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Friday, August 7, 2015

Foodie Gifts to Bring Home from Vietnam

Wine-Knows is going to Vietnam for the second time in February 2016.  Several clients have inquired about what kinds of gifts are best to bring back for foodie friends at home.  All require little space and have relatively small weight when compared to other gift items that may tempt you.

                 Coffee is an art-form in Vietnam...they even have their own drip maker.

Some of you may be scratching your head on this one----coffee from Vietnam?   Trust me when I say, "trust me" on this one. Vietnam is one of the world's largest coffee producers (second only to Brazil).   Like French Roast?  You'll enjoy the Vietnamese doubt strongly influenced by the French occupation of the country for nearly 100 years.  And, I know just the place to buy it.

Lotus tea:

                                                         One sip and you'll be hooked!                                               

A dear Vietnamese friend from California  (born in Saigon) came on my last trip to Vietnam.  One of her favorite things as a child was lotus tea.  It was love at first sip for me.  Actually, it was love at first smell.  This tea has an intense but delicate floral aroma and taste.  The petals of the lotus plant are picked in the early morning and dried for this tea.  It's a culinary masterpiece.

5 spice powder:
                      With just a tablespoon or so, these packets are easy for packing.

Some of the dishes prepared in cooking classes on our first trip were made with this intoxicating mixture.  Yes, one can buy 5 spice in the USA, but the Vietnamese version is more aromatic and complex in flavor.  I plan to bring home double the amount I did on the last trip.

Dried strawberries:

                  While there are many dried fruits in Vietnam, the strawberries were special.

Yes, you can occasionally find these in the USA, but they are not as intense as those in Vietnam.  These are a scrumptious delicacy that are sure to please even the most discerning gourmet.

Dried snow mushrooms:
              I rushed to the market to buy these immediately following our cooking class.

I fell in love with these in northern Vietnam's mountains where tea is grown on hillside terraces against a breathtaking backdrop of rural villages and lush landscapes.  These delectable edibles grow on trunks of trees and are used in a variety of salads and main dishes.   I intend to fill my suitcase with bags of them as they are nearly weightless.

We have two spots left in the upcoming trip to Vietnam in February 2016.    The trip is showcased at

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