For the 50+ Traveler

’Tis the gift-giving season coming very soon, and ordering early online is convenient and timely. Now the big question is, What do I give as a gift? Except for maybe fruitcake, food gifts are the best gifts because almost everyone loves food, plus you don’t have to worry if it’s the right size or color. For your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues, gourmet products from France will delight and please.

We’ve gathered a list of the best websites with French gourmet foods to order from. Some are the sites of direct manufacturers from France with worldwide shipping and belong to U.S.-based companies that import French food products. Don’t forget to order an extra tin of foie gras or wedge of Camembert for yourself so you don’t miss out.

Chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat in France.

1. La Maison Du Chocolat

Your chocolate fiend friends will think they went to chocolate heaven when you send them chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat, one of the top chocolate makers in France.

Like fashion collections in Paris, La Maison du Chocolat, led by the award-winning chocolate and pastry master chef Nicolas Cloiseau, has created a special autumn collection of chocolate for the 2020 season. They are offering gift boxes with marrons glace (sugar-glazed chestnuts), a beloved French delicacy, and their other specialty is chocolate covered dried fruit including prunes, apricots, and orange peels covered with dark chocolate. Chocolate covered almonds, pralines, truffles, and tablets are some of the other scrumptious treats you can order.

La Maison Du Chocolat also has non-chocolate pastries including boxes of the iconic French macarons, super-size me eclairs, a lemon pound cake, and a praline mousse cake.

There are four La Maison Du Chocolat retail shops in New York City, which are in Rockefeller Center, The Plaza Hotel, and The Time Warner Center and on Madison Avenue and East 78th Street.

Dammann Freres, a popular tea brand from France.

2. Dammann Freres

Dammann Freres is the oldest tea brand in France, dating back to 1692 when King Louis XIV bestowed the exclusive right for them to sell their tea in France. In 2011, Dammann Freres was bought by the Illy coffee and beverage company and expanded its reach with the opening of shops and outlets internationally in 62 countries. Today, its flagship boutique remains one of the best places to enjoy afternoon tea in Paris.

Dammann Freres’ comprehensive website lists over 150 varieties of their teas in bags and loose teas packaged in attractive canisters. Teas are imported from locations such as China, Ceylon, Korea, India, and New Zealand. The site also has a selection of tea accessories and gift sets including cast iron, porcelain, and glass teapots, strainers, cups and saucers, and travel mugs. They also have the clever infuser mugs which have a tea strainer built into the cup and also a lid to keep your tea hot.

A collection of spreads from Maille in France.

3. Maille

Another brand that has its roots in royalty is Maille, which opened its first shop in 1747 in the Latin Quarter of Paris and supplied King Louis XV and later the courts of Austria and Hungary and for Empress Catherine II of Russia. Maille started producing vinegar in the 1720s and it became famous when it was discovered that vinegar was used as a treatment for the plague.

Fast forward to 2020, Maille now produces 80 flavors of mustard and120 varieties of vinegar, in addition to cornichons, and oils. The Maille boutique in Paris has long been a gourmet paradise and the company recently opened a location in downtown Manhattan.

Although it’s great to shop in their boutiques, their extensive website has a full selection of their products. Their Pump collection features mustard flavors such as rose wine with grapefruit, black truffle, rosemary and honey, and classic Chablis white wine, packaged in handsome ceramic crocks in black, taupe, and burgundy, with cork stoppers and a little wood serving spoon. Other exotic mustard flavors include fig and coriander, black currant and red wine, white truffle and dill, and white wine. If you have friends or relatives who are passionate about grilling on the barbecue, these mustards give a delicious flavor for marinades.

In the vinegar department, flavors such as mango, tomato, aged balsamic (three years), and sherry with sun-dried tomatoes, will add a distinctive punch to your salad dressing. The website also has delectable recipes using their products.

4. Le Panier Francais

For over 15 years, Le Panier Francais has been importing the highest quality French food products to the U.S. and selling them at the lowest prices possible. Savory products include pork pates from Henaff, foie gras from Rougie, Guerande salt, dried herbs from Provence, and Nicoise olives. Who could resist French sweets with products such as bags of mini-madeleines, butter cookies, fruit-flavored hard candies, whiskey truffles, and an Eiffel Tower tin filled with milk chocolate pralines?

In their beverage section, they offer apricot, peppermint, mint, and Pina colada syrups to add to your drinks.

A fun Christmas gift is their selection of advent food calendars, with either chocolate from Lindt or mini-jars of jam from Bonne Maman.

For under $10 a month, you can become a club member and receive discounts, free shipping if you spend $59 or more, and a preview of new products before they are listed on the site.

A plate of cheeses from iGourmet.

5. iGourmet

Featuring cuisine and foods from around the globe, iGourmet has a decent section of French foods, but where they excel is with their impressive selection of French cheeses. Offering Brie, goat cheese, raclette (used for fondue), Camembert, goat cheese logs, garlic and herb, Emmental, Chaource, 12-month aged Comte, Brillat Savarin, Roquefort, and Port Salut, iGourmet rivals some of the best cheese shops in Paris.

6. Le Tablier Bleu

Le Tablier Bleu is a French food site geared toward chefs and gourmet home cooks.

Cooking ingredients such as French organic flour, truffle oils, Le Puy green lentils, extra virgin olive oils, and sea salts are just a smattering of their long list of exceptional products.

They also sell packaged foods including foie gras, tins of sardines, snails, French mustard and mayonnaise, honey, jams, and even cassoulet in a jar.

Cheese from the Gourmet Food Store.

7. The Gourmet Food Store

The Gourmet Food Store has a wide range of international gourmet foods with a section with over 20 categories of French food products. Even though I live in Paris and have easy access to many of the products on this site, I was still impressed with the wide and diverse range of high- quality products they stock. Just the butter section alone had 20 selections, the cheeses 150 varieties, plus 40 types of foie gras and 50 kinds of cookies and sweets.

A Bon Appetit Box with products from France.

8. Bon Appetit Box

Zoe and Bertrand are childhood sweethearts who grew up in the south of France. In 2014, they quit their corporate jobs in France, moved to the U.S., and started a gourmet gift basket with a mission to bring French gourmet and artisanal food products to a new audience.

Bon Appetit Box offers single boxes and monthly subscription boxes. The single box category has six choices including a Petite Sweet and Savory box, which has dried waffles, salted butter caramels, lavender honey, and green olive tapenade for $35. The other boxes, featuring seven products each, cost $85 and include a Paris aperitif box, a Provence aperitif box, a cafe gourmand box, and a French breakfast box. At the top of the line is the Cheers Box at $145, which includes seven sweet and savory products plus a Champagne towel.

The site also has a pantry section with individual sweet and savory products for purchase.

Pro Tip: Many of the sites listed above have a gift basket section and some offer special holiday gift packaging.