12 Foods To Bring Back From France

Planning a trip to France, and not sure what to bring back as an edible souvenir for yourself, or a thank you gift for the kind soul who’s watching your dog/goldfish/child while you’re away?

I have twelve suggestions of artisanal products that are typically French, won’t break the bank — all items are under 10€ — and will actually get used and eaten in your or your friend’s kitchen when you get back.

Those are all easy to find, too. For each item I’ve recommended where to look!

Note: Different countries have different customs policies limiting what you can and can’t bring back in. Before you leave, be sure to check with your local customs office and print out their recommendations to avoid the heartbreak of having your treats confiscated. As an example, here’s information from the US Customs Department. And if you’re flying, anything liquid (even remotely so, such as mustard) must be placed in your checked luggage.

Buckwheat flour

What To Bring Back From France: Buckwheat Flour

Brittany is the land of crêpes, and the savory version is made with buckwheat flour, giving them an incredibly aromatic, nutty flavor. Look for locally grown farine de sarrasin and use it in your baking — it is gluten-free — and, of course, to make your own buckwheat galettes.

Where to find: organic stores, mainstream supermarkets.

Related: Where to Buy Organic Food in Paris.

Canned sardines

What To Bring Back From France: Canned Sardines

The French have a passion for canned sardines, mostly fished in the Atlantic, and they like to buy them in decorative tins that make them lovely collectors’ items. They are wonderful to keep on hand for an easy and enjoyable lunch, and to make a quick sardine rillette spread, or this dish of pasta.

Where to find: organic stores, fish shops, fine foods shops, mainstream supermarkets.

Fleur de sel

What To Bring Back From France: Fleur de Sel

Sea salt is harvested in salt marshes, and the very top layer is the prized fleur de sel (“salt flower”), which comes in delicate and slightly crunchy crystals. It is best used as a finishing salt on fish, meat, vegetables, or in baking, such as in these lemon shortbread.

Where to find: organic stores, fine foods shops, mainstream supermarkets.

Rice from Camargue

What To Bring Back From France: Camargue Rice

You might not think of France as a rice-growing country, yet the Camargue region is an exceptionally rich marshland where the grain thrives. Seek out red or black rice for a nice change of pace, and savor their full flavour, with nutty and woody notes, and subtly chewy texture. You’ll find a recipe for my delicious Red Rice, Green Bean, and Almond Salad on page 66 of The French Market Cookbook!

Where to find: organic stores, fine foods shops, mainstream supermarkets.

Herbes de Provence

What To Bring Back From France: Herbes de Provence

This traditional mix of dried herbs usually contains a base of thyme, basil, tarragon, oregano, and rosemary. It is very versatile: apply it on meats and fish as a dry rub or marinade, fold it into bread or cracker dough, and use it to flavour grains, legumes, and vegetables. Seek out “Label Rouge” mixes to guarantee French-grown, high-quality herbs.

Where to find: fine foods shops.

French lentils

What To Bring Back From France: French Lentils

Lentils are a traditional crop in France, and the varieties we typically grow are small, flavorful, and retain their shape when cooked, all traits that make them perfect for lentil salads of all stripes. Some of my favorites are the famous lentilles vertes du Puy (protected by an AOP) and the lesser-known but Slow Food-approved lentilles blondes de Saint-Flour.

Where to find: organic stores, fine foods shops, mainstream supermarkets.

Dijon mustard

What To Bring Back From France: Dijon Mustard

The French kitchen would not be complete without a jar of strong mustard, to use as a condiment with virtually everything, or as the all-important ingredient in mayonnaise and vinaigrette. Since most French mustard manufacturers nowadays work with mustard seeds grown overseas (hello, Canadian friends!), I favor the Edmond Fallot brand. This family-owned, Burgundy-based mustard company makes stone-ground mustard and is promoting and supporting the local production of mustard seeds.

Where to find: organic stores, fine foods shops (for the Edmond Fallot line). (Mainstream supermarkets will carry industrially made mustard.)

Bean-to-bar chocolate

What To Bring Back From France: Bean-to-Bar Chocolate

Bean-to-bar chocolatiers control the entire process from the cacao bean to the bar you actually eat, and the resulting chocolate typically has lots of personality. My favorites are Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, Stéphane Bonnat, Rrraw, and Pralus.

