44€ as the base price respectively, and then each additional meal is 5€ for a two person meal or 10€ for a 4 person meal.
It’s fair to wonder why a meal prep service would be desired in Italy. Local markets are plentiful, Italy is a truly “slow food” culture, and great home cooks abound. Unlike those who might go for FancEat above for elegant, gourmet chef inspired menus, I suspect the market for Quomi is people who do not have a lot of time to shop, don’t like to shop, or simply don’t know what to make!
I’ve signed up for a few weeks to see what they have to offer. Here are the items will be be trying out: Crunchy turkey breasts with artichokes for the first meal, and Salmon with farfalle, poppy seeds and chives for the second.