David Lebovitz’s Favorite Edible French Souvenirs

Extra room in your new Longchamp bag? American chef and author David Lebovitz, who lives in Paris, recommends some of his favorite edible souvenirs to stock your larder or give as gifts.

And though these goodies hail from different regions in France, they typically are found in Paris food shops at affordable prices (check any Monoprix grocery store), evoking a taste of the country long after you arrive home.

Six delicacies to bring back to your pantry for a taste of France:

> Chocolate: Lyon

Anything from the bean-to-bar chocolate maker Bernachon in Lyon is worth the two-hour train ride from Paris.

(L-R) Chocolate, fleur de sel, prunes, espellette pepper, local honey, dijon mustard (Photograph by Becky Hale and Mark Thiessen/NGS)
(Clockwise) Chocolate, fleur de sel, espellette pepper, Dijon mustard, local buckwheat flower honey, prunes from Agen  (Photograph by Becky Hale and Mark Thiessen/NGS)

> Fleur de Sel: Brittany

Standard in French kitchens, this flaky salt is formed by the sea and sun, and hand-harvested from marshes. My favorite: Terre Exotique’s Fleur de Sel de Île de Ré.

> Prunes: Agen

Nothing like grandma’s, these partially dried prunes from Gascony are “deeply chocolaty in flavor,” says Lebovitz.

> Buckwheat Flower Honey: Brittany

Sample varieties of this golden treat at local markets. Brittany’s musky, buckwheat flower honey is the crown jewel.

> Espelette Pepper: Espelette

Ground from chili peppers grown in the Basque countryside, these mild, fragrant flakes enhance most dishes. Try Albert Ménès Piment d’Espelette.

> Dijon Mustard: Beaune

Not all Dijon mustards are made with seeds from France. Artisanal Edmond Fallot’s Burgundy mustard always is.

This piece by Susan O’Keefe, manager of content development for National Geographic Expeditions, appeared in the November 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. Follow Susan on Twitter @sokeefetrav.

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  1. Thebooktrail
    February 21, 2016, 4:57 pm

    Has anyone else had chestnut or rose jam from France? They’re some of the nicest jams I’ve ever had. The place to go is one of the many cafes in the Marais district where they serve pancakes with chestnut jam on them and a mug of cider and I swear there is nothing quite like it! Rose jam is sold in Monoprix and is lovely on a fresh baguette. My mouth is so watering right now. We’ve got a lot of books where food features in them on the booktrail so we always have to sample them! haha

  2. Epices Karina
    January 25, 2016, 7:01 pm

    Next Time you come in France … Just try the real French spice … Biguine Provençale ….. Becs sucrés ….. Espelettine….

  3. Adriana
    January 22, 2016, 7:17 pm

    On our recent trip we brought back Walnut Oil, Pâté, Duck Rillettes and Langues D’Abeilles, honey walnut cookies from Dordogne.

  4. Janice Chung
    Toronto and Paris
    January 22, 2016, 1:16 pm

    Oddly enough, I JUST bought a Kalouga chocolate bar by Bernachon at the store David wrote about, A l’Etoile d’Or in Montmartre, Paris. Can’t wait to try it. And meeting Denise Acabo was a highlight!