I do! It’s one of my “musts” when I travel anywhere. I enjoy searching for regional faves and “exotic” items that I can bring home to experiment with later. Local supermarkets are also a great place to buy gifts for your family and friends.
In Mexico I bought little tin cans of Herdez salsa, spicy chocolate, real vanilla, dried chili peppers and I marveled at how milk was sold in Tetra Pak containers on the shelf.In Brazil I brought home bright orange dende oil and tiny dried shrimps so I could cook some of the delicious dishes that I ate while I was there, like Moqueca and Bobó de camarão. I was amazed at the mountainous piles of different sized dried shrimps found in the market and once at home, I realized what flavor those dried crustaceans bring to a dish.In France I bought mustard, jams, foie gras, chocolate, le Petit Marseillais bath soap, face cream, pastilles, and gherkin pickles. I fell in love with the local chain Monoprix, a department store that boasted EVERYTHING! Groceries, wine, clothing, books, toiletries, gifts, housewares – you name you could get it at Monoprix. I think I went almost everyday! If you’re in Paris book your stay near a Monoprix, you won’t regret it.In Italy I stuffed my suitcase with Parmigiano Reggiano, local stone ground flour, real San Marzano tomatoes, tartufo, testaroli (a specialty of Lunigiana) dried cicerchia beans and of course, local wines. Whenever I travel to Italy, I always, always save extra space when packing my suitcase because really, I want to bring back ALL THE FOOD.In Germany I grabbed chocolates, lebkuchen, senf, and spices – this trip I purchased a spice that Google translated as dried pink carnations, however, I believe they are cloves, ha! If any fluent Germans are out there reading my blog, can you let me know what Nelken gemahlen means? I appreciate it.I love having these little rituals when I travel, in fact, I have a few more… One is buying a perfume or scented lotion from a place, so that when smell it, I’ll be reminded of my time there. Satsuma Orange Fragrance Oil channels morning walks to the bus stop in Mexico, the hustle and bustle of street traffic, the scent of fresh baked bread and corn tortillas, bumpy cobblestoned streets under my flip flops, juicy pomegranates and fences with sharp bottles at the top to keep out trespassers.
I’m a fan of unisex scents and Acqua dell Elba transports me to the seaside in Italy, fresh air, sunshine and warm rocks flood my mind. Feasting on fritto misto and enjoying a glass of wine make my belly rumble. Sigh. One year I purchased a bottle of Perlier Aromatic Ritual Patchouli and Cardamom Body Cream at a drugstore in Northern Italy to soothe my beach-dry skin and I couldn’t get enough. I’m still addicted to this lovely scent, good thing it’s available on Amazon!
The original Eau de Cologne, Muelhens 4711 is all Germany, I can see the neon sign flashing 4711 as I ascend the steps of the hauptbahnhof in Köln. The clean lemony scent brightening a brisk fall day, the dark cathedral looming in the center square of Köln. Visions of wursts and schweinshaxe and fresh beer on little cardboard coasters bring me back.My newest love is bringing home food magazines, even if I can’t read the language the pictures and lists of ingredients can give me an idea of how to construct the dish. I love to travel for food, so why not bring some of those tastes home with me? I like to see what’s “in” and new, what people are experimenting with and when I get home, I can try my hand at cooking some of the recipes.
Do you have any travel rituals? I’d love to know ❤