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Food souvenirs from Paris?

My parents are in Paris right now, and my mom offered up (misguidedly?) suitcase space for souvenirs. What food items should I have them keep their eyes out for?

Macarons are out, I won't see them quickly enough after their return for them to stay fresh (plus I'm not all that crazy for them anyway -- don't retract my foodie card.).

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

asked 5 months ago
25 answers 1030 views
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added 5 months ago

pots of mustard perhaps?

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Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

It's hard to think of things that will taste good enough to be worth the trouble (aka Michelin "worth a detour").
Maybe preserved or dried foods...confit de canard, teas, spice blends, artisan or unblended honey, jams of unusual fruits.
Or some piece of equipment you lust after at Dehillerin.
For more ideas, check blogs of writers living full or part time in Paris (e.g. David Lebowitz, Dorie Greenspan).

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PHIL

PHIL is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

A unique wine or cheese not available here. Fleur de Sel, Puy lentils.

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inpatskitchen

Pat is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

Here's a post from David Lebovitz re: 10 things to bring back from Paris:
http://www.davidlebovitz...

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 5 months ago

A Lagioule pocket knife with corkscrew. Other pocket type blades such as for cutting cepes.

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cv
added 5 months ago

I would seek out chocolates and candies. Here are three recommended by Lebovitz:

A l'Etoile d'Or
Fouquet
La Maison du Chocolat

He wrote about A l'Etoile d'Or right here:

http://www.davidlebovitz...

and provides links to the others I mentioned.

There are a bunch of kitchen stores around the Les Halles district. Near the top of my list would be Maison MORA. They're a particularly good store for bakers (which I no longer am), but the rest of their items are still very good.

Paris has some great antique shops, not sure if that's your thing.

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HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

How about Christine Ferber jams?

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 5 months ago

Ditto this.

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added 4 months ago

Agreed

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MMH
added 5 months ago

Don't forget to check what you can get through Customs.

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added 5 months ago

Piment d'espelette!! I regret only buying two jars of it when I was in Paris, since it's so hard to find (and expensive) here! I also bought a small jar of piment d'espelette mustard and it was about the best thing ever.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

One of my favorite places for food gifts - including for myself - anywhere is La Chambre de Confitures: http://lachambreauxconfitures... Their tiny shop in the 3rd is crammed with jams, chutneys, etc. of every conceivable sort. Their apricot/ginger, pear/vanille, marrons, fig, and so many more are the best and pas trop chers, at least for Paris.

Also - maybe obvious, but - good Dijon (Edmond Fallot is great and comes in a pretty ceramic jar.) Fleur de Sel. I'm still a sucker for anything in Hediard's octagonal jars, mostly because I love those jars. Good French butter, available everywhere (the kind with the crunchy sea salt crystals in it) - I've brought it back in plastic bags in my suitcase. So much more...!

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added 5 months ago

1) Marrons glacés - even though this is a specialty of Lyon and the south, some of the best candied chestnuts can be had at confectioner Patrick Roger or La Maison du Chocolat.

2) Chocolates - once again, La Maison du Chocolat and lots of other places.

3) Canned food - some of the best sardines, mackerel, and other fish/seafood conserves from Brittany are available for a fraction of the cost of that in the USA from upmarket retailers. So if you're a fan of that take advantage.

4) Cognac/Armagnac - not sure if your parents drink but surely you can get some great bottles of these from the duty free section to the most hallowed bottle shop.

5) Cheese - Mimolette is a striking melon-shaped aged hard cheese that is fantastic when aged a long time. Of course it's hometown is Lille and its environs, but Paris is not too far away. The best fromageries would be more than happy to send them off with a big wedge of pumpkin orange 24 month aged mimolette vacuum-packed for their flight home. Cantal and Beaufort Alpage are also great choices that will survive the trip home.

All the suggestions made by others are great too. Just put the heat sensitive stuff in checked bags.

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added 5 months ago

There is a Maille dijon mustard shop by the Madeleine church that sells many unusual flavors of mustard that you cannot get in the US. Your parents can go mustard tasting. They come in charming little pots too. When I lived in Paris I brought some back for gifts and everyone loved them. I also recommend they walk down Rue du Bac to check out the many great little food shops. You can get very high quality foie gras in glass jars there. (I have brought lots of cheese and foie gras home and just didn't mention it in customs....shh....).

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added 5 months ago

A visit to Dehillerin is a must, in my opinion. If you like tea, seek out Kusmi. It's very good...

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added 5 months ago

Instead of food, I will recommend some very nice Provencal table clothes and mats. Easier to carry in a suitcase. I gave 5 as a gift to a friend in NY. She loves them and has been looking for more in the USA without success. You might find imitations but the quality of the real thing is way superior. They might find them at the airport tax free

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 5 months ago

I agree on non-perishable items that are difficult to find here. Possibly Limoges ceramics which can be exquisite.

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added 5 months ago

For food, I recommend Confit de Canard and Haricot Tarbais to make the traditional French Cassoulet:
http://yourguardianchef...

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added 5 months ago

Opinel knifes. Or Laguiole table knifes, they have very simple, very inexpensive packages that are great as every day knifes, about 25 Euros for 6 knifes. You can get them even at better supermarkets like Monoprix . I love mine. And how about canelés moulds? And Saint Félicien cheese which comes in little brown ramekins you can keep for later use as crème brûlée ramekins (perhaps your parents should eat the cheese before getting on the plane, it´s kinda runny when warm).

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cv
added 4 months ago

Forget the St Félicien, the cheese can be easily found in USA metropolitan areas. Good cheese though.

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added 5 months ago

Breton salted butter cookies in one of those vintage-y looking boxes, if you like that.

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Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

added 4 months ago

Thank you all! I've passed on multiple suggestions to them, we'll see what ends up in their suitcases!

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added 4 months ago

If you can still pass on another idea, here it is: I love to bring home things that will last for a long time. Food is so transient. Someone already suggested, Provencal tablecloth. Beauville, based in Alsace, I believe, also makes gorgeous table linens. They are not cheap, but they are a stunning gift that will last for decades.

I also bring pot holders and dish towels back--I use them so often and they immediately remind me of my travels.

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QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

If you like tea, Mariage Frères (Maison de Thé Mariage Frères, 17 Place de la Madeleine, Paris, France http://www.mariagefreres...)

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added 4 months ago

We brought back a couple of bottles of balsamic vinegar "nectar". I also brought back a jar or lavender honey. Both of them last a while so you can enjoy them for a longer time than something more perishable.