2019 Taste of Toulouse Gift Guide
Along with food, working with and supporting local businesses is one of the passions that drives my work at Taste of Toulouse. There are so many reasons to prioritize shopping local over buying from big chain stores, not the least of which is that studies have shown that for every euro spent at a local business vs. a chain store, local businesses return more money back into the local economy through paying a greater share of taxes (I’m looking at you, Amazon…), employing more local residents, spending money at other local businesses (like accountants, graphic designers, and other B2B services), and donating to more local charities.
It’s good to be reminded of that in the frenzy of holiday shopping, when the temptation is to opt for what is fast, easy, and cheap. However, making a little more effort to source local gifts can pay off year-round by supporting the communities that we live in – or like to visit. Plus, you can usually find something more unique and personal at a local business vs. what everyone is buying at a larger store. So, with those things in mind, here’s my roundup of items that I think would make great local gifts from Toulouse.
My favorite Toulouse gifts for 2019
pain au chocolate mug – for the person on your list who needs a little extra “oomph” in the morning
The cheerful coffee mug will make sure their day is off to a correct start (with a chocolatine and NOT a pain au chocolat)! Available online and at several shops in Gaillac.
2. Toulouse en BD – for the person on your list who’s a history buff
The first volume in a French “bande dessiné” series that tells the history of Toulouse from ancient through medieval times (volume 2, which covers modern history, is in the works). Even if they don’t speak French, they can still appreciate the beautiful illustrations – and comic books are a great language-learning tool! Available at local comic book stores in Toulouse or online.
3. Handmade leather minimalist wallet – for the person on your list who’s always rummaging through their wallet
This stylish and slim leather wallet from local brand Askina Collection will help them pare down to the essentials and look great doing it. Available in a wide range of colors and made right here in Toulouse! Available in Toulouse at the Creative Pink boutique or online.
4. Le Point G gin – for the person on your list who’s always trying a different craft cocktail
If you’re looking for a unique spirit that is truly Toulousain, look no further. Le Point G gin blends violet (the iconic Toulouse flower) with spirulina and a secret blend on aromatic plants that are cultivated on the Montagne Noir (the Black Mountain, near Carcassone), grown only a few kilometers from where the gin is distilled. Can be appreciated by itself or mixed in cocktails. Available at La Cave Spirituelle and other local wine/spirits shops. (P.S. The name of this gin is a play on words, as “le point g” is French for “the g-spot.”)
5. Fleur de sel de Gruissan – for the salt fiend on your list (we all have one)
The tiny fishing village of Gruissan, near Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast is know for producing some of the world’s best flaky sea salt, used both in Michelin-starred kitchens and at home. This delicious salt comes packaged in a beautiful wax-sealed wooden box that makes it perfect for gift-giving. Read this article to find out more about the fleur de sel de Gruissan. Available in Toulouse at Le J’go epicerie and other find food stores or online here.
6. Pastel net shopping bag – for the person on your list who’s trying to cut plastic bag use
This gorgeous crocheted shopping bag was made in France and then hand-dyed with pastel (the famous plant dye that produced much of the wealth in Toulouse in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods) at a workshop right here in Toulouse. You can visit the AHPY workshop in the Minimes neighborhood if you call ahead, purchase through their online shop, check out the list of shops that carry their products, or catch them at the Toulouse Marché de Noël through December 26. They also have other gorgeous clothing items, scarves, etc. that would make lovely gifts – made AND dyed in Toulouse!
7. Chocolatine socks – for the person on your list who always wears the coolest socks
These adorable socks covered in chocolatines would make a fun – and VERY Toulouse-ish – gift for both men and women. Shhh…don’t tell, but I’ve already bought 2 pair this year for gift-giving! Available from Pompon sur la Garonne, online or in their boutique.
8. Marché Victor Hugo or Marché Carmes jute tote – for the person on your list who spends their weekends at the market
Help your loved ones display their allegiance to their favorite covered market! Also from Pompon sur La Garonne, these adorable jute tote bags can be made to say “Rendez-vous au Marché Victor Hugo” or “Rendez-vous au Marché des Carmes” (Meet at Marché Victor Hugo or Carmes).
9. “Are You the Foie Gras Correspondent?” book – for the person on your list who needs a break from the news these days (don’t we all?)
Subtitled, “Another Slow News Day in South West France,” this book, written by BBC News correspondent and Toulouse resident Chris Bockman, is a fascinating inside look at the quirks of life in southwest France through the stories he has covered – a doomsday cult in the Pyrenees, truffle market scams, the intersection of politics and rugby, and more. I gave this to my dad last year for Christmas! Available in Toulouse at The Bookshop and Ombres Blanches.
10. Taste of Toulouse gift certificates – for the person on your list who doesn’t want/need anything
Science has shown that we’re happier when we spend money on experiences instead of things. So why not gift a voucher for one of our critically-acclaimed food tours? Choose from a morning at the Victor Hugo market – complete with wine, cheese, chocolatines, and more – or an afternoon Chocolate & Pastry tour – perfect for the sweet tooth in your life! You’ll be not only be giving a deliciously unforgettable experience (packed with info that they’ll keep on using), but you’ll also be supporting over HALF A DOZEN local businesses without a thing to clutter up the closet! Now that’s what I call a truly thoughtful gift. Gift vouchers come in the form of an attractive PDF, instantly emailed to you upon purchase, so they make quick and easy last-minute gifts, as well! Purchase a gift voucher.