Five places in Europe where you can bring home some of the magic!
Posted by Cindy Clarke
Posted in: Travel Tips
Tags: Europe, France, Belgium
Traveling is magic, inspiring lifelong memories of the experiences you have as you explore new destinations. If you want to bring home a piece of the place where you leave a piece of your heart, it can be helpful to know what to find, where. Let Tauck help you choose the best gifts from Europe for you and your loved ones.
IF IT'S BELGIUM, IT MUST BE CHOCOLATE.
Belgians are so serious about the quality of their chocolates that they recently asked the government for copyright protection, a discerning privilege commonly awarded to books, French wines and champagnes, and even Camembert cheese. Their skilled master chefs, not the industry’s automated chocolate machines, devise by hand and discriminating taste new fillings and confectionaries that remain unrivaled anywhere. So while you are wandering in one of the lovely squares that grace the fair cities of Brussels or Antwerp, stop for a moment to indulge in authentic Belgian chocolate, remembering to bring some home to savor when that craving for Belgium hits!
WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS, THINK OF AMALFI!
Once you’ve experienced the staggering scenic beauty of the Amalfi Coast, it’s difficult to leave it behind. Towns like Amalfi, Sorrento and Positano are tucked like coy smiles along beachfront inlets, their narrow streets teeming with the local flavors and the intense fragrance of … lemons! In fact, lemons grow lush and luscious here, twice the size of lemons found anywhere else, thanks to the temperate climate and the rich, although cliff-steep, soil. Take home some of this lemony life in soaps, perfumed with citrus, in candies, tart and tasty, and in a drink called limoncello that brings that heady feeling you get in Amalfi home with you! If fruit is not your thing, pick up some of Amalfi’s handmade paper; it’s like holding a piece of history that dates back to medieval times and then being able to write your own treasured legacy on it!
BRING HOME A GREEK GOD... FROM LIPARI
The largest of the Aeolian Islands, red-rocked Lipari in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea may be off the radar for most visitors but Tauck’s Med cruise finds an array of treasures in its volcanic landscapes. Aeolus, the god of wind, is king on this island. You can find his image, along with his fellow gods and goddesses, sculpted in miniature Greek theater masks crafted by a Liparian gent who still makes them by hand in his shop along the Corso Vittoria. Lipari, just 13 square miles, produces capers, sleek black obsidian jewelry, pumice – and sweet Malvasia wine as economic mainstays – each easily packaged to bring back with you after your visit.
IT'S CORK, KNIVES AND OLIVEWOOD SPOONS IN BONIFACIO
For centuries the walled town of Bonifacio on Napoleon’s birth island of Corsica protected itself from invaders, incessant in their attempts to capture this cliff-top fortress, using cannons and guns to stop them in their tracks. Handcrafted Corsican knives, works of art really, are the weapons – and souvenirs – of choice today. Shops display them along with the island’s distinctive cork and olivewood crafts – think salad tongs, serving spoons and cutting boards that don’t get all smelly or sticky after use – red coral jewelry, lovely to behold and wear, and slabs of locally cured prosciutto that gamely hang on high in boutique grocery stores to tempt passers-by.
IN PARIS IT'S MACARONS AND IN PROVENCE IT'S LAVENDER, OLIVE OIL... AND CALLISONS
Visiting Paris is sweet all by itself, but stop in at a pastry shop for a taste of a real French macaron and you’ll experience heaven in a little pastel-colored sandwich cookie. The south of France is intoxicating, offering a sensory palette of images that attracted some of the world’s most famous painters to its doors. You can bring home a print or two in places immortalized on canvas and in your mind’s eye after you’ve been there yourself, recreate the scents that invariably waft by out of shopkeeper’s doors and from fields painted purple by flowering blooms by picking up some lavender Marseille soap, season your salads or baguettes with the aromatic olive oils produced here or indulge in their sweet almond, fruited marzipan candy called callisons – a real treat handmade in Aix-en-Provence.