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Gifts for new french friends

I am going to Paris in a couple of weeks, with a large group of family. We are meeting new French relatives for the first time and would like to bring gifts from America that the French might like. Does anyone have any suggestions? I plan to bring a few bottles of Washington wine.

Posted by
506 posts

Oh - baked beans.... great idea - I miss those. There is BBQ sauce - Heinz I believe. So - something local might be great. I like the creative idea.

If there are children - grape bubble gum.

What about music from a local artist?

Posted by
102 posts

wine idea could potentially be disasturous

how about some berry syrup or something
to do with apples?

Posted by
506 posts

The wine idea maybe something you play by ear. You may find that the wine may not be appreciated given you are coming to the country that still likes to believe they have the best wine - period. They will certainly accept of course. Be forewarned - there are those that are wine snobs here that have no comparison.

It is tradition to bring flowers or chocolate (wine if dinner is being served) - should I be going to a friends for example.

It is a tough situation given it is a first time meet. I would consider something different such as family photos (framed), something typical from Washington that is unique - art, pottery etc. Perhaps a table book of all the awesome scenery for example.

Posted by
10344 posts

Carol: Many of us enjoy Washington wines, but bring your new French relatives anything but American wine--for the reasons so tactfully stated by Jona. You want to make a good impression on your new relatives but choosing to give them an American wine is taking a significant risk of accidentally making exactly the opposite impression from the one you intend, a faux pas, when you can easily avoid this risk by choosing another gift.

Posted by
4555 posts

Relatives in Scotland and friends in Spain have both been impressed with aboriginal art prints. I know there are some fine Haida artists out your way.

Posted by
12040 posts

My Belgian inn-laws really appreciated two relatively inconspicuous gifts I brought- a bottle of barbeque sauce and a jar of Boston baked beans. The whole idea was to give something that isn't widely available in Europe.

Posted by
30 posts

Great question and it helps me out, too. I'm heading to France in 5 weeks, coming from the Willamette Valley. Now I have some good ideas for gifts to take along for the hosts of our lodgings (local jams, nuts, etc).
Thanks for the question and the answers.

Posted by
11450 posts

I like the idea of Haida( Frist Nations) Art, or a nice coffee table book of west coast photos.
Also good idea is the vacum packed smoked salmon you can get in nice wooden boxes.. I know our relatives love that stuff when we bring it.

Posted by
363 posts

I second pat's idea; smoked salmon from our west coast. try to find Sockeye (much tastier and nice colour). my European friends are always ecstatic to receive it. the vacuum packed stuff is great because you don't need to refrigerate it until after opening.

Posted by
990 posts

Here are some nice Northwest ideas--the smoked salmon already mentioned, some NW candy (Applets and Cotlets, Dilettante Chocolates, Frans Chocolates,) jam or syrup made with marionberries, local glass products (especially anything made with Mount St Helens ash), glossy photo books of NW scenery, Starbucks coffee with a Northwest theme (the new Pike Market Blend perhaps.) We have friends in England and in Turkey and always bring a few locally themed items, which are well appreciated.

Posted by
102 posts

oohhh

SEA people...that everything made with honey stand in pike places would be great...the lip balms are fabulous..

PDX ..go to the made in oregon store...isn't at the airport..there was that yummy Berry Jam and syrup..
plus the label says MADE IN OREGON

btw we are out ..could you send me some :) :)

Posted by
14 posts

Merci beaucoup!

Great ideas. Taking wine is a lot of trouble. But the space that I have coming home will be full of le vin francais bien sur!

Carole

Posted by
852 posts

Hi Carole,
... Those pint size tins of extra fancy maple syrup go over well as gifts. Maybe you can determine why that is ...
... bon voyage! P

Posted by
448 posts

My experience is that French tend to like best what they know...little cans of maple syrup sit on the shelves getting dusty in the "exotic food " section, where one can also find peanut butter and marshmallow whip.........But for sure i'd agree with the vacuum packed smoked salmon from the Pacific. We understand salmon.
I also liked the travel candles from Market Spice, their essence of Washington state is nice, featuring SeaMist and Rain...Light, useful and won't break. I sure wouldn't bring anything is glass. I have a less than fond memory of bottle of red wine breaking in the case with the kid's chocolate milk powder/mix.

....and as Jona mentioned..can't go wrong with a lovely bouquet that you bought in Paris.

Posted by
448 posts

....I meant Marshmallow FLUFF...childhood memory, just haven't bought it for awhile...I must have been thinking of Miracle Whip...

Posted by
277 posts

I have relatives in a small town in Northern Italy. On a recent visit, I brought the "true American" gift. Baseball gloves, and hats from my local team (Yankees) with a variety of different balls and bats. They were the talk of their community. We even had a makeshift game at a local park.

Posted by
448 posts

During the night i remembered Almond Roca and Cashew Roca...we don't have those in France..and the presentation tin with the individual gold wrapped candies is nice. I always used to take them from Seattle to family in NH.

Posted by
1158 posts

Carole,

I don't believe wine is a good idea. France is the mother of wine.
I would get them crafts, the kind you can hand on the walls.

Posted by
67 posts

I have been reading this thread with interest as someone we met on a cruise lives in Paris. They have been very helpful in arranging for a hotel in the Paris suburbs and have given us some recommendations on what to see. They also offered to pick us up at the airport.

We want to give them a gift.

Coincidentally, I was attending a French festival in Hollywood and had the opportunity to talk to a number of french directors. I asked them for their opinion. All of them thought the idea of a good California wine was an excellent idea. My beer was served during the festival so it was a natural subject to bring up.

The French say bring wine. Most of the people on this forum who have been to France say do not.

Maybe I will bring them a bottle of my beer. Just kidding.