Are you visiting Spain and wondering what would be the perfect Spanish souvenir to bring back home from your travels? Did you know that there are lots of beautiful Spanish souvenirs to buy in Spain and that you will have a tough choice selecting which ones to buy? When visiting Spain you will notice that Spanish food is very important in the Spanish culture. For this reason, bringing back souvenirs from Spain which are food related is highly probable, like olive oil, Spanish wine or spices.
Do you also love it to find the perfect souvenir to bring back from your travels? Browsing in local shops, street markets or even shopping malls, finding a great souvenir is just part of any trip. And it also makes you dive deeper into a country’s cultural history to see what is traditional and typical from that country or place.
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Tip: Make sure that before buying anything to take back home that you read the rules about what you can take home or not.
What to buy in Spain
When visiting Spain, famous things to buy can include various souvenirs that are useful or that are to be used as ornaments of decoration, but also foods and drinks. This list will give an idea about a best buy in Spain with regards to a souvenir for yourself or even as a gift from Spain you can give to someone at home.
Spanish fan or hand fan
One of the most famous things to buy in Spain is a Spanish fan. We all know the images of flamenco dancers with their lovely dresses waving a Spanish fan. Well, you will definitely find them in all variations, colours and designs. They are not only used by flamenco dancers, but are widely used throughout the country. Most Spanish women will own and use one. I used to live in Madrid for a few years and always carried one with me to get a bit of cool air when needed. So when in Spain during the warmer months, I would recommend getting one sooner rather than later in your trip. You will probably use it, and will feel like one of the locals while you’re at it.
You could also get them before you leave, or after your travels if you did not get one in Spain. In that case, have a look at these elegant Spanish fans. I used to carry one made from wood like these wooden fans.
Spanish pottery is a perfect gift to buy in Spain if you like to take back home a useful item. You can find them in all variations; from plates, bowls, pitchers, flower pots and wine jugs in a wide range of colours. And very colourful they are. The colourful plates make great wall decoration. The bowls come in different shapes and can be used to serve olives, salsa’s or other appetisers.
I use an olive dip dish which comes with a toothpick holder to serve olives when I have guests. These colourful salsa bowls are perfect to serve a variation of Spanish tapas when receiving guests. These terracotta cazuelas are great to cook tapas in the oven and serve them straight out of this dish. That’s how they make them in Spain as well.
Over the years I’ve bought quite some pottery and ceramics in Spain. It brings so much colour in my house. Even on the balcony I use flower pots from Spain to brighten up my outside area.
Spanish Flamenco dress
Where would be a better place to buy a flamenco dress as a gift from Spain than in the country of flamenco? Flamenco is a form of art traditionally from the southern part of Spain like Andalusia. The Flamenco music, dance and dress-code forms an important part in the Spanish culture. During local celebrations hearing flamenco music and seeing Flamenco dancers is not uncommon. To take a lovely Flamenco dress back home is a great way to be reminded of Spain.
Products from Spain – Food and Drinks
Spanish Olive Oil
Olive oil is without doubt the most essential ingredient in Spanish cuisine. Olive oil is used in a very wide range of dishes; for frying, on toast for breakfast, in salads and even in baking. Did you know that Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil? And the biggest part of the Spanish olive oil is produced in Andalucia. So when looking for a food souvenir from Spain, buying a bottle (or more) of Spanish olive oil is a must, especially when wanting to recreate that great Spanish flavour in your cooking.
When at home or when it’s difficult to bring home, I can also recommend buying Spanish olive oil online here. When searching for olive oil, the best quality I can recommend is the Extra Virgin olive oil, especially for use in salads or for cooking on low temperatures.
The olives that grow in Spain are of course not only used for making olive oils but also for eating. And they are one of the best in the world. Spain has over 200 different varieties of olives that are used for eating or for making olive oil. I will always have olives at home and yes, I prefer the Spanish ones. Maybe because I used to live there for many years (so I might be biased) or because they are just very good. My favourite ones are Spanish olives stuffed with anchovies paste. The slightly bitter taste of the olive together with the saltiness of the anchovies is just yumm.
When in Spain you will get to try them and you can pick your favourite ones to bring home or to get online later. You can find a whole selection of Spanish olives here.
Spanish Ham or Jamón Ibérico
What makes Spanish ham so special and why is it a great souvenir from Spain? Wherever you go in Spain you will see legs of ham dangling from the ceiling. It shows the importance of a good ham in Spain. And when you have these thin cut succulent slices of ham as a starter, you will also know why. The leg of ham is cut in a different way where the leg is rested on a wooden holder and is finely sliced from the side with a long sharp knife with a very flexible blade to get a perfect cut in the shape of the ham.
