It’s that time of year when stores tell us to start thinking about gift ideas for friends and family. Working as travel planners on the ground in Spain since the year 2000, here at Totally Spain, we get asked by clients what gifts from Spain to buy. We’ve already produced a guide to shopping in Spain (with the all-important store opening hours) so today, here are a few of our favourite ideas for gifts from Spain…
The Best Gifts from Spain
1 FOOD FROM SPAIN – THE CLASSIC GIFT
Hungry? The ultimate gift from Spain is a leg of Spanish jamon with a jamon stand and a decent set of carving knives. In Spain, you can pick them up at any good food deli or market but it’s a bit trickier if you need to order it from outside Spain or the EU.
Another classic is the Spanish paella – and everybody knows that it takes a good paella pan and proper Spanish rice to make an excellent paella and there are lots of companies abroad that can deliver great paella kits online.
We are fans of Brindisa in London which has been championing Spanish food for 30 years. Not only will you find paella kits and legs of jamon but you’ll also find cheeses and all your favourite store cupboard staples too. Plus lots of hampers – including a vegetarian one – which is a brilliant idea. Inquisitive carnivores might be interested to know that Brindisa runs a Spanish ham school which is another gift idea if you happen to be near London!
In the US and Canada, you’ll find a number of companies that distribute Spanish food items including jamon, paella pans, paella kits. We notice that LaTienda.com is even stocking the Jose Andres line of Spanish edibles including olive oils, olives, pisto, piquillo peppers and delicacies such as squid in ink, cockles and lots more.
If you’re able to do your gift shopping in Spain, we always recommend going to the food markets to pick up your gifts – as we also suggest finding your local La Chinata store or supplier where you can order brilliant sauces and oil plus other goodies including delicious chocolate and a wonderful line of cosmetics also. Here you can make up our own personalised hamper to send abroad.
2 WINES FROM SPAIN – PERFECT FOR EVERYDAY & SPECIAL CELEBRATIONS
We visit some spectacular wineries every year – and no, we’re not suggesting you buy a winery – although that would be an amazing gift! But we do recommend selecting wines made by a winery that you’d like to visit. This year, we re-visited the highly acclaimed Ribera del Duero wine region. If you haven’t yet been, why not familiarise you and your loved ones with the taste of Ribera – in advance of that visit!. We’ve written about visiting the region in detail here and recommend reserving visits at wineries such as Protos, Portia, Pago de Carrovejas (all the Ps!) and Comenge. We are big fans of the Don Miguel Reserva (pictured above) by Comenge in homage to Miguel Comenge, who inspired his son Jaime to begin his journey with wines back in 1999. Wouldn’t that make a great gift for a father or father-in-law? You can purchase online at the winery’s store or contact the winery directly if outside the EU.
If you are keener on Rioja, you won’t fail to impress with a case of the well-known Vivanco, Contino or Ysios from the Rioja Alavesa region and Roda in the La Rioja – which always find a place at our table for special occasions. For whites, we highly recommend tasting (and visiting) Pazo de Senoranz‘s Albariño from the Rias Baixas in Galicia. As you’d expect, most of Spain’s winery websites have online stores, but if you are sending the gift outside Spain and especially if outside the EU, you may find it easier to purchase from a wine distributor near you – so remember the names and have them make up a custom selection for you.
If you’d like to know more about Spain’s winery regions, start with out guides to Ribera del Duero, Jerez, the Rias Baixas, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja winery regions. And check our posts on wineries with art and the best wineries to visit in Spain too!
3 BOOKS FROM SPAIN – A GIFT THAT OFFERS INSIGHT
Books are not only a great gift but they also pack and travel well too – which is great for people who aren’t there to open the door for the mailman. Here are a few books going into our Christmas stocking this year!
If you enjoy learning about people working in the wine business (and their wines), Spanish author and wine critic for The Wine Advocate, Luis Gutierrez has just written ‘The New Vignerons’ which features stories of fourteen Spanish winemakers. Robert Parker has written the book’s foreword, saying it “offers a refreshing voice and a purist’s detailed look at some of the most complicated and compelling wines in the world…a fabulous contribution to the literature of fine wine.” Published by Editorial Planeta, the English version is out in December.
Foodies will enjoy Matt Goulding’s ‘Grape, Olive, Pig’ – a new food travel guide that came out earlier this year. You may be familiar with Goulding who co-authored the New York Times bestselling series Eat This, Not That! Today, he divides his time between Barcelona and the US. We love his blogposts on Spain for Roads & Kingdoms and recommend this new offering, published by Hardie Grant, for anybody interested in scratching beneath the surface of Spain’s food culture.
