It’s that time again! Time to buy presents: presents that reflect their loves (France?) and their interests (food?). If you’re shopping for someone who falls under those categories, we’ve got 17 excellent ideas below for your best French food gifts— all Made in France unless otherwise noted. Bon appétit!
Who doesn’t love a macaron, the world’s most expensive mid-tier cookie? The iconic brand in France is Ladurée, with their famous pea-green bags and boxes. They deliver in the U.S., though macarons are not cheap. Delicious. Not cheap. They have all levels of gift boxes and promotions — this is a 12-macaron set with illustrations on the box of the Mercer Hotel in SoHo (New York, FTR).
BUY IT HERE: Ladurée
Bacanha is a 10-year-old French brand making organic syrups — mostly for cocktails, but also, according to their website, for lattes(?? very specific?) and water(???). Love that packaging! They’re available at a bunch of U.S. retailers, but here’s a tight edit — as a person who likes a good reason to have as many maraschino cherries as possible, I would love the grenadine syrup and endless Shirley Temples.
BUY IT HERE: Bacanha Grenadine Syrup
You can definitely make your own herbes de Provence — basically it’s a mix of Provencal herbs that’s a foundational element of many recipes from that region, generally consisting of things like rosemary, marjoram, fennel, basil, and more. (Here’s a video explaining it.) If you don’t have time for a ~project~, just buy it! Better if you can find the ones made in France, but I don’t know, honestly, how totally necessary it is. This one from Sur la Table earns five stars for being made in France, but loses two for the part-anglophone label on the container.
BUY IT HERE: SUR LA TABLE
Not my thing, but maybe you know someone dying to add a sampler of pâtés to their charcuterie boards? Maybe this one from Dartagnan, with Pâté de Campagne, Mousse Truffée, and Duck Terrine Mousquetaire — or as they put it, a “signature collection containing a trio of our most popular French pâtés, mousses and terrines, each made from D’Artagnan’s exclusive, traditional recipes using artisanal methods with only the finest ingredients”? No antibiotics, no hormones. I’m obsessed with this shop, which, BTW, also offers duck fat by the pail.
BUY IT HERE: Dartagnan
This isn’t my brand, but it is my absolute number-one favorite French food concept: butter with rock salt crystals within it. To underline, this is not simply salted butter — but butter with big hunks of salt inside of it, making it the final-tier-forever best thing to put on popcorn. Next level!! This isn’t my brand, but the closest thing I can find from a retailer operating in the U.S.
Maille is a literally 300-year-old mustard brand, headquartered in Marseille. Who could do it better? The dijon variety is available here and there, but I vote for the Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard — it’s here to make every sandwich you have that much better. This is definitely a supermarket favorite, though the schmancy boutiques are a fun stop in Paris — if you’re looking for a higher-end-looking brand of mustard, maybe consider Pommery? Totally different vibe but very cute labels, if that’s your thing.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
I’ve recommended this book more than any other French cookbook — it’s a visual smorgasbord of French cheese, butters, meats, olives, and everything else. If you know someone who loves France and food and books, there’s absolutely no other choice.
This costs about twice as much in the U.S. as it does in France, but it’s still my favorite sea salt in the world, cultivated in the Camargue salt marshes in southern France. It’s without question the #1 product my family asks me to bring back from France — it’s the one thing here that makes all the other best French food gifts that much better. (Well, maybe not the cheese crackers immediately below, they’re salty enough as it is.)
Michel et Augustin cheese crackers are a fundamental part of my day to day life in France — I get antsy if I don’t have one on hand. Warning: I feel like these bags look like they’re bigger than they are; I’ve never taken more than a day or two to get through one. (I am a barnyard animal, always feeding?? I have no idea.) Note on prices: I’m not sure why L’Azur’s price is so high; you can get three packs for the same price from the retailer. Just including it because I like a lot of the other things they sell. My top pick: all of them! Also the comté! BTW, if you buy them on Amazon, please note all the reviews saying that the crackers were received broken in the bag, but they were still delicious.
If you have a nearby gourmet grocer with a solid cheese selection, I think we must do as the French do and shop for our fine fromages IRL, but if not (and I sympathize, being precisely 100 miles from the nearest Whole Foods): iGourmet will ship all varieties of French cheeses, including 53 different kinds of Brie and other white mold cheese. (Note that they’re not exclusively French, though many are.) Maybe Le Chatelain Camembert, best served with Calvados (Normandy’s famous apple brandy), and which comes with this warning:
While we’re covering the butter family of foods: There’s no more famous maker of butter than Bordier. The French.us website has a wide variety of their flavored butters, including the Vanilla de Madagascar, smoked salt, Espelette chili, and lots more. (Also the regular butter, both demi-sel and un-sel.) All butters are shipped overnight frozen, and can stay frozen for up to four months or can be used pronto, within two weeks. I know this picture sort of looks like Satan’s butter choice (it’s very red??) but it’s tasty.
Sometimes everything’s just easier when everyone does the work for you? Like this gift set from iGourmet (worst name though good selection)? Sixty bucks for 30 ounces of cheese doesn’t sound like the most amazing deal to me, but it’s cheaper than going to France. This set includes Pont L’Eveque, Comte Reserve, Buche de Chevre and Fourme d’Ambert (my personal fave). Loving the fact that the Pont l’Eveque includes this warning: “It does tend to have a strong, pungent aroma that is not for the timid.”
BUY IT HERE: iGourmet
For many of the items on this list, I would say to buy French or not buy it at all — this might be the one exception. Salted caramels are pretty much salted caramels?? And while I have had some extremely good French ones, the ones that weren’t quite as gourmet tasted almost exactly the same. So for this one, I’m going to recommend French/Algerian/American chocolatier Jacques Torres (who’s based in New York) and his nine-piece box. If you really prefer the French-French version, consider these, from La Maison d’Armorine, which come in a wooden, Camembert cheese-style container.
BUY IT HERE: Jacques Torres Chocolates
As a person who loves few things as much as French sausage-y, salami-y things, I cannot recommend this saucisson sec more highly. Stocking stuffer!!
BUY IT HERE: LES TROIS Petits Cochons Saucisson Sec
Mariage Frères is like the French high-end tea maker, with cute little tea shops in the Marais and elsewhere. They don’t ship directly to the U.S., but Bergdorf Goodman has a selection of their teas (see their picks here); maybe English Breakfast (a.k.a. “thé du matin au goût anglais”) is ironically your pick?
BUY IT HERE: Bergdorf Goodman
I feel like La Mère Poulard makes the French equivalents of Walker’s Shortbreads — cookies (sables) more than shortbreads in the case of La Mère Pouland, but very similar. Historical tidbit: La mère Poulard is actually Annette Poulard, who opened an inn on Mont Saint Michel in 1888 with her husband, Victor. She’s most famous for her omelette — I went looking for recipes for it, and found this warning: “You will never be able to recreate the true recipe unless you use a special thick steel pan and a fireplace.” Now we know!