Christmas is just around the corner, once again! This year I am so disorganised having just completed my studies after two intense years...so have to get planning. Are you organised? Do you need some inspiration? Here are some of my favourite french influenced pantry staples, which make great Christmas gifts...
I am a little biased when it comes to some French brands/condiments, not just because they remind me of time with my French grandmother but also because unlike other brands, they are not sweetened. I have found that often in Australia, similar products are too sweet. I absolutely love the Maille range, some of which are available in Australian supermarkets or specialty shops (Note this post is not sponsored). If you are based in Sydney and Melbourne Maille has opened its own stores.
These jars of happiness contain small sour and crunchy gherkins. They are very tart and versatile. As a kid when hiking or on family picnics, they were served in pieces of baguettes, butter, ham or saucisson (salami) and pieces of cornichons (kor-nee-shon). Cornichons are also used in steak tartare sauce, on cheese and charcuteries (cold meats) platters.
Note: If you can't obtain the Maille brand you can try others but they will most likely be sweeter but still do the job - Try the Essential Ingredient store , Try Victoria Market french cheese shop in Melbourne.
2. Velours Balsamique:
Have just recently been introduced to this amazing balsamic concoction. It is slightly sweet as they use cooked grape and is syrup or glaze consistency. We have fallen in love with this bottle of goodness. You can just drizzle it over meats and salads or little toast squares with some olive oil. I've yet to find this one in Australian supermarkets but the Maille store stocks it and can be ordered online or alternatively you can try Amazon.com
When it comes to mustards there are plenty to choose from, whole grain, Dijon etc.. In the Travelling Frenchies pantry you will always find the Dijon Original Mustard as we use it in our delicious vinaigrette (salad dressing)... and personally can't live without dressing on my salads.
Alternatively at the luxe end of Mustards why not try Maille's Black Truffle and Chablis Mustard (Maille if you are reading this, happy to test this one.... on my wishlist).
I was introduced to Griottines (morello cherries in kirsch) by a dear friend and always have some on hand in the fridge. They make great gifts, which I combine with a bottle of bubbly. I serve my guests with either a glass of champagne (or white wine) and a cherry dropped into the glass. The jars can be bought online but have found them in specialty shops too. (If you are in Melbourne try Key Ingredients or La Parisienne Pates or try Amazon.com.
These little jars are produced in a town called Fougerolles in the Bourgundy-Franche-Compte region of France. If you are travelling in the region why not visit the Grandes Distilleries Peureux.
A french themed hamper or gift set would be incomplete without a sweet treat! Why not include a gift box of macarons, try the salted caramel variety (caramel au fleur de sel)... delicious and easier to source than some of the above products.... If in Melbourne why not try La Belle Miette.
Hope you find these options helpful in planning for your Christmas gifts or just to simply add to your own pantry.
If all else fails or you are short on time, you can source online companies that will create a whole Christmas hamper for you. In Australia, why not try ordering through In My French Hamper or Hamper Pamper.
What are you favourite items on the list?