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Judyrem Aug 9th, 2006 03:16 PM

Provence: What Goodies to Bring back?
I have been reading many books, forums etc. Saw the post about what to bring back from Italy. What are your favorite Provencal mementos?

Gekko Aug 9th, 2006 03:24 PM

* honey
* wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape (we order it by the case and have it shipped)

Judyrem Aug 9th, 2006 03:36 PM

Lavendar honey?

Jan57 Aug 9th, 2006 03:48 PM

There are so many things to bring back! Some of my favorites are: Herbes de Provence and a cute ceramic crock to put them in, Sea Salt, Olive Oil, Olive Tapenade, Provencial tablecloths with lavender or sunflowers, anything made out of olive wood such as salad servers, these little ceramic plates with raised ridges (sold at the markets all over Provence) that you can use to grate garlic or nutmeg, cute dishtowels sold at the markets all over Provence, little ceramic plates for olive oil and bread dipping, lavender soaps, sachets, and my most favorite thing is my market basket that I bought at the Sunday market in Isle sur la Sorgue!

cigalechanta Aug 9th, 2006 05:15 PM

Fleur de sel,
herbs de Provence,
treated provençal tablecloths that you just wipe off stains,
Lavender products, honey, soap, essence.
Olive oil, my favorite the moulin Jean Corneille in Maussane,
Pastis 51, not available in the States,
Salicons, pickled from the Camargue,
and so much more.

mvor Aug 9th, 2006 05:40 PM

Hi Cigale, it's wonderful to see you--we've missed your joyful posts!

Hi Judy,

Lavender honey is wonderful! We just bought some from the Abbey de Senaque. We also like to bring back pottery (remember your bubble wrap), olive oil, nicoise olives, wine, liquors (this year's was truffle--sounds odd but quite restorative after a heavy meal), linens (I carry a little notebook w/measurements in meters).

I don't think of myself as a shopper but in Provence it's <i>really</i> easy to shop because there are so many wonderful handmade products. Have a terrific trip!

hopingtotravel Aug 9th, 2006 08:40 PM

Thanks to a suggestion from Cigalechanta, I am really enjoying the oilcloth I brought back from the market in St. Remy. It's lavender color with designs of black olives and spigs of lavender. VERY, very different than anything I'd find in US. I use it on our outdoor table.

Scarlett Aug 9th, 2006 10:01 PM

Thanks to a suggestion from cigalechanta, I like Pastis in my mussels now :)

Judyrem Aug 10th, 2006 05:15 AM

Ohmy gosh, what great suggestions!!!!! The treated tablecloths are going to be a gift for lots of friends and family!!! Jan I need cute dishtowels and sald plates ...big time. Cigale, I am looking for the best olive oil, thanks so much for the tip! mvor, I am not much of a shopper on trips too, but I will bring my bubble wrap and an expandable tote:-D. I have been on quite a few trips lately and have bought just a few things, but thinking of Provence is making me into a shopoholic!!! We go in a month and I can't wait! Scarlett, is the pastis in a cream sauce? Yummmmm

Luisah Aug 10th, 2006 06:24 AM


The bars of nougat candy made with honey and almonds. Got mine at Senanque and in Aix. Wonderful!

A knife and holder made in the Camargue for my son.

I used to buy soaps but can find them at home now.

SuzieC Aug 10th, 2006 07:06 AM

Welcome back Cigale! You were missed.

Great list to give me ideas. When I come back from the Var in Mid october, I guess I'll have to check everything anyway...bubble wrap AND zip-locks.

On Epicurious today, some writer is writing about restaurants in &quot;Provence&quot;. She's broken it down to sections... nice little read.

Judyrem Aug 10th, 2006 07:29 AM

Luisah, I like the knife and holder for my son in law in the Navy...he collects such things...great info all. Susie, I just may check in an extra bag with no carryons being allowed.

Underhill Aug 10th, 2006 08:52 AM

From one of my articles...

Most of my shopping takes place in Provence, often in the large supermarkets (hypermarch&eacute;s) where fine bargains are to be had in food and household items. Since I am a compulsive collector of pretty paper napkins and plates, some of those always return home with me. Sometimes blue flatware accompanies the paper goods, and occasionally I find attractive little ceramic jars for such things as coarse salt. Always I buy lavender sachets.

I always bring back assorted sizes of freezer bags that are hard to find at home—some large enough for an entire baguette, some small enough for just a croissant or two. Those bags are also useful for holding glass jars wrapped in bubblewrap.

Then there are the foodstuffs: little jars of sauces and p&acirc;t&eacute;s, country jams (I especially love the Haute Provence cassis), exotic cat food (yes!), BIG jars of Nutella, black and green tapenade (more about that later), jars of aioli, herbal teas in uncommon flavors, lavender honey, regional wines seldom imported into the U.S., my husband’s favorite Pastis, soaps and shower gels from Roger et Gallet…the list goes on and on.

