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Food Gift for French Colleagues - ???

murray6789 Jan 4, 2013 03:21 PM

So I am moving to Marseille, France (!!!) to start a new job. I work internationally a lot, but usually in Africa or the Caribbean. I usually bring some kind of food giftie to share for the local employees who I will supervise - frankly, I usually bring candy from the drugstore. It's always appreciated, and it always gets things off on the right foot. But I just don't think drugstore candy is gonna cut it in France, and chocolate from a fancy chocolatier seems a little silly. They HAVE it already. Along with everything else that is delicious and awesome.

I am at home in SF preparing to leave, and wracking my brain for something shareable for about 14 people in my office. I need it to be packable in a suitcase. My mother suggested that I bring sourdough starter and then bake bread for them. Not gonna happen - too busy. So, what? Any ideas?

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  1. g
    gordon wing RE: murray6789 Jan 4, 2013 03:47 PM

    dried fruit and nuts .... including dates, pistachios, almonds ....?

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordon wing
      sunshine842 RE: gordon wing Jan 5, 2013 01:10 AM

      plentiful and cheap (and really, really good) in France, especially in Marseille -- the places that grow those things are just a short hop across the Med.

    2. t
      tjinsf RE: murray6789 Jan 4, 2013 03:51 PM

      As a French person I think it's sweet you want to do this but not necessary. Best instead to pay for the drinks when you go to the cafe post work.

      1. r
        rubadubgdub RE: murray6789 Jan 4, 2013 04:11 PM


        1. Robert Lauriston RE: murray6789 Jan 4, 2013 04:51 PM

          Pepperoni from Molinari or Columbus. That's an American invention that's unknown in France.

          1. m
            MagicMarkR RE: murray6789 Jan 4, 2013 05:51 PM

            What's wrong with candy? maybe you could get some fun stuff from a sweet shop rather than basic drug store candy; maybe mix in some asian sweets/rice candy.

            Bring a bottle of a locally-made spirit, like a nice gin, and share it at the end of the day.

            Better yet, bottles of California wine. That would go down well.

            1. sunshine842 RE: murray6789 Jan 5, 2013 01:22 AM

              American candy isn't a bad idea -- particularly quirky things that don't exist in France.

              Reese's cups (the little ones) are a particular hit -- everyone disparages peanut butter, but as soon as they try a Reese cup, the bag is empty (and I'm asked to bring more on my next trip home) My homemade buckeyes were a favorite this Christmas.

              Heath/Skor bars are on the unusual side, as are oldies like butterscotch disks (not Werther's - but the bright yellow Brach's version) and rootbeer barrels. Those might not be hits, but they're interesting and will find their fans.

              With Valentine's coming up, conversation hearts could be fun as they try to decipher the messages.

              Cinnamon isn't horribly common here (no Big Red gum!) -- so cinnamon bears or even red hots could pique the curiousity of a few. (the French are overwhelming not familiar with/don't like hot cinnamon, though, so I'd tread lightly with things like Atomic Fireballs or Reed's cinnamon candies)

              Others that don't exist here: Twizzlers, Tootsie Rolls, Candy corn (now out of season...) -- marshmallow is popular -- what about a few boxes of Peeps?

              2 Replies
              1. re: sunshine842
                murray6789 RE: sunshine842 Jan 5, 2013 08:41 AM

                Wow, these are all great suggestions! Thanks, everyone! I think I am going to do some combo of Reese's, fancy SF coffee for the office, and a pepperoni to share. All easy to transport and easy to share.

                Mille mercis!

                1. re: murray6789
                  Ruth Lafler RE: murray6789 Jan 5, 2013 12:17 PM

                  If you want to go a little more upscale than Reese's, Trader Joe's sells peanut butter cups in various forms.

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