Where to find: chocolate shops, fine foods shops.

Related: French Chocolate Shop Do’s & Don’ts

Aniseed drops

What To Bring Back From France: Aniseed Candy

Among the most cherished of regional French treats is the aniseed drop from Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, which has been manufactured in this medieval Burgundy village (where the 2000 film Chocolat was shot!) since the sixteenth century. The simplicity and freshness of this candy — spiked with natural flavourings such as lavender, clementine, ginger, or black currant — make it easy to love, as do the quaint, pretty pillboxes adorned with romantic illustrations of a shepherd and his sweetheart, which young French children covet to put away their treasures.

Where to find: mainstream supermarkets in Burgundy, organic stores, fine foods shops.

Aged comté cheese

What To Bring Back From France: Comté Cheese

Comté, a mountain cheese from the Jura, is France’s favorite, probably because it’s both a great cooking cheese and an excellent snacking cheese. Cheese shops worth their salt offer it at different stages of ripeness, and aged comté — 24 to 36 months old — is a must-taste, developing aromas of truffle and crunchy salt crystals. (Learn more about comté here.) For best traveling conditions, ask the cheese vendor if they can vacuum-pack it for you.

Where to find: cheese shops, organic stores.

Related: Buying Cheese Like The French.

Saucisson (dried sausage)

What To Bring Back From France: Dried Sausage

There are pork farmers in every region of France, and one of the most popular charcuterie item you can buy from them is the saucisson, a thick dried sausage that may be flavored in various ways. No apéritif spread can be called French without one; serve in slices with cornichons (pickles) and crusty bread. Unopened saucisson will travel fine at moderate room temperature. (Important note: Meat products are among the most closely watched by customs policies, so triple-check your home country’s regulations before traveling.)

Where to find: charcuteries, butcher shops, organic stores, fine foods shops (*not* mainstream supermarkets).

Related: Buying Meat Like The French.

Artisanal butter

What To Bring Back From France: Butter

The taste of artisanal French butter, sweet and rich and nutty, is one you don’t soon forget. Admittedly this isn’t the easiest item to travel with, but butter is such a cornerstone of French cuisine and pâtisserie that I had to include it for those of you who might not be traveling very far, or will be traveling with an insulated bag and an ice pack. Seek out beurre de baratte to favor artisanal production; my favorite kind is the demi-sel (lightly salted).

Where to find: cheese shops, organic stores.

Join the conversation!

Have you ever brought back food gifts from France? What did you pick out, and whom did you give them to? What will you make sure you purchase on your next trip?

Planning a trip to Paris?

I am available to take you on a private walking tour to show you some of my favorite food spots, or to draw up a customized itinerary for you so you can make the most of your time in Paris. Please get in touch and I will be happy to provide more details and a quote.

What To Bring Back From France

  • tempsperdu

    My list to bring back from France also includes the less artisanal: quatre épices, so useful for baking and for savoury dishes; fécule potato flour for thickening sauces; little sachets of vanilla sugar for sprinkling over cakes; orange flour water for baking and spraying, and lovely harissa

    • Great suggestions, thank you!

    • made me laugh; I think Maizena is a Swiss brand… (fécule) – and the best thickener you can get is the baobab (I think) powder which we got to know when in Portugal (although very limited as the producers have contracts with large food distributors – and it also makes a marvellous aperitif!) Must stop now, as I’m starting to swoon over all the goodies!

      • That’s the problem here — you guys are giving such great suggestions I worry about overweight luggage fees for those who read through! ;)

  • Taste of France

    Some of these will have the customs dogs sniffing your bags in a second. Can’t take meats, cheeses or fresh fruits and vegetables into the U.S.
    Boxed mixes are fun: fondant au chocolat, macarons, etc.
    Olive oil
    Wine, of course
    Tapenades and spreads

    • Thanks! You’ll have noticed the note at the top of the post for readers to check (and print!) their home country’s customs regulations. The only items not admissible into the US in this selection is the saucisson and the butter. The comté is fine (“Solid cheese (hard or semi-soft, that does not contain meat) [is] not restricted”).

      • annette

        As I noted in my other post, I frequently bring butter back to the US. It has intrigued customs officials and we’ve had discussions about it, but they’ve never said it’s not allowed. Thanks for the clarification on which cheeses are admissible to bring back. That explains why my comte has never been questioned.

