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Jul 5, 2010 01:29 PM

Travel-friendly Boston specialties for hostess gift?

Hi all,
I'm going to be staying with a friend's aunt in Paris next week. I would like to bring some sort of local specialty as a gift, but most treats associated with Boston and New England (lobster, clam chowder) don't travel. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. That's a tough call, you could get some nice chocolate mice from Burdick's in Harvard Square or check out for their beantown collection of sugar cookies. Cookies have the swan boats, a T sign, newbury st sign etc. When I had a friend that was moving back to Ireland, I gave her a Red Sox shirt, a christmas ornament of the Boston skyline and some Boston Bean candies in a bean pot. Not knowing the age range of your friend's aunt it's difficult to suggest.

    Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

    1. My French cousins always love the bottles of maple syrup that I carry over. In fact I think there would be a family mutiny, and the end of a free Parisian apartment, if I didn't carry some with me.

      1. Yeah, bringing food to Paris feels like kind of a coals-to-Newcastle proposition (but also a really nice idea - I don't mean to be negative), and it is hard to know what would appeal especially without knowing the recipient's taste. That said, maple syrup or maple sugar candies are certainly New England. Salty Oats cookies aren't especially New Englandish but they rock and I bet they don't have those in Paris. This is more generally American than specifically New England, but you might ask your friend if her aunt would appreciate some kind of booze that isn't as easily accessible in France - a bourbon or rye, or a really good rum or tequila?

        1. David Lebovitz says in The Sweet Life in Paris that he has won over many a Parisian with his decadent brownies. Maybe not Boston-centric, but definitely an American treat.

          1. Is the aunt French or American?

            I often bring wild Maine blueberries in syrup to my Parisian friends (and previous host family!). They love them. The maple syrup has only been enjoyed by those 15 and younger who crave the sugar - the adults thought tmaple sugar candies and syrup to be disgusting. I wouldn't bring them chocolates - they have Belgium right there.

            The other thing they've liked are pine scented pillows. They often comment how they smell like Christmas.

            When my cousins lived in Geneva in the 80s, we used to ship Doritos and peanut butter there, but surely that's not what you're getting at.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gini

              Wild blueberry syrup and jam are our go-to gifts for those overseas. We've done maple syrup but the Maine blueberry jams have seemed to be the most appreciated.