virtuoso communities Our Favorite Souvenirs for Food and Wine Lovers

Our Favorite Souvenirs for Food and Wine Lovers

The good stuff: Brunello di Montalcino, an Italian red wine grown in the small Tuscan town of Montalcino. 
The good stuff: Brunello di Montalcino, an Italian red wine grown in the small Tuscan town of Montalcino. 
Photo by InnaFelker/Getty Images 
These culinary travel keepsakes recall tasty memories of trips past.

The joy of culinary travel is exploring a new destination through its food and drink. But that tasteful immersion doesn’t have to stop when your trip ends: These ten popular food souvenirs pack well in a carry-on (or can easily be shipped home) and will help you bring a little global flavor into your kitchen. Bonus: They all make great travel gifts for family, friends, and colleagues as well.

Photo by Nestle 

Kit Kats from Japan

This chocolate-coated wafer candy may have originated in the U.S., but in Japan, Kit Kat infatuation is next level. Hundreds of flavor iterations have hit the market in the past 20-some years, from green tea to purple sweet potato. Head to any Japanese department store or a dedicated KitKat Chocolatory in Tokyo to pick up a few packs.
Photo by Richard Villalonun/Getty Images

Dijon Mustard from France

Of course, there’s the wine, the croissants, and the macarons, but don’t forget about Dijon mustard, a strong and spicy condiment with roots that run deep in Burgundy. Varieties include tarragon, basil, and honey and balsamic; and while much of Dijon mustard today is produced outside of France, there’s still some to be found in Beune at La Moutarderie Edmond Fallot, in operation since 1840.  
A tea plantation in central Sri Lanka.
A tea plantation in central Sri Lanka.
Photo by nevarapp/Getty Images

Tea from Sri Lanka

The island nation of Sri Lanka is becoming well known for its pristine, southern beaches, and inland, its lush and hilly central produces some of the world’s finest teas. Your travel advisor can arrange an itinerary to Sri Lanka that can be filled with cooking classes and tea plantation tours, where you can purchase an array of loose-leaf varieties.

Piri-Piri Sauce from Portugal

Stroll through any food market, gift shop, or grocery store in Portugal and you’ll likely see shelves and tabletops blanketed with bottles of this fiery red sauce made from chilies, lemon, and oil. Spoon it on eggs, chicken, or toast topped with another Portuguese staple – sardines. (If you run out once you’re back home, you can easily find more online.)
Photo by YinYang/Getty Images

Fresh Pineapple from Hawaii

Hawaii’s warm climate makes for comfortable growing conditions for all kinds of fruits and vegetables, perhaps none more iconic than pineapple. The Dole Plantation on Oahu feels like a theme park dedicated completely to the fruit, where travelers can purchase boxes of pineapple that can be carried on their flights or shipped back home.
Cape Town essentials: beaches, boutiques, and biltong. 
Cape Town essentials: beaches, boutiques, and biltong. 
Photo by Spooh/Getty Images

Biltong from South Africa

This satisfyingly chewy and salty snack originated as a method of preservation among Afrikaners. It’s made from cured beef – think of it like beef jerky – and can be snacked on solo or shaved finely over soup, salads, and veggies. It’s ubiquitous: Find it at artisanal boutiques in Cape Town, delis in the Stellenbosch wine region, or in airport souvenir shops.   
Photo by Noi Sirius

Licorice from Iceland

Icelanders love their licorice, and travelers will find the strong flavor incorporated into everything from craft cocktails to hand-harvested sea salt. It’s especially tasty when combined with chocolate – perhaps best showcased in an Eitt Sett chocolate bar. Find the bars in souvenir shops and gas stations throughout the country.
Photo by Erik Skov/Getty Images

Brunello di Montalcino from Italy

Italy is synonymous with elegant wine, and it’s hard to go wrong when bringing home any blend from the Tuscany region. One popular pick: Brunello de Montalcino, an earthy red made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes grown on the slopes of Montalcino, a picturesque town approximately 20 miles south of Siena. Your Virtuoso travel advisor can add winery visits to taste the blend to an Italian culinary adventure.
A honey farm on New Zealand’s North Island. 
A honey farm on New Zealand’s North Island. 
Photo by CreativeNature_NL/Getty Images

Manuka Honey from New Zealand

This “superfood” honey is only produced in New Zealand from the country’s native manuka plant, known for its health-boosting benefits. You can buy the honey around the world, but the best way to ensure its authenticity is to buy jars while in New Zealand – plus you can visit honey farms such as the North Island’s Bay of Islands Honey Shop while you’re at it.    
Photo by Goldfinch4ever/Getty Images

Ras El Hanout Spice Mix from Morocco

Its name means “head of shop” or “top shelf,” and this staple of kitchens in Morocco is said to have been created by North African spice dealers using up to 50 individual spices. Pick some up in a Moroccan spice market or in the medina of Marrakech, and use it at home to perk up lamb, roasted chicken, or traditional Moroccan chicken b’stilla (pie).

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