        • Thanks! I assumed the butter fell into the non-cheese dairy product category.

  • Isobel

    I’ve been getting it right then! But only discovered the aniseed drops,when we visited Flavigny in May. Out of interest, having several bags of that very brand of buckwheat flour, what is your preferred recipe for galettes? The last few times I’ve made them, I’ve had horrendous problems with flipping them without breakage!

  • Isobel

    I should also add that my husband brings back tins of a certain brand of chocolate pudding. I try not to look.

    • Ha ha! I see the kind you mean. I haven’t eaten it in decades I think!

  • After studying in Annecy many years ago, I took the train home to Sweden with a VERY ripe wheel of Reblochon (which I had gotten totally hooked on). I had packed it in several layers of plastic bags, but every time I moved it, a pungent “scent” would emerge… I was horrified, but on the upside, after about half an hour, I got the whole train compartment to myself. :-)

    • Ha ha! The most efficient people repeller. :) We once drove home from the Périgord with a tray of very ripe Rocamadour cheeses in the back seat. O_o

  • anneschuessler

    You can stock up on bouquets garnis, which – at least in Germany – are ridiculously expensive outside of France. I also recommend to get some creme de marron.

    Strangely enough I also try to get a year’s supply of hair product from Le Petit Marseillais and laundry detergent which comes in a lot more varieties in France than in Germany. Also, of course, wine and demi-bouteilles of champagne. Needless to say, our car usually is stacked with groceries and other everyday products when we get back from our vacation in France.

    • Sharon L. Bostick

      We always stock up on Le Petit Olivier body lotion. Love the stuff.

      • Ha! Don’t know it. I didn’t expect to add so many cosmetics to my list of products to try! ;)

        • Sharon L. Bostick

          I didn’t expect to like it–its available everywhere (we usually get it at Monoprix, or the supermarket) and it’s not very expensive. But it’s paraben free and quite nice. It’s a good everyday body lotion.

    • Dear Anne; me too – I never ever leave France without bringing everybody Marseillais products, they do a fab hair conditioner and I’ve given every other brand away upon discovering theirs. They do a ton of different shower gels, wonderful smelling après douche, lovely liquid soaps. I can’t believe I haven’t mentionnend them in my ‘list’….
      I certainly don’t want to give you any advice but you can also – just as well – bring much more affordable sparkling wines (vins mousseux), especially, if you combine with a nice liquor to make Kirs :)

      • Now, what is it with Le Petit Marseillais ? So fun to see you loving their stuff so much. :D

      • Annabel Smyth

        And Monoprix does a wonderful fleur d’oranger shower gel, which is on my list of must-haves. Last trip I went, I bought 4 bottles of Le Petit Marsellaise for a friend, at her request.

    • Crème de marron ! Yes indeed!

  • Franklin Q. Levin

    I have brought seven out of ten home from my trips to France over the last sixteen years. I try to bring the salt from each region through which I travel and wherever possible from the people who produce it. The saucisson is another. There is nothing like it in the USA. It is our favorite lunch while on the road along with Yop, the drinkable yogurt which it is, unfortunately impossible to bring home. I look forward to my first drin of Yop this coming September. The mustard I brought home came from Meaux where mustard is a specialty and where it is sold even in the Office du Tourisme. I used to bring home the rough sugar cubes as well, but now I find them at Cost Plus World Market and therefore have room for more goodies in my baggage.

    • Paul S Bunten

      This gave me a good laugh. As soon as we get to Paris, it’s a rush to Franprix to stock up on Yop in every flavor. To the list of things to bring back to the US, I’d add Savora (I can get this in NYC) and moutarde violette (I can’t get this anywhere). I gave up on schlepping Carte Noire coffee back to the states. I just doesn’t taste right unless I’m drinking it in Paris.

      • Ha ha ha! I adored Yop when I was growing up, but haven’t had it in two decades probably. I looked at a bottle at the supermarket yesterday, but couldn’t bring myself to buy it for my kids, though I’m sure they would love it. I’ll have to see if there’s an organic equivalent as I would feel more comfortable giving them that.

        • Franklin Q. Levin

          If you find an organic I would love to know it. We usually buy the “house brand” at Super U or E. LeClerc when on the road.

