We all know what it is:
The holiday season is upcoming, and finding presents for everybody is not so easy. In case you need help, here are fifteen totally biased present ideas from Angel, the French guy from Dijon, Burgundy (that’s me). Because who wouldn’t like to receive a can of snails? :bowtie:
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You can also visit my sweet colleague Annick at Selfrench for 15 adorable French-style present ideas for her.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you are crazy enough to follow my recommendations, I might get rewarded by the gods of the internet. :money_with_wings:
So what can you gift to this male relative of yours, whom you know has a thing for French stuff?
France travel and culture
#1 This Travel Guide
At the risk of starting with the obvious, I’d recommend a travel guide.
Maybe this is just the incentive that your friend needs to book a plane ticket and live an adventure in our beautiful country.
#2 This absolute concentrate of French fitness.
In case you don’t know it yet, the most French of all sports is pétanque. To sum it up, two teams try to throw big metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball, known as “cochonet” (“piglet”).
It requires so much energy that your grandfather can play, even if he’s over eighty. The only requirement really is that you need to have a flat ground, for obvious reasons.
Actually, the inhabitants of some very non-flat villages in France felt discriminated and created these square balls in order to be able to play too. ;)
Wine, wine, wine and some more wine.
#3 French Wine knowledge
Priority to the priorities: if your friend doesn’t know everything about French wine yet, gift him this book.
:wine_glass: :orange_book: :wine_glass:
#4 Actual French wine
If your friend does know everything about French wine already, he will be thrilled to receive a bottle of Chassagne Montrachet, Corton Charlemagne or Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru. If you have no idea what those are, please refer to present idea #3 ;)
Note: those are from Burgundy, where we make the best wine in the world. This is non-negotiable.
#5 A much needed wine decanter.
A great present I gifted to my father, back when he didn’t have over twenty of them yet.
As you can learn in any good wine book, some French wine, particularly if it’s old, cannot be served directly in the bottle, as it needs to sit in a decanter for some time before it can be drunk. This means that your friend won’t be able to brag about serving expensive wine by showing off the bottle. He will, however, be able to brag about knowing his shit around wine and showing off his beautiful decanter. Plus, in case he suspects that his guests aren’t wine expert, he will totally be able serve any kind of red wine in the decanter, and it will automatically look super fancy.
#6 No fail corkscrew.
In case you don’t know it yet, real wine comes in a real bottle with a real cork made of… cork. Any other type of cap or closing system will be thrown upon. However, this provides some serious potential for embarrassment around the opening. Indeed, the virility of the (typically male) wine opener will be seriously challenged if he doesn’t manage to open it with ease and mastery - which, by the way, becomes harder and harder as the wine grows older.
Save him the embarrassment by gifting him this no-fail corkscrew.
Cheese and other absolutely necessary items
#7 French cheese discovery set
You will be as surprised as I was to discover that it is actually possible to gift French Cheese, even in the US. These cheese samples come in an insulated cooler and are imported from France.
I wish they had a set of best Burgundy cheese but on second thought, our most famous cheese is Epoisses, and there’s a point to be made that it might not be sexy enough to export. ;)
#8 A cheese plate.
Yes because you serve cheese on a special plate. With a special knife. Also non-negotiable.
Here all the necessary gear.
#9 A fondue set
Fondue is a type of French dish which name means “melted”. The cheese fondue is the most famous. You melt cheese together with some white wine in a special pot which you put in the center of the table, on a heating system. Then your guests use the special forks to dive pieces of bread in the cheese before eating them. Yummy.
Additional bonus: once you have the necessary equipment, you will be able to prepare every other type of fondue, and there are many, ranging from totally traditional to insanely creative. The favourite fondue of the burgundy guy is wine + meat fondue : cook red wine with spices in the pot, and use the forks to dive cubes of beef meat in it. Way to impress your friends.
More French Delicacies
#10 French sausage and pork specialties
This is a big no-no for vegetarians and for anyone who would not want to eat pork for any reason, but if your French loving friend doesn’t fall into these categories, you should definitely consider gifting them this discovery basket.
I have to confess that each week during my weekly shopping I zoom around my local grocery store here in Berlin, in search for any item which would remotely resemble a French sausage. Because yes, the Germans know how to make sausages, but they don’t know how to make *our* sausages. And ours are the best. Also non-negotiable.
#11 Thé Mariage frères
The French aren’t well known for their tea. They should though, because the teas produced by the Mariage Frères company since 1846 are amongst the best in the world.
If you know someone who likes French and tea (just like me), this is the perfect gift.
#12 Dijon Mustard:
I’m from Dijon so this list would feel utterly incomplete if it wouldn’t contain some of the best mustard in the world: the Dijon mustard. By the way, did you know that it comes in many different flavours? No? Does your French loving friend know it, at least? Also not? Well help him catch up by giving them this discovery set.
#13 Montélimar Nougat
Ok, not from Burgundy but really tasty. Plus if you really want to gift delicacies which aren’t cheese or sausage or mustard, I can understand that.
#14 Testicles. Yes.
Among non-recommendable French sweets, we have the “coucougnettes”, which totally translate as “testicles”.
Sebastian Marx recently made a video about how the French obsess with testicles, and I have to confess that he is totally right, since we have testicle sweets and also pope testicles jam.
Why do we have these unexpected delicacies? To understand it you need to know a little bit of French trivia. In the fourteenth century, the popes used to resided in Avignon (now in France) rather than in Rome. A legend says that during this time, a woman, Jeanne, had managed to get elected as a pope. In order to prevent such an event from reoccurring, the French got into the habit of checking for the presence of conforming genitalia before allowing the pope elect to actually become pope. And since everything is a pretext to create or rename some food, that’s how we still have those sweets today. “Couilles du pape” (“pope balls”) now refers to a variety of figs which grow in this area, and we make jam out of them.
#15 A can of worms snails
Are you still wondering if we do eat snails? The answer is yes, we do, and you can do it too.
In doubt, gift it to someone you dislike. :innocent:
That’s it! 15 awesome ideas which I am sure got you one step closer to finishing your Christmas shopping.
If you are in search for more (serious) present ideas, visit my sweet colleague Annick at Selfrench for 15 adorable French-style present ideas for her.
If you liked this article, I definitely recommend to you 27 amazing things you’ll be able to do when your French is fluent