I am not one for tacky souvenirs.
Magnets, snowglobes, shot glasses, pebbles… If it’s going to stay in a corner of my living room collecting dust, it might as well stay in the store.
Which doesn’t mean I don’t want to bring home any goodies when I go away on holidays.
Things to remind me what a wonderful time I had when the holiday blues next strikes. Things I can share with those I had left behind to give them a taste of that specific trip. Things I will be happy to find in a few months, once my tan has faded.
Following my recent trip to Brittany’s beautiful Emerald Coast, I thought it might be useful to create a little guide of souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo if you want to skip the
junk traditional stuff but still bring a little piece of Brittany home with you!
1. Salted caramel. Obviously. You’ll find plenty of varieties, from supermarket jars to small, artisan-made batches, and even some flavoured versions. Get one of each. Spread on everything. Scoop some in your coffee, drizzle on yoghurt or ice cream. Worse come to worse, eat by the spoonful. You really can’t go wrong.
2. The butter of the stars. With a silky texture, aromatic complexity, a light dusting of salt, a smart balance of flavors and a creative collection of flavours, Bordier Butter is unlike any other one. And as for all luxury goods, the proof is in the client list, and Bordier butters reign supreme on the menus of the finest restaurants in France and abroad. The easiest way to take the French Palace experience home with you!
Bordier Butter flagship store, La Maison du Beurre, is located 9 Rue Orme
3. Buckwheat everything. Frequently listed as one of the world healthiest food, buckwheat remains quite niche outside of Asia and Brittany, where it’s the main component of the region’s most iconic dish, the Galette (a savoury buckwheat pancake). Despite its name, buckwheat is gluten-free (it is actually a fruit related to rhubarb and sorrel) and a variety of buckwheat-based food items, including flour, biscuits and tea, are available in supermarkets and speciality shops.
La Maison du Sarrasin, a store specializing in all things buckwheat, is located 10 Rue Orme
4. A fresh Kouign Amann. If you like croissants, you must try Kouign Amann (and if you don’t, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore…). Those little round cake/pastry hybrids are made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in and result in a sort of caramelised croissant. They are about a billion calorie each but definitely worth every one of them.
Saint Malo’s best Kouign Amann is to be found at Les Délices du Gouverneur, 6 Rue Porcon de la Barbinais
5. The most beautiful fish preserves. I love those. Not only are La Belle Iloise‘s preserves super pretty, but they’re also the best I’ve tried. There is a huge variety of flavours for you to choose from, they make excellent presents and even better nibbles for your next dinner party.
La belle Iloise, 4 Rue Porcon de la Barbinais
6. (not pictured) A Breton-stripped top. When in Brittany… Armor Lux & St James are the most trusted brands in France, and both have a store in Saint Malo.
7. An intriguing spice mix from Roellinger. If you’re a bit of a spice nerd (I feel you), Epices Roellinger is your idea of a true Aladdin’s Cave. There’s vanilla and pepper from every corner of the globe, jars of the world’s rarest spices from floor to ceiling and exclusive spice mixes you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re an expert cook or really just starting, there is something for everyone. The hardest part is choosing.
La Boite à Epices, 12 Rue Saint-Vincent
8. A bottle of Breton cider. Cider is Brittany’s regional drink of choice and the perfect accompaniment to galettes and crêpes. French cider is different from its British counterpart; it is both less sweet and more sour, making it the perfect pairing for fish and pork dishes.
9. A new bikini. There’s this lovely little French brand I love called Princesse Tam Tam and they do the cutest bikinis. I had to stop myself from buying the whole store. They’re a bit pricey but the quality is amazing (I got my previous bikini from them and it’s lasted me a good 5 years). Definitely worth the investment.
Princesse Tam Tam, 12 Rue Broussais
10. Zero sunburns. Best present you can give yourself. Trust me on that one.
What sort of souvenirs do you bring back home from holiday?