    • Ha ha! Still laughing about the Yop. I may have to buy a bottle just as a nod to you guys. What’s your favorite flavor? I think I liked strawberry and raspberry best, but that was in the eighties, when presumably the range was smaller.

      • Franklin Q. Levin

        Raspberry with vanilla a close second. I just don’t understand why no company in the USA makes a similar product. A jambon avec crudite and a Yop is a wondertfull lunch.

  • Melanie

    This is a great list! I must admit, though, that I had the hardest time finding my beloved fleur de sel de Guérande in Paris my last two trips. We searched high and low. Luckily, I had had the great fortune to go to Guérande two years ago, but my supply ran out and couldn’t replenish it this last trip. Where do you recommend? Merci !

    • Hm. That’s strange, it seems super readily available to me! I wouldn’t look for it at organic stores — though they do stock the Atlantic grey sea salt I love to use — but rather at fine foods stores. Definitely at Lafayette Gourmet or La Grande Epicerie, which are must-visits anyway! :)

      • Melanie

        Merci, Clotilde. I’ll add these to my next trip’s list!

  • Leslie Ficcaglia

    I bring back quatre épices, organic tomato paste in tubes, harissa in tubes, and Le Petit Marsieillais au beurre de Karité bar soap, plus small tins of foie gras and rillettes de canard.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Leslie! Have you found the tinned meats are OK through customs in the country you’re traveling back to?

      • I’m traveling back to the U.S., and I’ve never thought to declare them. They’re tinned so I assumed they were perfectly acceptable. But when I’m heading to France my friends there always ask me to bring things out to them. So a few years ago my luggage included several antlers for their dogs plus a jar of King Arthur’s pecan pie mix. One or the other must have looked very strange under the x-ray because I saw that my bag had been opened, but nothing was confiscated!

        • I understand you’re technically supposed to declare any and all food items you’re bringing back. I doubt that rule is enforced, but it’s still what you’re legally supposed to do.

  • This is such fun to read, and you Clotilde are such a darling – giving out tips to your friends…. I always take French wine with me when travelling by car, grapeseed oil for wonderful salad dressings and more, biscuits from Bretagne, of course bags of hand-harvested sea salt (although I have no problem to admit that my personal favourite is the UK Maldon salt flakes….), I bring cheeses from all over with me, nicely cooled of course so that nobody gets sick of the smell, a Pastis (Pernot, 51, Ricard etc), all of your list, saucisson yessssss, herbes mixtures mais oui…. I also buy espadrilles for the whole family when they are on special (4-8€), and fun-decorated mugs, espresso cup sets etc. ….. and so much more! And I ‘import’ equal amounts of stuff of every country I visit (always when by car) that we can’t live without: wonderful teas from UK, organic fruit/herbal teas, Muesli, chocolate, wine from I/CH/P…. It’s fascinating having lived in other countries and realizing how spoilt we were in UK – as a non majorly known country, England imports wines from all over the world and we made some lovely discoveries. The list is endless and you are a sweetheart! :)

    • Fun story: when we were living in the US, a French acquaintance of ours came to visit and brought us a bottle of Pastis as a “taste of France” gift. Such a kind gesture, only Maxence and I are among the few French citizens who hate-hate-hate Pastis. :)

  • Joanne

    Toronto is blessed with a fine food culture and many French products – including the mustard you mention – are available here, but many things are not. In addition to the sardines, I always bring back canned tuna fish – especially the beautiful filets that are so excellent for salade de nicoise – and anchovies. Also olive oil shampoo from Panier des Sens that for some unknown reason is impossible to find here. (Yes, I realize this is not a gourmet gift!) And many different kinds of salt that I typically buy in a market such as the Bastille market (where you can also find gift items such as lavender sachets.) Markets are excellent places to find all manner of culinary souvenirs. Cheese mongers such as Laurent Dubois will package up your order for transporting the day before you leave.

  • Madonna Ganier-Yancey

    Piment d’espelette, olive oils, the rice you mentioned, and wine. I bought a tin of foie gras on our last trip since fresh can’t be brought into the US. It was good, but not nearly as good as fresh would have been. I also bring home at least one cookbook and some cooking magazines.

    I’ll have to try the tinned sardines next trip. Both my husband and I love sardines and other tinned fish (mackerel is my personal favorite).

    • I *love* fresh mackerel, but find the canned kind a bit dry for my taste. Do you have a brand you like?

