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Want to impress a Parisian with a hostess gift

Any suggestions? I was thinking about Paulette in BH, but after reading the mixed reviews, I'm having second thoughts. Any great, authentic suggestions (beyond alcohol)?

Thank you!

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  1. I have the same challenge as I exchange gifts several times a year with a co-worker in Paris who has great taste. I have bought confections from Valerie several times and they are very well received. The caramels are amazing, the toffee is quite good and the lemon petit fours stand out as well. Last time I had them shipped to my office as I was pressed for time and was very happy with the level of service.

    If you want to assess my taste, I was a fan of chocolate and caramels as gifts from Boule but wasn't wowed by Jin. My husband and I think Valerie is excellent, albeit it pricey.


    1. I'm very fond of those macarons, but I hear that they're still quite not as good as the ones you can get in France.

      1. You should be mindful of some differences in the French mindset about gifts to the host. The French generally view bringing food or wine as a bit of an insult; it suggests that your host may not be able to provide adequate amounts by himself. Generally, flowers or perhaps some chocolates are in the acceptable range.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bob Brooks

          Bob, you're talking old fashioned days perhaps.
          Whenever I visit friends there now, they LOOOOOVE anything nice I bring.

          1. re: Bob Brooks

            I agree with Bob. While in Paris I had occasion to bring hostess gifts on a couple of occasions. Flowers and chocolates were very much appreciated.

          2. Well, if you're already going to be in Beverly Hills, go to Teuscher and get chocolates, or if you're further afield, go to Nata's or most 99 Ranches and buy Portuguese-style egg tarts.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Yes, some champagne truffles from Teuscher.

              1. re: mc michael

                Most any chocolates in France are far superior to these truffles, imho.

            2. Caprice on Pico in SM makes pretty good french pastries and cakes. The owner is french and could sugget several appropriate choices which can be made to order.

              1. Chocolates from Edelweiss in Beverly Hills on Canon just south of Little Santa Monica on the east side of the street.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Hughlipton

                  second Edelweiss.

                  if you are in Bev Hills, and want to pick up some pastries, there are some lovely things at La Provence on Olympic at LaPeer.

                  i also agree with the rec for picking up Nata's natas.

                  or another idea for a hostess gift might be a certificate for a trip to the beverly hills cheese shop or something she can use later, rather than the suggested "insult" of bringing something edible now...

                2. I vote for a bottle of Canton Ginger Liqueur. Or maybe St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur.

                  1. Poilâne bread is available at Bristol Farms - what could be more welcome?

                    1. I'm French and a former Parisian, and I throw dinner parties... but I don't expect guests to bring me anything, really.
                      I think flowers are lovely, and if you really feel like bringing something edible or drinkable, I'd say bring a bottle of something a bit unusual (Eiswein, or maybe a bottle of wine from a State that's not California, something a bit harder to find). If you really want to bring your host something French I'd suggest a bottle of Mirabelle or Poire or Framboise eau-de-vie from Monsieur Marcel.
                      Depending on whether your host cooks or not, if you have fruit trees in your backyard, I think it's always nice to get avocados or grapefruit or Meyer lemons from someone's yard.

                      And if you want to bring pastries, I'd recommend la Maison du Pain over Provence.
                      Have a great party at your host's place!

                      1 Reply
                      1. A great bottle of California olive oil. Some smoked Steelhead trout from Washington, a basket of local farmers market fruit, dates from Indio California, california Zinfandel.A great cooking gadget(new peeler that peels peaches and tomatoes, from Sur la Table).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: miwine

                          just so you know, you can buy those great zyliss peelers that peel tomatoes at gelsons in the marina too.
                          my next door neighbor and i have stockpiled a supply of them so that in case zyliss ever stops making them we will have enough for gifts and for ourselves for the rest of our lives.

                          about the gift, i would not bring wine unless you know for sure that the hostess would like a particular wine to go with the meal.

                        2. Here? A bottle of wine is not the correct choice in Paris, flowers are. Perhaps a nice bouquet.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: JudiAU

                            OK, last time I was in Paris at a dinner everyone was talking about See's candy! Yes, that See's candy. I 'm sure you have seen it in gift shops at LAX, people have been picking them up and giving them as gifts in Europe. I was shocked that my childhood favorite was the talk of the table. A thought??

                            1. re: MarlaPR

                              The spread of knuckleheads if far wider than the flu.

                          2. seirously. food and wine are really iffy.

                            flowers are nice. A book, local stuff - local history, picture book, etc can work. If you really want to bring foodstuffs, go to e waldo ward, e.g. and get six small packs of their locally made sevile orange marmelade, maybe the tangerine preserves, a rhubarb jam, etc. gift wrapped, and suggest they open it the next dey.

                            but nothing french. that's my two cents.