Love, friendship and a bit of teasing...
Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and love is in the air. France simply oozes romance: cue the accordion music and picture yourself strolling along the Seine with the love of your life. Ah....
While it is a lovely idea to have a day dedicated to declaring your feelings to those you love, it also makes finding the right gift a bit daunting. Are roses too cliché? (We know they are too expensive on this particular day!). Something French will surely convey the depth of your affection, but aren't most things waiting on a container somewhere in the ocean?
Mais oui, these have been difficult times, but you are in luck - our limited edition gift boxes, filled with unique, authentic French treasures, will convey just how special that person is in your life.
Relationships are complicated. Parent-child, spouses, friends, siblings, co-workers ... every relationship has its own dynamics, and each is worth celebrating. I can't think of a more fitting gift basket than a Normandy/Brittany box. Every element was carefully chosen. Let me explain ...
Amour - French Kiss
This movie made us all want to move to France, fall in love and make wine, non? If you haven't seen it, or it has been a while, watch it this February! And to keep you in this dream-state all year long, take this adorable tote with you when you are less-than-excited to run your weekly errands. The straps are lined with hearts, and it melts my heart to think of either the Eiffel Tower or Mont St Michel. (Please note, it's the tote bag and NOT the film in the box!)
The Normandy-Brittany "Taquinage"
Put the "Wonder of the Western World" in the water between two regions and there is bound to be a bit of competition for it! The Normands and the Bretons have had a healthy rivalry for centuries. If you are ever at a loss for conversation topics around either of them, simply mention the other, and enjoy the fireworks that follow. Much like Minnesota-Iowa jokes, it's all in good fun (mostly). The truth is that both regions are amazing in their own right, and each deserves a tour. (The other truth is that Mont St Michel belongs to Normandy)
This tin box of salted caramels makes me smile every time I see it, and it was the first thing I chose for the box. Whenever you and your significant other are having a somewhat familiar debate, take it out and offer them a caramel. They will be chewing for a while, and you will be able to make your point uninterrupted!
The company "Heula" seems to love to poke fun at Normandy as much as the Bretons do. I love this bookmark displaying the many different kinds of essential footwear necessary in Normandy!
Their designs amuse and delight, and I plan to carry their products in each of my Normandy-themed gift boxes, changing out the items each time. I have my own collection started already!
The Bretons - a little sweet, a little salty
It seems that every French person I know has a Breton or Bretonne in their circle, and if you are lucky, you do too. They are revered, and let's admit it, a bit feared. Like the sea, they are strong in character. One seldom wins an argument with a Breton(ne), but on the other hand, you know you have a friend for life!
I chose two seafood spreads for the basket - a tuna mousse with lemon, and a sardine spread. Both are delicious and unlike anything I have found in the US. To balance out the saltiness of this apéro, finish your meal with some dark chocolate with caramel. Brittany will be calling your name!
Amitié - Normandy-American Style
Americans who visit Normandy are welcomed with open arms. The Normands will never forget the ultimate sacrifice those soldiers made for their freedom, and Americans feel that deep sense of gratitude and lasting friendship here.
In homage to this friendship, Americans seem to love wearing French fashion. In the small town of Saint James, located near Mont St Michel, there is a company called Saint James that has been making iconic blue and white stripes since 1889. Why blue and white stripes? The company began by outfitting the sailors and determined that If a sailor fell overboard, he would be easier to see in the water! While this may not be a concern for you, you will definitely feel "French chic" in this unisex, super soft cotton scarf that is perfect for every season. Choose blue with white stripes or white with blue stripes (unlike a zebra, there really is a difference!)
Oh la Vache!
If you have been following me for a while, you no doubt know about my obsession with Normandy cows. And I am not alone. VanLuc is a talented, creative artist that lives in Arromanches-les-Bains and has an enormous collection of paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces, all based on the Normandy cow. I have been a huge fan for years, and caught up with him in his new studio this fall. (Look for a feature about him later this spring). All of his pieces are one-of-a-kind, and it is almost impossible to choose between them. Sorry. That is what you have to do when you purchase your box! And what makes it an extra special gift. No one else will have the painting you choose. I brought back 16 of them, and sadly only 5 remain. (They were also in the holiday boxes at my Christmas market)
These unique gift boxes will go quickly, and as I said, there is only one of each painting (6" square on metal with adhesive to hang or to display in a stand).
It's time to choose:
Deluxe Gift Box with a scarf (please indicate color + choose painting)
Gift Box without a scarf (choose painting)
Check back this spring for new gift boxes for all types of occasions!
Wishing you lots of love and friendship, and maybe a little harmless teasing!