  • Let’s not forget the ‘chestnuts/marrons’ in glass jars or tins….

  • Judith Scott

    Have brought most of these items home…especially the butter. Pack it in insulated bags and usually in my carry on, so have never had a problem. I also love the bouquets garni, but 1 of my musts is French mayonnaise.If it is unopened there is no problem with refrigeration,and many companies now use plastic packaging. Love Oeufs a Mayonnaise, and unless you make it yourself, Best Foods just doesn’t cut it.
    Also love French jams and preserves.Great post, Clotilde, thanks!

    • Good idea on the mayo! Do you find it’s different from mayonnaise you would make yourself?

  • annette

    Great post–thank you! I’ve brought 9 of these items home at one time or another. Someone said we can’t bring cheese home to the US, but if it’s vacuum packed it’s allowed. I frequently bring comte, declare it on my customs form, and they don’t blink an eye. I usually bring butter–frozen and packed in a ziplock bag in my carry on–and it travels perfectly. In addition to bouquet garni and herbs de Provence, I like the dried shallots found in the spice section at grocery stores (nice to have on hand to doctor something up when I am out of fresh). I enjoy the wider selection of bouillon cubes that are available in Parisian grocery stores as well (pork, veal, herb & olive oil, etc.). At home all my local stores carry is chicken and beef. Customs always asks if the bouillon is beef, so I don’t bring that one anymore, but other flavors are fine. Riz de Camargue is nice. Vanilla powder. Unusual extracts from Goumanyat et son Royaume (pistachio, apricot, rose…). There are so many fun products to tote home that bring back fond memories when you use them.

    • Love your suggestions, Annette, thank you! Re: cheese, only hard cheeses are permissible. No oozy, raw-milk Saint-Félicien!

  • Annabel Smyth

    Disclaimer: I live in the UK, and I travel in a camper van, with its own fridge! But in many years of travelling regularly to France, we have things we wouldn’t go home without. I include buckwheat flour, Dijon mustard (my mother loves the blackcurrant-flavoured one), artisanal butter (my favourite is the one with sea salt crystals; my mother prefers the unsalted. Not that she comes with us to France, but I bring things back for the family) and Camargue rice (I love the large white grains, about twice the size of basmati! I sometimes buy Taureau Ailé 3 rice mixture).

    Anyway, I also don’t go home without (in no particular order):
    Coffee (sounds ridiculous, but it’s massively cheaper in France, one of the few things that still is).
    Liptons Thé aux Agrumes (I don’t take milk in tea, and this is lovely in mid-afternoon; unavailable in the UK).
    Coquillettes (obviously we have pasta here, but not this particular size/shape. I get some for my daughter, too)
    Ready-prepared rognons sauce Madère (I only discovered this last year)
    Also a choucroute ready meal for two
    Bread mixes – only because they are different to the ones sold here (and hey, chocolate brioche? What’s not to like?)
    Fruit compote in various incarnations – jars of rhubarb for the Swan Whisperer and apricot or peach for me; the grandsons liked, when they were little, those “Pom’Pote” pouches (ideally with no added sugar), but I’m not sure they still do. Hope not – they are heavy to carry on public transport up to hers.
    We also like those Andros fruit compotes with cream on top, which we buy for pudding when we’re in France, and some to take home. Plus yogurts you can’t get at home, fromage blanc à la faisselle, Marron’suis…..
    Cheese – Coulommiers for my mother, as it’s hard to find here. Also aged Comté and Cantal, the latter is also hard to find. And unpasteurised Camembert, known in the family as “Stinky cheese”.
    Creme fraiche d’Isigny (mostly for the jars, which are so useful, but it’s nicer than the creme fraiche you get here)
    Wine, beer, sparkling wine (usually Vouvray, but Cremant d’Alsace is great, too), plus whisky or gin for presents
    And of course the usual stuff we’ll need for the week’s groceries, usually accompanied by arguments as to whether it’s cheaper at home!

    And if you’ve read through that little lot, I salute you!

    • You’ve become such a pro at this! ^^

      • Annabel Smyth

        Many, many years’ experience! And I forgot to mention the shower gels…. Le Petit Marsellais and Tahiti mostly.

