Italian eatery, Eataly, entices shoppers in Los Angeles with holiday gift boxes

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Christmas in August usually won't fly, but Italian grocery and eatery, Eataly, is luring customers in by offering creative gift boxes for the coming winter holidays. (KABC)

The sizzling heat of summer isn't stopping Eataly in Los Angeles from trying to get you in the holiday spirit months ahead of schedule by offering gift boxes for the occasion.

"It's never too early to prepare for Christmas," Gian Paolo, general manager of Eataly restaurants, said. "Italians like to stay organized as much as they can, and as you can imagine, we eat a lot of different things in the holiday season, and each region is very different from the next."

"We are working with a lot of really cool vendors, a lot of really cool products to bring true, true, true Italian products to Southern California," Eataly's Patrick Molanari said.

Molanari heads up the specialty cheese and salumi area of the store. He says you'll want a game plan if you're getting your gift box game on.

"Take a lap around the store. We've kind of approached Eataly with an everybody can play mentality," Molanari said. "We don't want anybody typed out. So, of course, we all love the $250 balsamic vinegar that's been aged for 12 years in Moderna. But if that's not in the budget, we have categorized everything from left to right, top to bottom. Everybody can walk away happy."

The designed gift boxes for chefs, pasta or sweet lovers do the thinking and the selecting for you, but the store is a foodie paradise. It's a place you can come and shop, and also eat at many of the different areas, from Neopolitan pizza to pastry. Even if you don't want a meal, there's plenty of samples to test drive, including one of the Italian favorites, panettone.

"The Italian version of a fruitcake, very tasty. A lot of people are afraid of it," Paolo said. "If fruitcake is not your thing, we have something called the pandoro, which is kind of like an Italian snow cake."

Many say you should get a cup of coffee or maybe a glass of wine, and enjoy your self before you pick your goodies. The gift baskets they've created will be available by October, but as always you can order online.
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