Top 5 gifts to buy when in Champagne....(spoiler alert: none of them come in a glass bottle)
Gift buying is part of any holiday, whether it's for your family or the neighbour who's been looking after your house while your away. Having helped lots of guests choose what to buy here are my top suggestions.......(PS. these all work equally well as souvenirs to remember your trip by aswell!!!)
Let's face it, a bottle of champers is not a very practical gift option to try and get home in your luggage. But champagne bottle stoppers (aka champagne savers) are great alternative option. Almost all the champagne houses do branded ones and as you can see from my personal collection below there are lots of different styles (personally I like the smaller ones as they make it easier to fit the bottle in the fridge door). Plastic champagne buckets (perfect for summer garden parties) are also a surprisingly practical option as you can pack clothes in them so they don't really take up any space in your suitcase.
If you've got a friend or family member who's a big champagne fan then grabbing them a gift from their favourite champagne brand is a slam dunk. There are the typical gifts like aprons, keyrings as well as some more unusual options like a candles and jewellery made from bottle caps.
Beauty products by Caudalie
French pharmacies have a well-deserved reputation for fantastic yet affordable beauty products. My pick is Caudalie - not only are their products totally scrumptious but they are made from champagne grapes! Really! Caudalie's special trick is to utilise the polyphenols (the most powerful ant-oxidants found in nature) from grape seeds - so these products aren't only good for your skin but also for the planet as they re-purpose part of the grapes that is otherwise just waste. Or another option is something from Nuxe Paris, like their Huile Prodigieuse beauty oil - très français, works brillantly and very affordable.
Of course the french city of Dijon immediately springs to mind, but we also make mustard right here in Reims. Again it's a byproduct of champagne production - only the first pressing of the grapes can be used for champagne, so the later pressing is used for vinegar or alcoholic spirits. The 200g/7oz jars are the perfect size for a gift. Why not branch out alittle and go for one of the more unusual flavours like Tarragon (my Mum's favourite) or walnut.
Ah an oldie but a goody - let's face it you can never go wrong with chocolates (unless you carry them around whilst backpacking in Thailand for 4 weeks and they melt together.....but that's a whole other story!). We love the liqueur filled champagne corks from Xavier Thibaut, and if you choose his chocolate making workshop as an excursion you'll get to work with the man himself. Otherwise we can make a stop at his shop when we're in Epernay, the smell as you walk through the door is heavenly!