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We picked our favourite Italian delivery service for cozy fall and winter dining

We cottagers might mourn the end of summer, but we’re just as quick to embrace fall. After all, we’re all about comfort, and what could be more comfortable than hikes without blackflies, afternoon naps with wool blankets, chilly evenings by the fire, and of course, our favourite comfort foods?

After trying a week’s worth of PORTA’s authentic and easy-to-prepare Italian meals, including their new fall-friendly risotto options, we discovered that restaurant-quality comfort food doesn’t require braving the cold. 

What is PORTA?

Promising “traditional Italian in 15 minutes or less,” PORTA, which literally means “door” or “carry,” brings Cosimo Mammoliti’s 30 years of chef experience to doorsteps throughout a large swath of Ontario, making at-home Italian comfort food more accessible than ever.

The process

I tried plenty of delivery-based meal kits during the pandemic, and PORTA’s flexible service is one of the simplest I’ve used. To start, visit eatporta.com and build a box by selecting from a variety of high-quality Italian dishes that are flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed for freshness. You can choose from pastas, pizzas, and new savoury risottos ($7.50 per serving), along with authentic Italian desserts and pastries. 

You can choose between a small (6 items), medium (9 items), or large (15 items) box and select the frequency of delivery (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly), all with the option to change meals or skip weeks whenever you want. The dishes then arrive right at your door in a box packed with dry ice, and the portions are perfect for two, with no unused ingredients or leftovers going to waste.

Ready to get started? Here are our top picks for fall, whether you’re preparing them at home or bringing them to the cottage:

Our fall favourite:

New to PORTA’s meal options are three restaurant-quality risotto dishes, each of which you can easily prepare in under 15 minutes ($7.50 per serving). Living up to the “restaurant quality” claim, the ingredients are all top-shelf. The risotto is made with Acquerello rice that’s been imported from Italy, and it’s a favourite of many of the world’s top chefs, as it passes through twenty selection and processing steps to combine the simplicity of cooking white rice with the nutrient density of whole-grain versions. The result is perfect risotto with less stirring and a shorter cooking time.

Other fresh, in-season ingredients are included based on the recipe you choose. Mantova features seasonal butternut squash, while Milano is a traditional saffron-based risotto dish. But our favourite is the savoury Bassano with its flavourful porcini mushrooms.

For pasta lovers:

All of PORTA’s pasta offerings ($18.99 for two servings) are enticing, but Ostia, named for a harbour city in Ancient Rome, stands out with its “cacio e pepe” (cheese and pepper) sauce featuring pecorino cheese and black pepper. Like all PORTA pasta, it’s made fresh and flash-frozen for maximum flavour.

For family pizza night:

Most door-delivery pizza has fallen far from the Italian ideal, and home-oven options haven’t done much to repair that tradition. But PORTA’s ten-inch handmade, Roman-style striata pizzas (available for $11.99) raise the bar with quality ingredients, light texture, and a crispy finish. Toppings include sophisticated creations like Checco (spinach, goat cheese, caramelized onions, lemon zest) and Carmela (mixed mushrooms, truffle oil, parsley), but the simple Peppino, with its San Marzano sauce, fresh mozzarella, and smoky pepperoni, is sure to please the whole family.

For anyone with a sweet tooth:

PORTA also offers classic Italian desserts, ready-to-eat right out of their reusable jars. These range from best-selling Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse to their Butterscotch Budino and—our favourite—the Panna Cotta topped with fresh raspberry compote. And don’t forget the hand-rolled flaky pastries, which make the perfect quick and cozy breakfast!

Ready for restaurant-quality Italian food at home? Visit eatporta.com to get started, and use code COTTAGE30 to save 30% off your first box.