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Looking for a great gift from Spain to surprise your friends and family with? Whether you’re looking for an easy stocking stuffer, or something to really impress that special someone with, we’ve compiled a list of the most original gift ideas to bring back home from the Spanish shores this holiday season.
One of Spain’s most iconic dishes – and cooking instruments – a paella is a great gift for anyone who likes to get a little adventurous in the kitchen. Be sure to also include a packet of arroz bomba, the special rice used to cook paella, and check what the pan is made of – carbon steel is the most traditional.
Price: from €45 for a good one
Where: La Tienda
Spain is home to one of the most famous football clubs in the world ever, the Catalan capital’s FC Barcelona. They are the second most popular team in the world – after fellow Spaniards Real Madrid – so chances are the sports fans in your family will be delighted to get their very own blaugrana shirt.
Price: from €85
Where: FC Barcelona Online Store
This sweet treat of the nougat family is made using a selection of nuts, especially almonds, and is traditionally enjoyed in Spain around Christmas time. Most places will sell a selection pack with a number of different turrón, from brittle to soft, great for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Price: from €10 a bar
Where: The Sirvent Turrón store
This fortified wine is undergoing something of a revival in Barcelona, where it’s served in hip bars and restaurants across the city. The home of vermouth in Spain is the Catalan town of Reus, where some of the oldest producers in the country are still in operation today.
Price: from €51 for 4 bottles
Where: Vermuts Miró
This fiery condiment is sprinkled over crisps, olives and tinned seafood all over Barcelona and makes for a great stocking filler for anyone who likes to spice things up a little. Made from a mixture of vinegar, pepper and spices, Espinaler sauce was the invention of a local tapas bar, The Espinaler.
Price: €5 for 250-milliliter bottle
Perhaps the most famous of Spanish foods, Jamón Ibérico is the finest of cured hams and is especially appreciated when it is bellota, meaning that the pigs have been fed on acorns, giving the meat a distinctive nutty flavor. If you’re thinking of purchasing a whole ham, consider a paleta, the front leg of the pig – smaller and easier to pack than a hind leg.
Price: €223 for a paleta or €595 for a jamón
Where: Joselito (one of the best in the world)
Another great Spanish culinary classic, Manchego cheese is one of the most recognized and appreciated Spanish cheeses in the world. The real deal is made with sheep’s milk from the La Mancha region and matured for any length of time between 60 days to two years – the older the firmer.
Price: from €10 a kilo
A far cry from the crumby, tinned tuna you mix with mayo to fill your sandwiches with, Spanish tinned seafood is a delicacy which is enjoyed as part of a meal or aperitif. For something tasty and traditional, try a tin of mejillones en escabeche, mussels preserved in a spiced vinegar and tomato preparation. Alternatively, a tin of Ortiz boquerones – large white anchovies with a milder flavor than the black ones – is another great classic.
Price: €6 for an 80-gram packet
These traditional cloth shoes originate from the region of the Pyrenees, between Spain and France, where they have been worn by locals for centuries. Today, local designers have revisited the class espadrille and there are many modern colors and motifs available for your more fashion-conscious friends.
Price: from €10
This is one for those with a sense of humor: the caganer is a small, bare-bottomed, pooping figurine which appears in Catalan nativity scenes and is said to represent the basic equality of all men. Nowadays the caganer has ditched its traditional attire and you can find everything from Angela Merkel to Obi-Wan Kenobi caganers.
Price: from €5
Where: from a local Christmas market or online
Dry, medium, sweet… Spanish sherry comes in a variety of different flavors that work perfectly either as an aperitif (offer a dry manzanilla with some salty almonds) or with dessert (a syrupy Pedro Ximénez goes down like a treat with some chocolate). Only sherry made in the region around Jerez de la Frontera can carry the official D.O. Jerez appellation.
Price: from €8 a bottle
This simple cooking instrument has been used in kitchens for centuries and here in Spain it is an essential tool for any chef. Used for more than just grinding spices, in Spain a pestle and mortar serves to prepare a number of condiments and sauces, not least the famous aioli.
Price: from €10
Where: any ferretería in Spain or online
The largest olive oil producer in the world, Spain is home to some 300 million olive trees and, while a bottle of expensive olive oil is a great idea for a gift, an artisan chopping board made from olive wood will last much longer and is much more original.
Price: from €50
Spain has a long history of ceramics, from the functional to the aesthetic, and continues to export several tons of earthenware products each year. For something sturdy and simple, opt for a terracotta oven dish. For something a little more sophisticated, try an ornate plate from the famous town of El Puente del Arzobispo.
Price: from €20
Where: La Tienda
Considered the most luxurious of spices, and often said to cost more per weight than gold, saffron features heavily in Spanish cuisine – and is cultivated here too, among other places. Considered slightly inferior to Iranian saffron, Spanish saffron is more affordable, but remains of fantastic quality and is a great gift idea when size is an issue.
Price: €33 for 5 grams
Where: Azafranes Manchegos (a D.O. ‘protected origin’ label)