Do you have a type of souvenir you always bring home from a trip? Any time we travel, I typically bring back three things: local salt (because I’m obsessed with salt like there’s a salt shortage); a Christmas ornament; a piece of art from a local artist. When we started planning our trip to Paris, I knew I would have to bring back salt, but then the list started to grow. I wanted to bring honey, mustard, jellies and jams…but I have to say, I’m proud of myself for really sticking to our traditional purchases.
Next time though, it’s game time. I’m bringing an extra suitcase just for honey, mustard, jellies and jams. Anyway, this time I did pick up two things I don’t normally gravitate towards, plus some art that we’ll share when it is done being framed and of course a Christmas ornament. Okay, I brought back two Christmas ornaments – one from Versailles and one from Notre Dame. But food is more interesting, anyway!
First, sel gris. This is salt from Guerande, in Brittany. Sel gris is by far my favorite finishing salt. It tastes very briny, the salt itself has some moisture to it (so always keep it sealed tightly) and the mouth feel is perfect for finishing things like sea food. You don’t have to go all the way to France to try it, either! I’ve found a few options on Amazon that are well priced and have the nice big grains you would expect from a sel gris. Try this, this or this.
Second, a truffle olive oil.
I have purchased olive oil before, specifically from Croatia and New Zealand. I have a few things I think you should consider if you are going to purchase a local olive oil. I personally find myself only using a locally purchased olive oil for special occasions or a special dish, like a risotto I do not make often. So, if you’re like me and won’t use your olive oil daily, I would recommend:
- Make sure it’s actually local to the area you are in.
- Purchase a small amount if you are going to use it. Olive oil will go bad, the worst thing is to have too much of it that you are unable to use.
- Really, truly use the olive oil. Don’t save it for a rainy day, you’ll never use it! If you want it to be decorative, find a pretty one, never open it and use it as decoration. Otherwise, use that olive oil! You can always use running out as an excuse to go back!
And, finally, one thing I hadn’t purchased for myself on a trip up to this point: a chef’s knife from E. Dehillerin. E. Dehillerin is the most wonderful kitchen supply store I’ve ever been in – if you love copper and knives, you must go! I didn’t think their pricing was too crazy, either, they are very helpful if you ask!
So, I have a love affair with my chef’s knives and this one has become a quick favorite over the past month. And yes, you can bring a knife home with you from a vacation, just make sure it’s packaged well and in a checked suitcase. When they packed the knife for me, they protected the tip with a wine bottle cork. I’m planning to do a post soon about my favorite knives and how I take care of them – stay tuned!
I would love to hear what you bring home from your vacations – always looking for new ideas!