It can be a challenge to find an impressive gift to give at the holidays—be it for your boss, a party host or a fickle friend, but you can never go wrong with a festive basket of goodies, especially when it's filled with imported gourmet food items from Italy.
"I have a passion for this," said Nancy Gabriele, a Grayslake resident who operates a secret little shop within her Italian language school in the lower level of the Tomei Insurance building in the Saratoga Square plaza, located at the southeast corner of Washington Street and Route 21 in Gurnee.
If you've never heard of it, and chances are you haven't, La Gabri-Elle is a find, stocked with an assortment of Italian imported food items, kitchen wares, gifts and more.
Italian-born Gabriele opened the gift shop four years ago out of demand from her Italian language students and the residents she escorts on her guided tours of Italy twice a year.
"The opportunity was there and people love food," she said.
Her Italian gift shop is filled with specialty, gourmet items she hand-picks and imports.
Pasta, sauces, olive oils, vinegars, cheeses, chocolates, crackers, coffees—you name it, Gabriele likely has it. And that's just the food items. Her shop also carries a variety of accessories, home decor and kitchen items, from Ferrari expresso mugs to handmade Murano glass.
For the holidays, Gabriele sells distinct gift baskets, ranging in price from $20-$125, which can also be customized. Her biggest sellers include "Expresso for Two" and "A Taste of Italy," which includes ingredients for an authentic Italian meal.
Each handmade basket includes a keepsake, be it a wine stopper, mugs, utensil or Italian playing cards, and a educational card with facts about Italy and its culture.
Holiday Open House
La Gabri-Elle gift shop will host a holiday open house from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at 223 N. Route 21, Suite 6, in Gurnee. Refreshments will be served and all visitors will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free gift basket.
Seasonal hours are noon to 6 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and on weekdays by appointment. To learn more, call (847) 219-3678 or visit www.lagabri-elle.com.
La Gabri-Elle also offers guided tours of Italy twice a year, one being a cooking tour scheduled for May 3-May 12, 2013. Space is limited. Call or visit the Website for details about tours and Italian language courses.