10 souvenirs to buy from a French supermarket

(or the reason why I always go to France with an empty suitcase)

Let’s be honest. The end of the holidays always sucks.

You might be happy to go home and stuff, but the prospect of going back to the routine of everyday life? Not so much.

One thing that’s good about it though? Souvenirs shopping!

And when in France, there’s no better place for that than the supermarket! (unless of course you’re planning on decorating your flat with Eiffel Tower replicas of all sizes… in which case, enjoy!)

10 souvenirs to buy in a French supermarket | Cake + Whisky

Now, I will admit that I have a bit of a thing for foreign supermarkets, and in my opinion, nothing tops bringing back home the flavours you enjoyed during your holiday…

So if you want to keep the French Summer holiday vibes going, below are 10 brilliant things you should pick up at the local French supermarket!

10 souvenirs to buy in a French supermarket | Cake + Whisky

1. Milk chocolate with hazelnuts: A staple of French snacks, it’s proving surprisingly difficult to find in the UK. Most supermarkets will sell some under their own brand, or you can always splurge for some Milka or Côte d’Or bars… When you’re at it, you might also want to pick up a few bars of Nestlé baking chocolate (the one wrapped with brown paper). You’ll never bake a chocolate cake with cocoa after that.

2. Speciality mustard: The French do love their mustard and, from the classic Dijon to more unusual blends, there’s a wide range to choose from. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend anything from family-owned, Burgundy-based mustard company Edmond Fallot.

3. Le Petit Marseillais Milk shower gel: My favourite shower gel in the entire world. Not only is it one of the most moisturising ones I’ve ever tried, but it’s also super cheap (about 2€ for 400ml) and it smells like my childhood.

4. Lotus speculoos: The one and only way to turn your coffee break into a proper Parisian experience. Also really good dunked in tea, crushed on top of baked fruit for an instant crumble, with yoghurt or instead of biscuits in a tiramisu… So you better get a few extra boxes, just to be safe (and maybe add a jar of speculoos spread as well…)!

5. Cornichons: NOT your usual pickles! The French cornichons are smaller in size and have a more ferm, crunchier texture, and the taste is somewhat more sharp. Perfect in sandwiches and with cold meat platters!

6. Levure Chimique “Alsacienne”: Now, that’s a rather weird one, especially since self-raising flour is so easy to come by in the UK. BUT despite my effort, I find that cakes simply don’t raise the same way when I don’t use the little pink bags, and taste weirdly chemical-ey when I add some British baking powder to my batters… or am I just doing something wrong?

7. Skincare from the parapharmacie: Parapharmacies are where all my money disappears the second I set food in France. Offering all sorts of skin care products, there are any beauty addict’s dream come true and very good value for brands such as La Roche Posay, Avène, Caudalie etc.

8. Crème de Marrons: Now, this is rather niche. Coming from the beautiful middle-of-nowhere region of Ardèche, this chestnut spread is simply divine. My favourite way to eat it is mixed in yoghurts, but it also has multiple uses in pastry (and I won’t rule out the idea of eating it by the spoonful…)

9. Wine: Because when in France… but put down that bottle of Chardonnay (nobody in France drinks that) and go less obvious labels. If you’re into white wine, I suggest you try a nutty Côtes du Jura (excellent with hard cheese and stone fruit), or an easy-going Sancerre. As far as rosé goes, you can’t really go wrong with a Bandol. And if red’s you thing, maybe a Bourgogne or a Saint Nicolas?

10. Herbes de Provence: This mix of dried herbs (usually marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano) simply tastes of Summer. It is a staple of southeast France cuisine and perfect on grilled meat and fish, as well as in Provencal stews such as ratatouille.

 

What sort of souvenir do you like to bring back from holiday?

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10 souvenirs to buy in a French supermarket | Cake + Whisky

10 souvenirs to buy from a French supermarket

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo

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.

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo, Brittany | Cake + Whisky 10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo, Brittany | Cake + Whisky

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!

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo, Brittany | Cake + Whisky

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?

10 awesome souvenirs to buy in Saint Malo