  • Leslie Ficcaglia

    Something I wanted to bring home last time was confit de gésiers. When I first heard of gésiers I thought they sounded awful, but when I tried them I became a convert. On the previous trip I had found it vacuum-packed, so that it didn’t require refrigeration, in the SuperU or the Intermarché. I looked for it again this past fall but couldn’t find it in that form. I ended up sourcing organic chicken gizzards online here and making my own confit.

  • Broc Hite

    Clotilde,
    Thank you for such a thoughtful list. I would add that if you are going to a major U.S. city, particularly in NYC, where you have stores like Zabar’s and Fairway. Nationally, both Aldi and Trader Joe’s have tasty European treats from time to time, and warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club often have a variety of AOC French cheeses.
    The other consideration besides NOT bringing back banned foods is that even okay foods could get inspected more closely. After leaving customs in Chicago, I had to go through domestic security again to continue to my final destination. The TSA agent didn’t read French, so he did a full chemical inspection on my kilogram bags of grey sea salt. So watch out if you bring back that Farine de Sarrasin or the like! Not a big deal, unless you are like me, who was carrying the bright red ticket holder showing that I was in danger to miss my next flight.

    • You’re right, that’s an important thing to consider, thanks so much for clarifying that. As for French products available in the US, they are typically not the artisanal kind, as artisans don’t have the volume or the resources to export. So the artisanal stuff has to be purchased here. :)

      • Franklin Q. Levin

        Quite so. I find the artisanal things in smaller-sized packages at markets and at farm shops as we travel. Those I save for special occasion and am content to use the coarse sel gris in situations where the salt doesn’t show as in soups and other dishes. When it shows I uses the lovely salts that I have found in Gurande, in the Camargue and places like Ile De Re. I love having different salts and each dash takes me back to where I bought it.

    • Franklin Q. Levin

      Coarse sel gris is available at Cost Plus World Market now. I used to bring it home, but now save the space and weight for things I can not ever get in the USA. The sel gris at CPWM is exactly the same kilo bag I buy in France.

      • I like to get the grey salt with the Nature & Progrès label, available at organic stores.

  • rachelsloan79

    Fleur de sel has always been one of my top food souvenirs, ditto herbes de Provence and cheeses. (Thanks for the tip about the Saint-Flour lentils; I know and love Puy lentils but have never heard of these!) I also love buying local honey, although obviously only if travelling within Europe. The other thing I used to buy religiously – I must admit, mostly for myself – was fig jam. It used to be near impossible to find in the UK but so easy to find in any French supermarket, I’d always leave room in my bag for a jar or two of Bonne Maman’s finest… but within the last couple of years it’s become available at my local supermarket, thus leaving me more room in my luggage for other treats ;)

    • I’m glad I’ve added a new kind of lentil to your culinary landscape, Rachel, we both know the value of that. :)

  • I was in Alsace last week (we’re only two hours from the border – if only I had a car I would be shopping there once a month ;) ) and although I had to restrain myself as we’re moving soon and I can’t take food products us, I did stock up on some salt and gluten-free products (so much better than the selection we have in Germany!) and brought back some créme fraîche, St Felicien, some butter, smoked lardons and pâté from a farm shop. I do wish I’d stocked up on Le Petit Marsieillais as well! When friends go on their French supermarket hauls I always request a tin of cassoulet :)

    • So fun to hear about your selection, Christie!

    • Sharon L. Bostick

      I’m always tempted to get a tin of cassoulet. Do they tend to be good?

  • Cheryl

    Thanks for this list. We had a French exchange student stay with us many years ago and she brought with her Coqceliqot (sp?) candies. My daughter is still obsessed with them and they are nearly impossible to find in the states, so if I were going to France, I would bring back a huge jar!

    • I do love the flavor of those coquelicot candies! Violet is great too.

  • Heather

    I love calissons from Provence.

  • Liz_Macau

    On a recent trip to Ile de Rei I discovered Sel de Chateau — very expensive but totally addictive. I highly recommend it to any salt snobs. It’s salt with red wine and I now wish I’d bought more. I put it on my semi dried tomatoes. Absolutely to die for!

    • Ooh, I remember getting something similar a while back, I had forgotten about it! I wonder if you could make your own…

      • Liz_Macau

        I was wondering that too. It had a sticker over the lid which listed the wines and, of course, I peeled it off to open it and threw it away and now I cannot remember which wines. There were two and I think one was a Sauvignon. I think it would be possible to soak coarse salt in the wine and then dry it out. In fact, I think I shall go and try it out right now!

