What I Brought Back.

July 14, 2011

I don't usually do very much shopping when we travel (I knock out more than my fair share when we are at home....husband, please refrain from commenting!).  I hate lugging stuff around, some of it inevitably breaks or gets damaged somehow, you can buy most everything on the internet these days, there isn't a lot of alone time to get any quality shopping time in....  But there are always a couple of things I can't seem to leave without.  Here are a few that I brought back with me this time.

Linen Towel.  I'm not usually in the know about fashion things ahead of time, but I am here to tell you that the women in the Côte d'Azur do not use ordinary beach towels.  No siree.  They carry beautiful, thin linen ones that they use as a wrap or sarong, or tucked neatly under their arm.  I am a convert.  I hate the bulkiness of regular beach towels, don't you?  Plus you can use these as a picnic throw, a nursing cover-up, tablecloth, the possibilities are endless.

La Mia Cucina in Citta.  I was finally, finally able to meet up with the lovely Erin.  This was like 2 years in the making, no exaggeration.  More on that later, but she did tell me I absolutely needed this cookbook.  No matter it is in Italian.  I may not be anywhere near fluent, but what I do know in the language is food (plus I live with a fluent Italian, so he can do translating as necessary).  I am sooooo excited about this book.  It has beautiful photos and recipes for all the things I love to eat.

Tomato Press.  I have been coveting one of these for years.  True, Williams-Sonoma has been selling them for awhile, but I knew by looking at them that they were the presses you can find in any ordinary Italian housewares shop (think: Ace Hardware) and it was the principle of the matter.  I wanted one from Italy.  And this trip, I got one.

Latte per il Corpo.  Again, I know you can now buy Santa Maria Novella products in the U.S. (I think they have stores in L.A. and New York).  But I love going to the "pharmacia" and "museo" in Florence.  It is really worth a stop.  Gorgeous place, gorgeous products, intoxicating scents.  Really, go there if you get the chance.  I picked up a couple of old favorites and some new ones too, like this Latte per il Corpo (Body Milk).  I am in love with the beautiful bottle.

Parmigiano Reggiano.  We buy cheese, without a doubt, every time we travel (in Europe anyway).  In Italy, we always bring back parmigiano reggiano.  We get the super aged stuff (3 years) and use it throughout the year.  I really think it tastes better than anything you can get here.  Last year we went a little bonkers and brought back 10+ kilos (which I think is over 22 pounds).  That was a little excessive.  This year we brought back a much more modest amount.

Cantucci.  (Or almond biscotti, but that name doesn't do them justice.)  Italians aren't known for their desserts (except, of course, gelato).  But what I appreciate about their sweets is that they aren't "sugar bombs," as Melanie pointed out.  (Making her recipe for upside-down apricot cake/crostata today, by the way.....)  These cookies are served all over Tuscany, usually with a glass of Vin Santo (for dipping!) at the conclusion of a meal.  I adore them.  I usually wouldn't bring this sort of thing back, but we met a really nice woman in Lucca whose family makes them and I went ahead and bought a few bags.  And yay!  They didn't get crushed thanks to my most excellent packing skills.  ;-)
{not my espadrilles, nor my legs....these belong to Alexa Chung}
Espadrilles.  I couldn't get over how many people really wear espadrilles in the South of France.  It's sort of a cliche I suppose, but old women, men, kids, they all do!  I had to pick up a pair of them in wedge form because I'm a wedge kind of girl.  Had to.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse.  Ok, I admit I may have looked up GP's list of French pharmacy products when I was over there.  I bought a few of her recommendations, but this is my favorite.  It is a non-greasy body oil that is supposed to be used for all sorts of things, but I just like the way it smells and the slight sheen it gives my skin.  I never tan anymore, but I did get some sun over there and this makes a tan look quite nice, I might add.  ;-)

What do you bring back from your trips?  Anything special?


  1. Love it! I may have to borrow your tomato grinder soon - we have a lot coming out of the garden! Also, those cantucci are divine. I have been snacking on them with my morning coffee - the perfect combo!

  2. I love this purchases, I am a wedge girl myself and a parmigiano reggiano one too.

  3. Ah, such nice travel mementos. What did the kiddos get?

    I would have gotten the linen towel and the espadrilles too. And a fragrance. I like that idea.


  4. Ahh, the cheese. On our last trip to Italy, S and I had some parmigiano reggiano that brought tears to my eyes. Miss Italy so much.

  5. When we travel abroad I like to buy a destination fragrance. That way when I'm back at home and wear it, I'm reminded of the magical country where it was purchased.

  6. I love the linen towel idea! I just saw a sarong on Toast that might suffice until I get over to France.

    I've always wanted to have a pair of custom Italian shoes made while on a trip. Next time maybe...

    I did bring home 20lbs of soap though. (And some unusual pastas, Italian underwear, cookies, English tea, etc.) Gah!

  7. Welcome back Jora! Your travels inspire me. I'm quickly learning that trips with baby/kids are well worth enduring the cramped plane seats, inopportune wet diapers and omnipresent residual cereal crumbs.

  8. So you're telling me a need a linen towel for Hawaii in two weeks.

    I've just spent 1/2 hour trying to find something similar online. Is it like a Turkish towel, sort of? Looks kind of like it. Now I will obsess about this until I have it.

    Also, they sell Nuxe at Mistral in Solana Beach on Cedros, in case you run out. :)

  9. Kristina (and anyone else looking) - have you seen this etsy shop?


    They look similar - I just picked up a few!


  10. LOVE love the linen towel idea Jora!! And thanks Katie for the etsy link! It's a trend I'll def be hopping on board with. Glad to hear you guys had an amazing trip!

  11. this is such a sophisticated list compared to my shopping here in uk. lol

    i've seen them with the linen towels and can't work out how they actually dry off, doesn't seem practical. although i'm all for a non-bulky towel.

    i would buy the cheese too!

  12. katie/kristina/kim (et al.)....yes, the towel is similar to the ones in that etsy shop. Deck Towel also sells some beautiful ones that are bigger. I LOVE mine and highly recommend it!!

    and yes, i brought about 20 lbs. of French soap back too! and other good things that i didn't take the time to list (and photograph) :-)

  13. There's so much good stuff here, I'm almost speechless.


    But until then, I'll just have to incorporate their cool & classy vibe... via the linen... the biscotti... the cheese... the espradrilles...

  14. p.s.
    ...wish their was a "pin all" button :).

  15. Welcome back and love those Italian goodies.

  16. Excellent pile of stuff! Now I don't feel weird for lugging back a big wedge of parm from Eataly. Seems it is just something one does ;) Love the towel tip (will it work on the beaches of SD??) and I agree that those espadrilles will always work. So flattering.

  17. mm yes i am on board with the linen towel trend too. so versatile. yours is lovely.

  18. jora,

    every moment i like you more and more. i love that linen towel! love it. i also was converted to espadrilles in spain many years ago and try to wear them out and never buy them here. and the luxe oil is one of my favs. the beachy smell is the best!! you are awesome and now i can't WAIT to go down south.


  19. After reading some nice stuff in your article I really feel speechless, because it is quit pretty article On Linen Sarongs. Beside this it is also a long lasting article. Thanks for giving me such type of useful information..


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...