Your humblebrag shots on Instagram don’t tell the whole story. To truly share your getaway glow with friends, bring home a curated slice of hosting heaven. Skip the duty-free shop and scout out more intimate entertaining-friendly conversation pieces like these.
France > French Linens
Those bright blue and sunflower yellow tablecloths of Provence will always be classic, but if your tastes are more modern, seek out Côté Bastide, a purveyor of high-end home goods. With stores in Paris and Aix-en-Provence, it boasts French linens in soft breezy colors that will remind you of days lounging on the beach looking out on the Mediterranean, or in the shade of an olive tree soaking up the lavender fields.
Spain > Pimentón
Small tins of pimentón, or paprika, will add Iberian flair to your next dinner party. Tins marked dolce are sweet paprika; picante indicates heat. Spanish paprika lends its rich red-orange color and smoky flavors to paella, patatas bravas and sizzling shrimp with garlic and olive oil. The small, brightly colored cans are also great keepsakes. Look for the tins from Santo Domingo or El Colorin.
The Caribbean > Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce
Each island has its own special hot sauce, but look for those made with Scotch bonnets, among the hottest peppers on the planet. Stir some into your jerk rub and chutney for an island-style barbecue, or add a dash or two into your bloody mary and treat your friends to tropical brunch. A few drops work well with oysters, and with a little mayo, it’s great for topping crab cakes or pork sliders.
Turkey > Tea Trays
In the Grand Bazaar and restaurants of Istanbul, waiters bearing long-handled brass tea trays whizz by, never spilling a single drop. Great for bringing drinks to the yard or terrace, these hardy trays won’t tip even as you navigate stairs. They’re also beautiful enough to hang on the wall or use as a table centerpiece.
Mexico > Molcajete
Carved from a single piece of volcanic rock, a molcajete—originally used by the Aztecs to grind corn—is an indispensible tool for mashing guacamole. The rough surface releases the flavors of tomato, onion, cilantro and chilies before you add the avocado. Preparing tableside is a fun way to showcase your culinary skills. Serve them alongside zesty white wine from producers like Casa de Piedra, Paralelo or Monte Xanic from Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California.