        Cheers!

  • We are travelling through France on our way to England in two weeks, so this article fits. I have already put some things (like the cheese and the lentils) on my llist! :)

  • Kim W

    AAAAUUUUUGGGHHHHH!!!! I just was in Paris just last week and only came home three days ago an I’M ONLY JUST SEEING THIS NOW!!!

    …Ah well. I did pick up some lentils while i was there, and some herbs for vin chaud; and I got fascinated with some candied herb leaves at one shop and got about two or three different ones. (Including verbena – I have a verbena plant that’s growing a bit wild and wanted to see if it was something I would consume if i made it myself.)

    • I’ll be interested to know what you think about the candied verbena leaves!

  • Adam

    Butter was my #1 item to find in France when I lived in Germany. Paysan Breton or Grand Fermage sel de mer… my goodness, heaven. I’ve preached butter should be on par with cheeses and never quite understoond why it’s been relegated. I would rather have good, soft, warm bread with a fine butter over any dessert on earth. Needless to say, I miss the French countryside. Great post.

  • Andy

    Just got back from France and we brought home Banania (for a friend), Les anis de Flavigny candies, and Caro coffee substitute drink. Wish we brought home Bret’s chips with comté cheese.

    • Ha ha, I had to laugh at the Banania! :) Will have to look up those chips, too.

  • Alecta

    I haven’t brought home, as my last visit ended at Gate de Lyon and a sleeper car to Milan. For that I packed a picnic of a small bit of cheese, croissants, wine and macarons. Unnecessary, as the train fed us rather well, including a champagne reception. Europe does trains right.

    • I haven’t taken a sleeper train since I was a child, which explains why I don’t remember anything about Champagne. ^^

  • Jordan Bacon

    I brought back premade, dried bouquet garnis. Made me smile and remember our trip every time I dropped one into soup or stew.

  • I live in Montreal, where I can buy many of these products (buckwheat flour, Flavigny candies, comte cheese, French lentils, fleur de sel, herbes de provence) at the fruiterie on my corner; it’s very interesting to know that this isn’t true for everyone on this side of the world! I’ll remind myself of this next time I get frustrated about some American product that I can’t get without paying a fortune in duties.

  • Ellery

    Breton salted caramels.
    Buckwheat flour.
    Cans of cassoulet (I know, I know, a bit low rent).
    Cans and vacuum packs of sweetened chestnuts.

  • Esther

    Caramel au beurre sale, the sweets and the jars! Rillettes, confit de canard, grasse de canard, salty butter, with the salt grains visible (even le president, that you can get in any supermarket), flour (du ble) to bake pancakes, all kinds of salt, regional honey, confit d’oignons and all the new things that I seem to find every time I go grocery shopping in France (which is always number one on my to do list!) Oh, and the confitures you can get at Pierre Herme! Those are so so so good!

  • Good choices there – I’d also add some good Camembert and a bottle of Calvados (Guess who lives in Normandy?!)

  • enkay212

    Nicolas Alziari Olive Oil and Calissons from Aix

  • ♥TheRealFoxVegas ♎ ♥

    Lol, no meat or dairy into Canada…it’s not allowed. /0 I also bring back sables, even thought I could make them. They are sooooo good from the patissiere on the corner! ♥

    • I agree! It’s all about the butter. ^^

    • Alibaba
      • Thanks for linking to that page! 20 kilos of cheese, that should last you a few days, hopefully. :)

        • Alibaba

          To be on the safe side, the cheese should be in it’s own sealed plastic (ie, vacuum sealed), or an uncut wheel. I know that many airports in Europe will have cheese that is pre-cleared for customs depending on which country you are returning to. Whatever you do, don’t try and bring cheese that has already been cut/opened and then wrapped in wax paper (the way you would get it from a cheese monger/store if you were going to eat it at home), because customs will likely take it.

          Here’s some more detailed info from the Government website:

          “When are documents required? Some items, if allowed into Canada, may require documents such as permits issued in Canada in advance, and/or certificates from the country of origin. These include meat and dairy products nuts, plants, fruits, live animals. To request permits contact the Centre of Administration for Permissions. If you do not have the required documents, the items will not be allowed to enter Canada.”

