Gift Ideas for Spanish Host/Hostess
November 28, 2010 8:59 AM   Subscribe

What should we take to Spain as a host gift for people we don't know who are letting us stay in their home for 3-4 days?

We're spending 10 days in Spain next March. For four or five days we'll be in a smallish town visiting one of my husband's friends, whom he met when they both worked together here in the U.S. The friend has since gone back to Spain and lives with his parents. We have been invited to stay at their house for 3-4 nights and would like to bring a gift to express our thanks for their generosity. We live in the U.S. Midwest. Other than locally made chocolates, what can you suggest as a gift we could bring them? Preferably, the gift would be something smallish we could pack in our carry-ons, as I'd prefer not to check any bags (with bottles of wine, etc.). What have you taken as a gift from the U.S. to Spain or Europe in general that has gone over well?
posted by Joleta to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I have never given this as a gift, but I was in Spain this past summer, and one thing I noticed that they have very little of is condiments. On sandwiches (bocadillos), it's generally just bread, meat (usually ham) or cheese. Small, gourmet mustards might be an interesting gift? (or something to bring ourself if the thought of little to no condiments frightens you)
posted by kylej at 10:38 AM on November 28, 2010

There's not a lot of maple flavored stuff in Europe, and maple seems to be largely restricted to the Americas. I have taken Maple candies as host gifts to Italy, and they were well received. Also, if you are coming from the midwest, maybe bring some wild rice? That is a very American food, so yummy, and it packs up nice and small in a suit case.
posted by pickypicky at 11:14 AM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Seconding wild rice. As a Minnesotan, I also bring Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls. Hot Tamales have also gone over really well, and corn bread/muffin mix. Maple is a nice idea. This is starting to sound like a good Midwestern gift basked... If you are more interested in the novelty than that it surely be likable, marshmallows and peanut butter are often novel experiences. They may, however, think you are trolling them. Surely Chicagoland has some other delicious specialties, besides pizza?
posted by whatzit at 12:38 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bring them something typically American. When I did this, I bought the teenage boys in the house basketball shorts from a well known university. Maybe maple syrup, or something unique to the region you live in - something that shows thought and that is not available in Spain.
posted by dmbfan93 at 4:22 PM on November 28, 2010

Response by poster: My husband's colleague is in his 30's and his parents are probably in their 50's or 60's. I don't think there are any others living at home, but I'll check. So far I'll be bringing gourmet chocolates from a local chocolate shop. I'm going to the One of a Kind Show next Sunday, a big juried arts and crafts show in Chicago, so I'll look for something there. Thanks for all your suggestions. More ideas are welcome.
posted by Joleta at 6:30 PM on November 28, 2010

Where in Spain are you going?

I wouldn't recommend chocolates, as Spain is fanatical about chocolate and gourmet and specialist shops selling all sorts of chocolate and chocolate-based sweets are commonplace in most towns. Kids here are raised on chocolate milk drinks.

Spaniards love knick-nacks - their houses are piled high with ornaments and the like, so perhaps something crafty or representative of your part of the USA would be appreciated, rather than food?
posted by benzo8 at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2010

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