History buffs looking for gifts from Spain should check out ‘Isabella of Castile’, the latest book by journalist and writer Giles Tremlett who has lived in and written about Spain for over 20 years. Tremlett tells the story of Isabel of Castile who ascended to the throne aged 23 in 1474 and reigned until her death in 1504 – and governed during a period of significant change. The Times has given it a thumbs-up, adding that it’s “packed with vivid character sketches and lyrical description…Tremlett has told a gripping story, full of beauty and darkness”. Published by Bloomsbury.
Looking for other ideas? If you’re in the market for something vintage, why not look out for the first edition of something like ‘For Whom the Bells Tolls‘ by Ernest Hemingway? You can pick up a copy online for less than $50 dollars and if you are willing to paying a few hundred more, you’ll get a copy from the first run in 1940. Or perhaps you want something modern? Does your loved one read some Spanish? Why not give a magazine subscription – we often recommend the Spanish version of the architectural design magazine AD which is easy to flick through and can be enjoyed online with a digital subscription.
4 CLOTHES & SHOES FROM SPAIN – FOR THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE
When it comes to clothing from Spain, you already know all the obvious high street names. For something a little more special, try Intropia for women, available online and at its stores in Spain and London. Established in 1994 by a former costume designer with the National Ballet of Spain, its collections always seem to have more than an echo of a dancer about them. If you want to go a bit more high-end, check out Loewe which is great for leatherwear, accessories and even clothing for both men and women.
You can also go down the vintage route and purchase a dress or handbag designed by one of the icons of Spanish design such as Balenciaga. If you’re looking for something unusual, have a look at Capas Sesena – a store in Madrid that has been producing original capes since 1901 and sells its wares online also.
If it’s teenagers you are seeking to please – perhaps an online voucher for some of the many Spanish high street clothing brands such as Zara, Mango and Stradivarius, Berksha and Pull and Bear. And what about taking them out for tapas and handing over the voucher (or emailing it to them at the end of the meal)?
Jewellery is tricky to purchase for others and is sometimes problematic to ship but it is a wonderfully personal gift. We recommend Helena Rohner’s work – Helen is based in Madrid but you’ll find her pieces are also for sale in Paul Smith’s stores in London and New York. If you are looking for something a little more accessible price-wise, check out Barcelona-based Joi d’Art and Madrid’s Uno de 50.
Shoes also make a perfect gift and we’ve written lots about great Spanish footwear including brands such as Rebeca Sanver, Pons Quintana, Vialis and Castaner. You’ll find more ideas here on clothing in Spain too.
5 CULTURE & DESIGN FROM SPAIN – THOUGHTFUL & BENEVOLENT GIFTS
If you’re shopping for the person who has everything, we recommend sponsoring a museum in Spain such as the iconic Prado in Madrid. (Here’s the link to sign up a friend – and US citizens can do that here.) The Hispanic Society is another interesting option for US residents. The Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid also welcomes new friends, patrons and benefactors (and for Malaga here is the link). The Guggenheim in Bilbao also accepts international members, as do the Dali Museums – and the newest art centre in Spain (pictured above) is Centro Botin in Santander which also runs a friends programme. And remember, Spanish museums often have great gift stores. Take for example these replica doorknobs originally designed for Gaudi’s Casa Mila that are on sale on the museum’s website – what a great gift for somebody who has been to Barcelona or is planning a trip there soon!.
Looking for something with a bit of humour? Etsy is always a good place for quirky ‘Spanish’ themed gift ideas. Items change all the time but we’re sure you’ll find something interesting for that special somebody. If Etsy doesn’t offer you anything, what about this Santatipo project in Santander where you can download (for free!) some great samples of old store front lettering from the city? We think it’s a great gift for anybody interested in type-setting, history or travel. All you need to do is to print out the poster on good quality paper (e-mail it to a decent printer)– stick it in a frame – and hey presto – a great gift with a lot of heart (and art).
If you want to explore contemporary Spanish designers, designer and architect Patricia Urquiola has produced many homeware, furnishing and furniture lines for brands such as Kartell, Gandia Blasco, Louis Vuitton and Rosenthal. And Javier Masical’s brilliant gift store offers all his t-shirts, books, posters and lots more including an online portrait service.
6 SPENDING TIME TOGETHER – THE ULTIMATE GIFT
Thinking about giving the person (or people) you love the present of the trip of a lifetime? If so, we’d love to hear from you. All you need to do is to set us a budget and we can create the perfect itinerary in Spain and Portugal including visits to popular destinations such as the Alhambra and Granada and also to brand-new destinations you may not know about – for example to Gaudi’s Casa Vicens – which has just opened to the public. Check out our recent post on 25 Photos that Define Spain – Bucketlist Inspiration for your Next Trip to get you in the mood and contact us for a quote!