Tasto: an Italian experience at your door

Couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to be invited by Giovanni at the launch party of Tasto, a website who promises to delivery Italian products at your door.

I did not know what to expect: while on one side I am a voracious online shopping user when it comes to clothing and kitchen appliances – that actually represents 80% of my purchases out of alcohol and food every month -, I have only been deceived in the past by grocery shopping experiences. In the specific, concerning what it is available in Luxembourg, Luxcaddy has unjustified sky-high prices while at Auchan-drive I have always been provided by products extremely close to their due date – last time, I picked up my delivery at 7 pm and I had some diary products which expiry date was the following day.

I also didn’t know what to expect because in the press release of the event it was mentioned a show cooking and a tasting session – so definitely something different from what I have been seeing so far.

Indeed, what I attended, at the end, was more a pleasant evening at friends’ place and not a formal press event.

Giovanni welcomed us in a lovely, secret location and seated around the kitchen, with a bubbles glass in one hand – as there is something to drink in all the great stories – and the mobile for taking pictures in the other, we were explained the background of Tasto.

Tasto is born from the passion for Italian products and decades of experience within the food distribution of his founder. The name, Tasto, that is symbolically represented in the website logo, is an instrument coming from a horse bone used to pinch a ham and check its maturity.

On Tasto, you can find products that might be available in some supermarkets in Luxembourg but also niche specialties for different Italian regions.

Giovanni used several products available for purchase on Tasto to prepare us a delicious dinner. As appetizers, we had linen seeds grissini rolled in Coppa, Parmigiano cheese with almonds and bell peppers cream –  my favorite -, tarallini, mozzarella cheese with truffle honey. This was followed by Bresaola with oregano and olive oil and a pizza prepared with a ready to go base, ham and artichokes.

As main, we had a typical dish from Apulia, orecchiette prepared with cime di rapa (a South Italian variety of broccoli), anchovies and crumbs of taralli. Finally, we concluded our dinner with a cheesecake in a glass. I chose the one with hazelnut.

The entire dinner was amazing and you could definitely not tell that was prepared “out of a box”.

My personal highlights were definitely:

The base for pizza: while you cannot definitely compared it to the pizza you have at the restaurant, this to me is an extremely valid alternative to frozen pizza – you wake up drunk on Sunday morning, this is very easy to prepare, request the minimum effort and it is ready in 5 minutes. I can confirm because I did it the Sunday after the event 🙂 Also, it is perfect to keep in the fridge when you have unexpected guests and you want to prepare something quick to accompany a drink but not totally industrial.

The cherry tomato sauce: this is the product where mostly I noted the difference with the commercial correspondent product. You can taste Italy and sun in this sauce and it is a product I would be really happy to pay the surplus compared to the supermarket.

The olive oil: this is another product which is slightly different in price compared to what you can find in store but you can feel (smell and taste) the difference. I would definitely keep a jar at home to be used “raw” and give dishes a very different touch.

The ricotta cheesecake: I am not very much into sweets, you know, and above all I am not into industrial ones. A jar of Nutella can get totally untouched to the expiry date in my flat, but this cheesecake was to die for. Creamy, tasty, intense. This is a product that I would definitely recommend you to buy but I will not buy myself, as still want to fit my clothes 🙂

So: why should you order on Tasto instead of buying Italian products at the supermarket?

  • Tasto is at your door (at home or at the office) within 72 hours from your order. The package is eco friendly and includes for fresh products a specific packaging with dry ice that keeps your products cool up to 5 days.
  • Tasto ensures your ordered product to have at least 12 days till the expiration for fresh products and 3 months for dry products (so, no products due the day after delivery 🙂 ). The invoice will include the detailed expiration dates of your order.
  • Delivery is free over 25 Eur order (in Luxembourg, Germany, France, Belgium, UK, The Netherlands and Italy). So you can even send your pasta stock to your holiday rental home on the Belgian coast where you don’t have big supermarket.
  • On your first order, 50% is off. Off everything. Isn’t this already a good reason at least to try?
  • There is a specific category called “Take away” where you have products you can take to the office for lunch and just warm up in a microwave. The average price is 5 Eur, that is a huge saving compared to the spent you have buying sandwiches or eating out for lunch in Luxembourg city.
  • And if you are vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, Tasto has a specific category for you as well.

Tasto aims to be not only a website where you buy occasionally, but the one you can buy most of the products you need in the day to day life. You can stock up pasta and tomato sauce for example, what is more convenient than have it delivered at your door instead of loading and unloading your car?

Let me know if you will use Tasto and how do you find it. And have a spoon of ricotta cheesecake for me as well please 🙂

 

Restaurant Chinese King, Merl, Luxembourg

During my first year of work out of university, I clearly remember Chinese one was the only kind of restaurant food I was having out of business events. I was barely getting to end of the month with my salary and I remember with one lunch voucher I was saving  we were having a portion of chicken and one of  fried rice to share while watching our favorite TV show with my friend Tommy.

It seemed ages passed since those years in Milan. When I got in Luxembourg, I was surprised to discover Chinese food is not considered that bad, that Chinese restaurants here can be as well pretty fancy and not inexpensive.

I have to say, generally, I still reserve Chinese food to hangover Sundays and lazy days, but last week I was really craving some good and well-prepared dumplings, so to celebrate a special achievement, I proposed hubby to visit Chinese King, in Merl.

I used to go to this family-managed restaurant located in the main route de Longwy when I was working in the area. I had good memories and I was happy to discover nothing has changed.

We got there around 9.15 pm, with no reservation, but we were welcomed with a bright smile by the lady owner. We were accommodated near the window. Even if it was a Monday night in a residential area in town, the restaurant was not empty and more people got there after us.

We started with two Chinese beers, that were accompanied by the usual shrimp crisps – be aware, they are the devil: stop eating them if you don’t want to ruin your dinner 😛

We continued with a portion of spring rolls and one of mixed pork / shrimps dumplings, followed by hot platter beef and garlic shrimps. To drink, we had a bottle of Chablis.

With the coffee, we were offered a sake. Our total bill read less than 78 euro.

Discover the pictures of our dinner and then some more detailed impressions about Chinese King.

What I liked about Chinese King:

  • The food is really good: all the starters were particularly fresh – not the kind of frozen bites you have in the usual places – and the main tasty – you could exactly distinguish all the flavors in the plat. If you want a recommendation, instead of the normal hot platter beef we’ve taken, go for the ginger and rhum, really incredible – a pity hubby doesn’t like ginger.
  • The service is nice: don’t expect something formal, but just to be served with a smile.
  • The location is calm and cozy – nothing screaming Chinatown -, with a very lovely relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a dinner to catch up with friends or a romantic date – that case, avoid the garlic ones 🙂

What I liked a bit less about Chinese King:

  • Personally, nothing I dislike here. But if you expect a sophisticated place or a formal service, this might not be the place for you.

In conclusion: If I have to eat a good Chinese dish, Chinese King in Merl is my favorite place. The ambiance is very simple but the food is tasty and the quality price definitely great.