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What to bring back from Spain?

gtrekker2003 May 25, 2008 08:51 AM

Any suggestions of foods to bring back from Spain to NYC? I read something on this site about cans of piquillo peppers. Anything else? Biscuits/cookies, chocolates, perishables that I may not find in NYC? Food gifts? I will be visiting Madrid, Sevilla, and San Sabastian.

  1. Veggo May 30, 2008 05:35 PM

    Angulas (unborn eel) are a wonderful spanish delicacy, generally packed in small tins with olive oil. Lightly sauteed with a bit of pepper...served on Melba toast...yum. Tapas for special occasions, they are pricey.

    1. r
      rho2gail May 30, 2008 05:19 PM

      Serrano or iberico jamon, it is their cured ham, absolutely delicious, iberico is more expensive because the pigs are fed only special acorns. One year I brought back some chocolate from a local candy store in Madrid. It was wonderful. You may also want to bring home some paprika, and saffron.

      1. m
        Maribel May 30, 2008 02:53 PM

        In addition to all the wonderful items that have already been mentioned, I'd add some other cheeses that are more difficult to find stateside, or more expensive:

        Quesucos from the Liébana valley (Cantabria), queso Picón Bejes-Tresviso or Afuega' I Pitu (Asturias) or another torta (a "pudding or runny" cheese), torta de Cañarejal (Valladolid). I've seen the first three at Terminal 4 at Barajas, in the Sibarium shop, at reasonable prices, if you run out of shopping time.

        But if you do make the trek up to Cacao Sampaka and the Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero in Madrid, you might want to check the extensive Spanish cheese selection (some 100 labels) at Poncelet on Argensola 27, in the same neighborhood. The farmer from whom we purchased our cheese in the village of Bejes, sells to them. www.poncelet.es

        In San Sebastián's Old Quarter, I would do some browsing at the gourmet emporium Solbes on Calle Aldamar 4, after a tour through the market, Mercado de la Brecha, and downtown don't miss the market and gourmet shops in the Centro Comercial San Martín. A treat for the senses.

        1. erica May 29, 2008 06:45 PM

          Cans of pimenton in the 3 forms: hot, sweet, and agridulce. Much cheaper than here in NYC. Canned seafood including mussels, sardines, and tuna. Jarred tuna. Canned or jarred asparagus from Navarra. Saffron. Chocolate spiked with Espelette peppers and other flavorings. And the Espelette peppers, ground and jarred. Jars of Alioli and Romesco sauce. Torta del Casar (Extremaduran cheese) . My list would be almost endless but those are a few of the things I usually bring home. And of course, jamon Iberico sliced in vacuum packs. And more tuna!

          1. h
            Hermano Primero May 29, 2008 10:16 AM

            I sometimes get a good bottle of Orujo from Lavinia on Ortega y Gasset in Madrid (Barrio Salamanca). Even if you're not buying it's worth a visit just to gawp at their selection.


            In a similar vein I sometimes buy Anis from Southern Spain. The triple distilled extra seco from Machaquito is particularly fine.


            More prosaically, the other thing I always stock up on is Valor chocolate bars specifically the nut varieties which I'm addicted to.

            I would second getting some Turron. Bear in mind there's many different varieties and there are some that are more artisanal than others. I was told that the best are sold by weight so it might be worth tracking down a specialist store.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hermano Primero
              Harters May 29, 2008 10:52 AM

              Possibly the best widely available turron is the "1880" brand. I'm rather addicated to their chocolate version (and stocked by one of my local specialist food shops). Not necessarily the highest quality turron or chocolate but very very tasty.

              1. re: Hermano Primero
                butterfly May 29, 2008 11:49 AM

                Turrón is a Christmas thing, but there's one place in Madrid that makes and sells it year round: Casa Mira, c/San Jerónimo 30 (near Sol--closed for siesta). During the Christmas season there are lots of other places that make it from scratch--much higher quality than the boxed stuff in the supermarket.

              2. g
                gtrekker2003 May 26, 2008 07:48 PM

                Which neighbourhood is Cacoa Sampaka in? Is it near Sol or Cava Baja? I saw it is on Calle Orellano, not sure where that is.

                What do you recommend from here? The sauces sounded yummy.

                3 Replies
                1. re: gtrekker2003
                  trvlcrzy May 26, 2008 09:38 PM

                  It's just north of the Gran Via by Plaza de Alonso Martinez, off the Plaza Santa Barbara west of Paseo de Castellana. Just go towards metro stop 'Alonso Martinez'.

                  1. re: gtrekker2003
                    butterfly May 27, 2008 01:01 PM

                    It's right next to the Alonso Martinez stop. If I only had a day or two in Madrid, I wouldn't make a special trip up there... though there is a great olive oil store, Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero very nearby (closed during lunchtime).

                    1. re: gtrekker2003
                      PBSF May 28, 2008 04:10 PM

                      The displays in the Cocoa Sampaka shop is very eye catching. It also has a small sitdown place to eat. I agree with the above post that with only two days in Madrid, it is not worth the effort. Good chocolate is not difficult to find.

                    2. t
                      trvlcrzy May 26, 2008 06:17 PM

                      I usually bring back chocolate from Cacao Sampaka. I know the hams are still restricted to be brought back in your luggage.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: trvlcrzy
                        gtrekker2003 May 26, 2008 06:37 PM

                        Is Cacao Sampaka in Madrid?

                        1. re: gtrekker2003
                          MOREKASHA May 26, 2008 07:23 PM

                          Yes, and it's worth a detour

                      2. h
                        Harters May 25, 2008 11:02 AM

                        It may be different for Americans but, these days, there's really nothing I bring back to the UK. Pretty much everything I need, I can get quite easily in either supermarkets or local specialist food shops in the neighbourhood. My one exception is very good quality saffron which is not inconvenient to carry and saves me a few pounds. Of course, we can buy it here but I treat it as a souvenir.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Harters
                          Simon Majumdar May 25, 2008 08:12 PM

                          If you head into El Corte Inglese in each town,you will see a section called Club Gourmet. There is always a small section there whch features local specialities.

                          Why not take back some Turron? That always seems to go down well when I bring it back


                          1. re: Simon Majumdar
                            gtrekker2003 May 26, 2008 12:18 PM

                            Good Idea.....I had to google what Turron is but it sounds delicious. Will have to look for it! Thanks.

                            1. re: Simon Majumdar
                              la ciclista May 26, 2008 12:38 PM

                              Saffron, turron, marzipan, membrillo, cryovac-ed jamon Serrano or jamon iberico (not a whole leg!!), chocolate from a hip chocolate store like Xocoa (Barcelona), canned berberechos. It's now pretty easy to find Manchego and other artesanal Spanish cheeses in the US, so you don't need to drag those back unless you don't live near any place that sells them.

                              1. re: Simon Majumdar
                                Harters May 26, 2008 03:08 PM

                                Turron is what we sometimes bring back, as a Three Kings present, for the Mallorcan brother in law (as we tend to visit Spain more often than he does these days). And sobrasada, if we've visited the island.

                            2. PBSF May 25, 2008 09:38 AM

                              I usually bring back canned seafood such as anchovy, clams, tuna, etc. Also giant Asturian beans, saffron, cheeses. It is not because I can't get them in the States, but the selection is greater and it is much cheaper. Since you live in NYC and with on-line shopping, one can get just about everything that is available in Spain (except meat). Too bad that liquid is no longer allowed in check-in baggage.

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