What do Indian masala, Moroccan argan oil and Madagascan vanilla have in common? Musement shares 17 ideas for edible souvenirs that’ll keep your taste buds flying high for months to come.
Souvenirs allow us to prolong a trip even after we return home—or to offer those who didn’t have the luxury of traveling with us a taste of that destination. However, not all of us are keen on cluttering our house with knick-knacks, and we don’t always know our loved ones’ tastes in terms of fashion or decor. This is why edible souvenirs make a great alternative—so long as they’re not perishable or fragile.
To help you choose, Musement has cooked up a list of 17 edible souvenirs, in no particular order, you an find in 17 different countries.
1. Indonesia: Kopi Luwak
Kopi Luwak is a double-edged sword: either the lucky person you give it to will be delighted (after all, it’s still the most expensive coffee in the world) or will be completely disgusted (because it’s coffee ground from beans from civet cat excrement, the “luwaks”).
2. Tunisia: Orange flower water
In Tunisia, orange flowers are indispensable in the preparation of pastries and couscous. This floral water’s bewitching fragrance is particularly versatile and keeps well in a bottle away from light.
3. Italy: Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena
Not to be confused with PGI balsamic vinegar, which can easily be found for everyday consumption, Modena’s traditional balsamic vinegar is born from a very slow artisanal process that requires 12-25 years of maturation. Produced in small quantities of exceptional quality, this is not just any vinegar but a precious product.
4. Cambodia: PGI Kampot Black Pepper
Handpicked and naturally sun-dried in Cambodia’s Kampot and Kep provinces, Kampot black pepper is considered one of the world’s best. Characterized by its fruity and mentholated notes, it accompanies innovative combinations perfectly.
5. Morocco: Argan oil
Used in cosmetics as well as cuisine, Morocco’s true gold, argan oil, is produced in the coastal region of Essaouira. Along the road leading to Marrakech, goats perch themselves among the argan trees. Don’t wince: argan oil is extracted from the nuts collected from their droppings.
6. China: Dried rosebuds
Did you know that roses were first grown in China and Persia 5,000 years ago? Their dried buds are still used in Chinese medicine for helping with the liver and blood circulation. If you bring them back to the West, you can perfume tea with them or embellish a Champagne glass or dessert.
7. England: Worcestershire sauce
Despite its unpronounceable name, Worcestershire sauce is a must for a good steak tartare or Bloody Mary — an emblematic English ingredient.
8. Madagascar: Vanilla
Madagascar is home to the world’s vastest vanilla production. Did you know you can check the vanilla bean’s freshness from its pliability? A fresh vanilla bean can be folded without tearing.
9. Japan: Dried umeboshi plums
Excellent for health, umeboshi also enjoy a long shelf life. Even though few outside Japan love these fruits, umeboshi are a souvenir that could be particularly appreciated by anyone battling a hangover.
10. Canada: Maple Syrup
From breakfast to dinner, maple syrup accompanies many Quebec and Canadian dishes throughout the day. In fact, the red maple leaf is a true symbol of the country and found on the national flag, called the “Maple Leaf Flag.”
11. Mexico: Chipotle
A true hero of Tex-Mex cuisine, jalapeños are one of Mexico’s most widely used peppers. From this popular pepper, we can prepare chipotle—dried, smoked jalapeños that are easier to store and take home or give as gifts.
12. Turkey: Saffron
With its incomparable fragrance and aroma, just two stigmas (delicate parts inside the flowers) of this spice are enough to transform a plain dish into a complex, delicately powerful creation. Saffron also keeps very well in an airtight box stored in a cool, dry place.
13. Spain: Turrón
Almonds, honey, sugar, and a little egg white—this is a souvenir sure to please loved ones after your return from Spain. There are different varieties depending on the region of production, with the turrón varieties from Jijona and Alicante being among the most popular.
14. Vietnam: Tea
A tradition and true art of living that dates back more than 3,000 years, tea culture in Vietnam is an integral part of the country. Tea varieties depend on the processing of the leaves. Green tea is the most consumed, but you’ll also find black or Oolong varieties.
15. Argentina: Chimichurri
In Argentina, every family has a jar or bottle of chimichurri in their fridge, and it’s often homemade. Perfect for spicing up grilled meats or accompanying salads and empanadas, this condiment is also sold ready-made.
16. India: Garam Masala
It’s impossible to visit India without passing in front of a market. And if there’s one product you just have to bring back from your trip, it’s garam masala, a rich blend of spices used in all sorts of preparations.
17. Portugal: Canned fish
Canneries are an essential part of any visit to Portugal. It’s clearly impossible to resist the urge to enter one of these shops with floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with hundreds of colorful boxes. What’s more, this is both an economical souvenir and one that’s very easy to store in a suitcase.