Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Jan 21, 2014 01:23 PM

Gifts from California for Relatives in Paris

I am traveling to Paris this summer for my nephew's wedding and seeing my sister and her husband for the first time. I would like to bring some souvenirs for the family. Any suggestions or ideas? Please let me know.... Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. what part of california?

    we're in northern california and sent to france (provence) this year: locally made chocolates (which were well received, though i didn't like them as well as what was sent from france to us!!), local california honey, california olive oil, pistachios, and, yes, almonds. i also sent some locally made items like citrus salt and dressing - like you would get at the farmers' market. oh, and dried cherries which david lebovitz recommended on his blog as being prohibitively expensive in france. i got those at TJs!

    i understand that most of these things are available in france, but i think it's just nice for the family to compare varieties and quality. i'm sure the french chocolates we received in return, at least, were definitely superior to what i sent..

    if it's your sister you're visiting, perhaps ask in advance and she will have ideas as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rmarisco


      Thanks for the reply and tips. I am in Northern California (San Jose).

    2. Wine. Seriously, wine.

      (regular) French people have a _very_ limited access to wines from outside of France (heck even from other European countries).Get a nice Zinfandel.

      6 Replies
        1. re: Maximilien

          +2. Zinfandel isn't grown in Europe, so they'll be quite curious to try it.

          A good one, made by old vines.

          1. re: sunshine842

            We went to Montreal a few years ago. The wine shops had all this amazing French, Italian or Spanish wines. But what our wine steward really loved but couldn't often afford? A good American Zinfandel.

            I thought he was being sweet but now I see - just truthful.

            1. re: happybaker

              Ok Zinfandel... on my list to bring. Thanks!

            2. re: sunshine842

              Where can I buy good Zinfandel at?

          2. This is going to sound insane.....avocados. Seriously. Buy the bag of them before leaving, those are always still a week away from being ripe so they will be fine traveling- attach a simple recipe for guacamole. Mexican food has yet to make inroads in paris.
            Almond butter, local honey, pistachios, locally roasted coffee, pecans (those are $$ in paris), california olive oils.

            Is your sister american? She may appreciate simple items like semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter, and energy bars like larabars and clif bars and ziplock sandwich bags (of all things! I went to four groceries looking for them!)

            9 Replies
            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Before you go out and buy a sack of avocados, check the French and EU regulations about bringing fruits and vegetables into the region.

              I'd bring a couple of bottles of good California wine, probably some Zins.

              1. re: tardigrade

                Would it be possible to ship them ahead so they arrive when OP does?

                Probably expensive, but just wondering.

              2. re: Ttrockwood

                leave the avocados -- they're in steady supply for dead cheap. Pistachios are a fraction of the price they are in the US.

                Same with peanut butter and ziplock bags -- they're easy to find now.

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Thanks for the reply. My sister is Asian (Cambodia) and she has 10 kids, so I really have a long list to buy. All this tips and idea will help... Thanks :)

                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    Hello Ttrockwood,

                    Thanks for the tips and idea. My sister is Asian (Cambodia) and she has 10 kids, so I have a long list to buy for and this is my first time to Paris.

                    1. re: soapy4

                      I know san jose has some great asian groceries, maybe ask her if there are items she misses and can't find?

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        there are more Asian supermarkets than you can count in Paris -- and I mean supermarkets, as large as many small-town supermarkets in the US, and there are literally dozens of them this size in the Paris region. There are hundreds more small markets across the city.

                        She's likely quite happy to be where she can buy all the things from Cambodia that she misses -- Cambodge was a French colony.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I second that. There is a much better selection of Asian
                          fruits at Tang Freres in the 13th arrondissement than
                          you will ever find in San Jose.

                          1. re: bclevy

                            I am so jonesing the mountains of fresh litchis for a song this time of year. *sigh*

                  2. Before you attempt to bring any food products into France, you better check the laws so they don't confiscate it from you at customs. I am quite sure you cannot bring in any fresh produce, such as avocadoes.

                    1. David Lebovitz actually did a blog post on this.

                      Some made total sense (maple syrup! A good Zin!) Some really surprised me - heavy duty aluminum foil : )

                      Take a read, it's fun. And enjoy your trip!


                      4 Replies
                      1. re: happybaker

                        yes -- French aluminum foil is wimpy-wimpy-wimpy.

                        So is the plastic wrap, but it's not quite as bad as the foil.

                        1. re: sunshine842


                          Wow. Thanks!

                          I'll never take my Reynold's for granted again!

                          1. re: happybaker

                            French grocery stores would carry heavy-duty foil for a few weeks in the summer as a barbecue item.

                            Most of us would buy boxes and boxes of it, stockpiling for the rest of the year!

                        2. re: happybaker

                          Thanks happybaker... I read his blog and great ideas.