          As I mentioned before, most airports will have pre-cleared cheese that you can buy and take home. It will have the necessary stamp/paperwork so you shouldn’t have an issue with customs when returning home with it. If in doubt, call the Centre of Administration for Permissions before you leave. They will give you the latest up to date info.

  • Zondervrees

    Luckily I live in Belgium and can find most, if not all, of these in the shop around the corner. :-)

    • That’s great! What Belgian specialties would you recommend people bring home?

      • Zondervrees

        Chère Clotilde, talking about Belgian food, let’s not ignore the 2 elephants in the room: beer and chocolate.
        Concerning beer, there is a lot to do about microbreweries creating the most elusive and hard to get beers. I’m afraid that is a fashion thing and would recommend a classic beer: the Westmalle Triple. It goes extremely well with most cheeses (see further), even with a Roquefort. I find that -in general- beer goes better with cheese than wine, but then again, I’m Belgian not French. For those longing for the West-Vleteren trappist, the best beer in the world (?), get a few bottles of the Sint Bernardus Abt 12 which is an exact copy of the ‘real’ one which you can’t find anyway. These two beers -and a lot more- can be found in any Belgian supermarket.
        Belgian chocolates were invented by a Swiss pharmacist, Jean Neuhauss. Altough there are more inventive chocolatiers on the market (Dominique Persoone, Pierre Marcolini), you can never go wrong with a mixed ballotin from Neuhaus. There are Neuhauss-shops in every major Belgian town, or buy them at the airport.
        Unknown fact: Belgian is the country with the highest number of genevers (gin) in the world. First have a taste of some of them in a bar like “De Vagant” in Antwerp, then buy a bottle of your choice. I would recommend the old genever from Balegem. For sale in some supermarkets and in specialised beer- and wineshops.
        Cheese: Belgium has a rich offer of cheeses of all types, but the king of Belgian cheeses is the Remoudou from the Herve-region. Enoy it with a dollop of Sirop de Liège. Again, Remoudou is available in most supermarkets, but the quality might be better when bought from a specialised affineur like Van Tricht in Antwerp.
        Sirop de Liège, made in the region of South Limburg and Liège, is a solid syrup made by cooking down apple and pear juice without adding any sugar (also dates might be added). Great with cheese, on pancakes and kids love it on bread. Sirop de Liège is readily available in all supermarkets and grocery stores.
        And there are the biscuits from Jules Destrooper, which you should buy if only for the great retro-design of their boxes…
        Some stuff doesn’t travel that well, french(ed) fries obviously (originally created at the Pont Neuf in Paris but I will deny I ever said that, even under torture), but also the cuberdons from Ghent. Cuberdons are cone shaped candies also known as ‘little noses’.

        • Love those suggestions, thank you! Jules Destrooper biscuits are available at many supermarkets in Paris as well. Very good indeed.

  • Dhivya Subramanian

    thanks for sharing this….nice tipps..
    what is mean by Aniseed drops?

    • An aniseed drop is a tiny round sugar candy with a grain of aniseed in the middle.

  • Garance Thery

    Hi everyone!
    I am going back to France soon and I an trying to think of little treats to bring back from paris to my vegan friend. Any recommendations?

    • Hi Garance ! I would consider bringing back some heirloom dried beans from Rancho Gordo (we are very poor, beanwise, in France), locally made, fun, all-natural nut butters (we don’t get a great variety here in terms of crunchy, flavored, etc.), and maybe some pecans or maple syrup — available but pricey here!

  • Commander Balok

    I’m hoping to bring back between 10-15 jars of French Cassoulet in my luggage from Germany to America. The product is already cooked, needs no refrigeration and has a shelf life of almost 2 years. What are my chances of clearing US customs?

    • I’m sorry I can’t advise you on such a large amount. One jar I think would be fine, but a larger volume can look like importation and they may have a problem with that. Maybe get in touch with them to ask?

      • Commander Balok

        Thanks for your response! I tried contacting multiple US organizations including FDA and Customs and have either been told to contact another department or they have not responded at all, so I can’t get a straight answer. And many of the websites contradict each other as to what is allowed and what is not. Typical government run around.

Get the newsletter

Receive FREE email updates with all the latest recipes, plus exclusive inspiration and Paris tips. You can also choose to be notified when a new post is published.

View the latest edition of the newsletter.