When it comes to bringing things home from France, French souvenirs tickle the tastebuds like nowhere else.
From the country that invented the word souvenir, here's a list of my favourite things to buy in France.
Forget plastic Eiffel Towers and dubious berets. Here, we focus on authentic French souvenirs that your friends and family will actually want to receive.
Or, you know. Things you'd like to keep for yourself!
Pastel pretty in pink, lemon, lavender and mint, nothing whispers sweet French chic like a well arranged set of macarons.
Like the shades they come in, they represent Paris at its rose-tinted best, all twinkling lights and dreamy riverside walks, wrapped up in an art deco version of an intoxicating moulin rouge.
Quernons d'Ardoise hail from the Anjou region in the Loire. They take their colour from the slate that decorates the castle and their insides from something altogether tastier.
Caramel, Chocolate and Nut
In essence, they're caramelized praline, coated with violet chocolate with chopped almonds and hazelnuts inside.
And they're absolutely gorgeous.
Pungent, creamy and salty with a sting, this blue cheese can only be made in the caves surrounding Roquefort itself. It's a tricky souvenir to bring home but it's just about possible if it's sealed and your journey is short. A padded cool bag may just help you along.
It's another niche food entry but the deep red pepper produced in the Basque region of Espelette furnishes a range of delicious (and not so delicious) French souvenirs. Look out for cherry-pepper wine, flavoured jamon, and of course the peppers themselves. As well as tourist paraphernalia in every pepper shape available.
The best way to work out which French wines to bring home is to travel to the stunning region in and around Bordeaux and set up some wine tasting sessions in St Emilion. Although, be warned, this may ruin you for life.
For evermore, with every sip, I can't help but think "it's not as good as it was in St Emilion."
Yes, the region of Champagne in France produces one or two bottles of bubbly that are worth bringing home.
Do we really need to say more on the subject?
If I'm honest, I'll admit that I don't actually enjoy absinthe. Known as the "green fairy," you buy (and drink) it for its legendary status rather than because anyone actually likes it.
It's supposed to have psychedelic properties and inspired the creatives in fin de siecle Paris into a whirl of Toulouse-Lautrec soaked Moulin Rouge expression.
To most of the rest of us, it simply results in a hangover.
But hey ho. It's up to you!
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