Traveling abroad is always the occasion to get a few things that will remind us of our trip after we are back home. Most times, they are edible things that will last a couple of weeks and sometimes it could be something such as a loaf of bread and fresh pastries from a local bakery picked up right before heading to the airport. Those are perfect to have the next day as a mini extension to our holiday time.
A trip to France is always the occasion to fill the suitcase with delicious things. I sometimes even get a variety of cheeses and charcuterie vacuum-packed but we skipped it on this occasion since we were staying at a hotel for the last bit of the trip. Here is a selection of what we brought back from la Belle France this time:
2 - Ingredients for baking: here, grated organic coconut and praline. If we are shopping together in a French supermarket and you wonder where I have gone, you can be sure to find me in the baking goods aisle. I really like the variety that can be found there. I get the bag of praline almost every time (I once even got pink praline, so delicious and pretty on chouquettes and mini brioches!) and this time, I also got the grated coconut. I am not sure what I will make with it just yet but ideas are starting to pop in my head.
3 - Coquillettes pasta. They pretty much look just like macaroni but coquillettes are coquillettes. I know I could get any pasta here but I think me buying this little box and bringing it back all the way to Ireland is pure nostalgia. Oh the taste of coquillettes with butter, ham and grated cheese (gruyère for me) melting on it!
4 - I am already quite familiar with the brand St Michel and its delicious variety of biscuits but when in Nantes, I found an Atelier St Michel shop with even more things, including little cakes and pastries. I chose a box of those madeleines covered with chocolate and praline and let's just say that once home, they did not last very long. I feel like a lot of the things on offer in the shop would make a perfect gift as part of a food hamper.
5 - A selection of chocolates from Vincent Guerlais. This is becoming an obligatory stop when In Nantes. Not pictured here are some wonderful macarons that were eaten as soon as we left the shop. We got some of the usuals: a box of babies beurre (if you know Petit Beurre biscuits, those are his chocolate interpretation) and a chocolate bar. E. was intrigued by the 'tablette à partager' (chocolate bar to share) so we added it to our purchases. I am so glad he wanted to try this because it was unbelievably good! Imagine layers of everything that is delicious in chocolate: finely chopped nuts, salted caramel, praline etc. Pure chocolate heaven!
6 - Fleur de sel from Noirmoutier. Because when in Vendée, which is where I am from, get the nicest salt you can find in the region and bring it back home to flavour a lot of delicious meals (and desserts too!). I did not go to a fancy specialty shop, I could find this little bag in our local supermarket (or hypermarket as they say there).
Not pictured here is a whole pile of books which is something I often stock up on when in France. Books there are published in pocket size versions and I find that quite handy to carry around, as well as catching up on French literature, contemporary and classics.
I also buy my skincare in France: first of all, because it is really cheaper than in Ireland; second of all, because I cannot find a lot of those products here. I do not go into details about those here because let's face it, this is not a beauty blog and I am not an expert.