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Apr 13, 2009 09:39 AM

Going to Friends Wedding in Paris. Gifts suggestions? Items not available in Paris from CA or US?

We are traveling to Paris for a friends wedding this December. He is mid 30's loves good food and wine.
We have a number of unique wines, olive oils and cheeses from the Ventura, Ojai area and Santa Barbara area that we are considering bringing as gifts. While they likely don't compare to what is available in Paris they are good and not widely available.

Any other ideas that might be appreciated that we could bring from Southern California? We have friends and relatives that work for Disney animation and maybe something related to that?

Also thinking of arranging an offshore oil platform tour for his next trip here. Shows another side to real California life that is not all fruits and nuts and and since 9/11 not an easy tour for people outside the oil biz to arrange.

Please send your ideas. The groom other interests besides fine dining are skiing and old pharmacy artifacts ( he is a doctor and owns a pharmacy).

BTW groom is Jewish so kosher food items required.

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  1. Saran Wrap. There is no French plastic wrap that is nearly as good.

    I can't think of anything else you can't get in France. They even have Oreos now, and some people think they're a great treat. Yeech!

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Bringing wine, olives, and cheese to france is really bringing coals to Newcastle, although they might have a nice nostalgia value, being American. But there's probably nothing from California (speaking as a native Californian myself) that will compare to what they can get easily and far more cheaply in France.

        Although it's not very wedding-y, the comment about plastic wrap is right on - I have people coming from the US bring me the giant Costco rolls of plastic wrap, plus huge rolls of heavy-duty foil. Pickles, too, especially dill pickles and sweet pickle relish are things we can't find here (although we're not in Paris, so I can't vouch for that.) Chiles, especially chipotles, are something we're always glad to get. But that's all pretty pedestrian stuff for a wedding. I actually think I'd stay away from food gifts and go for something that has purely local flavor. The platform trip idea is interesting, but that helicopter landing might be terrorizing. Anything Mexican is virtually unobtainable in France, so you might think along those lines.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Abra

          Abra is right on, we always bring Chiles and lots of Mexican jar and canned foods when we stay with our friends in Burgundy. Salsa's (hotter the better) and chips, as tacky as it sounds, are well liked.

          1. re: Abra

            We don't know if Ventura's friend is American, so the Californian wine and olive oil may have zero nostalgia value for him. And just the thought of packing bottles of wine and oil (and jars of dill pickles) in my luggage nestled among all my nice wedding clothes… ugh. I might consider doing this for a desperately homesick friend living in Antarctica, but Paris? Come on!

            Antique pharmacy collectibles seem like a good idea (personally I find some of that stuff creepy!), but I guess we can't really discuss that here on Chowhound.

            1. re: Abra

              Regarding California wine, Abra is completely wrong here. There are some very, very nice wines from California that are stylistically like nothing you can get here. Someone who is into wine would very much appreciate them; I'd ask on the Wine board for specific suggestions if you're not a wino yourself. However, unless you know the details of the kosher rules he keeps, wine might be a bad idea.

              1. re: tmso

                There are definitely a lot of California wines that are stylistically unlike French wines, but they're frequently the object of derision in the French wine world.

                1. re: Abra

                  I'm sure there are some who only enjoy a very narrow range of styles, but most people into food and wine are thrilled to have access to something high quality from somewhere else in the world. This is certainly true among cosmopolitan types in the capital. A conservative old fart from Orange is another question.

                  But again, if the gift has to be kosher, wine is probably out.

                2. re: tmso

                  I am with you TMSO. As Australians who used to live in Paris we loved the broad variety and high quality of French wine. However, we also loved "the taste of home" we got from a good Australian single varietal wine - a Cab Sav or Shiraz for example.

                  Most French wines are blends so the single varietals from the "new world" (Aus, US, NZ, Chile etc) are very much appreciated. How about a few good quality Zinfandels (a grape you see rarely in Europe) and it is easy to pack three bottles in a suitcase without fear of damage etc - spread them out.

                  However, do be careful, some of the top Californian wines try to emulate French styles - Opus One for example.

              2. Been using large rolls of heavy duty aluminum foil for gifts for a long time, even to Canada. Will be taking a roll or two to Romania in a future trip as well. At Lavinia in Paris they have a bottle of Turley Hayne Petite Syrah on sale for 450 Euros, so the panache for good American wines is definitely there. Cheese and oils, l would not bother

                2 Replies
                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  I dunno, Stefan. If they are into great olive oils, a bottle of McEvoy is nothing to sneeze at.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Not arguing, but so many inexpensive wonderful oils in Europe, seems 'coals to Newcastle', in store l sell 20 European to each US, and that European here are more expensive than the American, and when you add in the fact you get European for way less than half the price there, my value meter goes to them. Not saying American not worthy, but not value worthy.

                2. As some who keeps kosher and lives between Europe and the US, very high quality kosher wine from California is always appreciated BUT why would you want to lug that to Paris. As for the rest France is superior. I mundane as this might sound I would just get the something off the registry or give them which is what most people do at French Jewish weddings. You could maybe bring them one bottle of nice kosher wine to accompany the main gift...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: spacesasha

                    Can't agree with you that the rest is superior.

                    I'd send the couple the big pack from Omaha Beef Company. HA!

                    1. re: hychka

                      We frequently take good quality maple syrup to friends in France and they like it a lot. Some pour it on vanilla ice cream, others pour a bit on a tartine. It's not very fancy, but not many French have tasted "sirop d'erable".

                      1. re: hychka

                        Can't tell if you're joking, but just in case you're not: American beef is not allowed to be imported to France because of the hormone content.

                        1. re: Abra

                          Well, actually I was reacting to spacesasha's, "As for the rest France is superior."

                          French beef not only uses few if any hormones, it is grass fed and not aged; therefore it seems tough compared to US beef.

                          This difference has become a running joke in our family as we have many living in Europe, who certainly enjoy a lot of beef when visiting us and take pounds of it home in their suitcases. Really!

                          On the serious side, I think a very large and pretty salad bowl is something a young couple needs and will hold on to for years, wherever it was purchased.

                          1. re: hychka

                            I actually feel like I should respond. I prefer American raised kosher steak from the few premium kosher steak providers. However the French kosher butchers have more interesting cuts. But okay this is getting a bit too technical for such a post.

                            And FYI, not all maple syrup is kosher! Some of the use lard to evaporate the water. Trust me I know because we gave maple syrup as a wedding favor and finding a kosher provider wasn't easy.