One prime purchase is always olive oil. When time allows, we go to the Cooperative du Nyonsais in Nyons to buy the fine appellation-control&eacute;e oil, olives in sealed packets, tapenade, dehydrated olive chips, and olive-oil soap. At other times we buy local olive oil from the regions we visit; the oils of Les Baux and Maussane-les-Alpilles are particularly fine.

Also in Nyons is an excellent little gift shop up the street from the main square and off to the right in a little pedestrian all&eacute;e. The shop has beautiful olive-wood products, Proven&ccedil;al fabrics and clothing of high quality, and santons. I crave santons, those little figurines of villagers that surround the Christmas cr&egrave;ches in Proven&ccedil;al households during December. They come in all sizes and are either small and painted or larger, painted, and clothed in charming costumes. I cannot get enough of them. Hint: the finer artisinal santons will have faces and hands of the same color.

In Nice I always head for the old part of town, Vieux Nice, to check out napkins and placemats in those gorgeous Proven&ccedil;al fabrics and colors. My first stop is usually Perle d’Azur, right on the Cours Sal&eacute;ya, which has a good selection. Next is a small shop, toward the back of the warren of narrow, winding streets of the old town, that carries fabrics by the meter and all kinds of ready-made items: handbags, tote bags, little purses, tablecloths, napkins, placemats, folding baskets for bread…all wonderful for gifts. Finally, I check out the small gift shop across from our favorite restaurant, L’Ecurie (4, rue du March&eacute;), for lovely tablecloths with a finish that repels liquids and stains.

Then I resume my hunt for the perfect santons to add to my collection. Vieux Nice and the adjacent streets are excellent hunting grounds, and along the way I’ve found shops that offer lovely little water-colors of Ni&ccedil;ois scenes.

Finally, I head to the Alziari shop for delectable olive oils—most come in cans, ready to tuck into a suitcase. The shop also has pistou sauce to die for, as well as soaps and other gift items. Nearby is a store that features ceramics with a lavender theme: spoon-holders, napkin holders, mugs…and many, many more, all at very reasonable prices: a good spot to load up on gifts.

RSSmith Aug 10th, 2006 08:58 AM

Gekko and others who have shipped back wine from Provence: what logistics were involved? I was under the impression from our last trip to Provence that most of the small wineries do not handle shipping, so one would have to find a service to do that ... were you able to have Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines sent directly?

Underhill Aug 10th, 2006 09:33 AM

This question keeps coming up, and the answer is the same: it's difficult to ship wine home to the U.S. Some states will not allow it at all, while others have specific regulations. Your best bet is to make an arrangement with a wine importer.

Gekko Aug 10th, 2006 09:37 AM

Yes, the cave shipped the cases directly to New York. Find Guy Bremond ... he's the best.

luvparee Aug 10th, 2006 11:23 AM

judyrem -- what a fun post and how fun remembering what I've purchased my two trips to Provence!

Make sure you schedule the L'Isle sur la Sorgue market on Sunday morning. You need to get there around 9AM as it gets VERY crowded! There's a vendor along the river alongside the Bellevue that has the most fabulous taupe/cream/white table toppers, runners, tablecloths, etc. Tres jolie!
Also, there's a soap guy (longish dark hair in a ponytail??) whose &quot;flavors&quot; are throughout the soap (&quot;Arome Provence&quot; perhaps?? - can't remember).

St. Remy has a pottery store, Terre de Provence, that has the most wonderful Provencal pottery. Also, Joel Durand has marvelous chocolates - I brought back chocolat powder to make hot chocolat this winter. Also, lavender chocolat and rosemary chocolat are to die for!

Not sure exactly where you're going to be, but markets are great places to shop, not only for food but for fleur de sel, olive oil, fabric, tablecloths, napkins, pottery, paper goods etc., etc.

On my most recent trip, we all had to buy an additional suitcase to bring home the fun stuff we purchased.

J. Carlton (a protege of Gault) makes great little Provencal buildings that you can purchase for around 25E to 30E(as opposed to Gault which would be perhaps 150E!). I have a collection of Parisian buildings and just added to my collection of Provencal buildings. They make me happy everytime I look at them. They can easily be found in most souvenir (sp?) stores.

I also bring back next year's calendar. The sites that are photographed are so magnificent and it extends my vacation for another year!



Judyrem Aug 10th, 2006 11:47 AM

Boy, I had tears in my eyes reading about all that great &quot;stuff&quot;. Now THAT is my kind of shopping! Underhill thanks for the majorly detailed info :-). luvparee ;-), we will be in St Remy 6 days, Gordes 4 days, Arles 2days and Aix 2 days.. I heard about Joel Durand and chocolate, both heaven ;-). We have been to Nice before, though I positively adored it, and would like to return,,just not this trip. Underhii, I read about the santons and would like to get a set for my daughter and her husband. You people are the best. merci beaucoup!

SuzieC Aug 10th, 2006 11:53 AM

Now...about these treated tablecloths?
Do you only use them outside for cookout/picnic times or are they gentle/pretty enough to have on your dining room table?

Underhill Aug 10th, 2006 12:57 PM

I bought one that I use in the dining room at Thanksgiving (because of the colors)--it's just fine.

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