The Jamón Ibérico is made from iberian free-roaming pigs that mainly feed on acorns and grains. The most expensive ham is called Jamón Ibérico de bellota where the pigs are fed 100% on acorns. The iberian pig is recognisable by its nearly black coloured skin. You will notice immediately when eating a slice of this ham, since it literally melts on your tong. For obvious reasons, this ham is also the more expensive one.
The Jamón Serrano, or the Serrano ham is mainly made from the ‘white pig’ and is a common name for most other cured Spanish hams. When in Spain you will find all variations of ham to buy in specialised shops and supermarkets. Prepacked ham will be easier to carry home (if it will be allowed back in your home country).
When wanting to buy a leg of Iberian ham at home, I would recommend to get a leg of Iberian ham together with a wooden holder and a special carving knife. Or a for a less expensive option, the leg of Serrano ham. Or the already
sliced Iberian ham
Spanish Wine and Spanish Cava
Spain is home to various wine regions, like Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Rueda as well as various grape types. When in Spain, you’ll be taken aback by how cheaply you can buy Spanish wines. Even when you are not visiting a specific wine region, you will still find a wide selection of wines from all regions in the shops of the major cities. In Spain, drinking wine is part of a meal.
Cava is a sparking Spanish wine, and it’s only those wines that are produced according to the traditional method that are allowed to be named Cava. Most of the Cava is produced in the province of Catalonia. So basically, Cava is the same as Champagne but produced in Spain. The price of Cava is very reasonable, unlike a bottle of Champagne, and whatever the brand, you cannot really go wrong.
Both the Spanish wines and cava are unique gifts from Spain and make a great souvenir for yourself or as a gift.
Most people might wonder where the bright yellow colour of the paella comes from. Well, from saffron, a spice locally known as azafran. Spanish saffron is used as a spice for flavour, but also for food colouring and herbal benefits. This precious spice comes from the ‘saffron crocus’ and due to its very labour intensive work to pick the stamens of the flower, it’s very expensive.
However, the good news is that you only need just a few saffron threads in your paella or other dishes otherwise the taste becomes pretty bitter. So even a very small box of Spanish saffron will get you a long way to prepare your favourite Spanish dish.
Now that you have bought Spanish saffron to make paella, you will also need a paella pan. When travelling in Spain you will not get around without seeing people preparing paella. Especially when visiting during a ‘fiesta’ which are local celebrations. Mostly these paella pans are hugh, since they need to forsee the whole village or town from a plate of this rice dish. Don’t worry, these paella pans come in all different sizes and for home cooking I would recommend these which are great for a family of four. When making paella for more people at home, I would recommend this size or larger.
Spanish Smoked Paprika or Pimentón
One of my favourite spices to use in the kitchen is smoked paprika or pimentón as it’s called in Sapin. The smoked paprika spice adds smokiness to the dish and lifts up the flavour giving it a special punch. It’s also an essential ingredient for Spanish cooking. You can find pimentón in foods and dishes like chorizo sausage, sprinkled over pulpo gallego and in various stews. Smoked Spanish paprika comes in variations of sweet and hot. I mostly have both and use it according to the dish I’m preparing. Just be careful to not use too much in a dish since the smokiness can get a bit overpowering.
The best known smoked paprika to buy is the Pimentón de la vera, which originates from the La Vera region in Spain and comes in sweet, hot and bittersweet. However, other brands of smoked Spanish paprika are definitely a great buy as well.
Since food is of such cultural importance, why not try preparing some Spanish dishes at home. I always try to buy a cookbook with local recipes on my travels and if I cannot carry it home due to luggage limitations, I will buy it later online. But getting a cookbook is a great souvenir to buy in Spain for yourself or as a gift. Depending on where you travel in Spain, you might not find books in English. In that case, you can find them here.
Apart from the more well known Spanish dishes, like paella, Spanish omelet and gazpacho, I would recommend trying some regional dishes and learning more about them in specific cookbooks. My favourite regional foods are Basque cuisine as well as dishes from Asturias, of which Fabada Stew is one of my favourite Asturian dishes.
A real treasured cookbook is this book from Penelope Casas with no less than 1000 Spanish recipes. A real must-have for every Spanish food lover and a great unique gift from Spain.
I hope this list with Spain souvenirs will assist you to find the perfect gift or souvenir to bring back home or to buy online after or before your trip to this beautiful country in Europe.
What was the most memorable souvenir you have brought back from your travels around the world?
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