Food Souvenirs

10 Great Food Souvenirs to Bring Back from Asturias

Figuring out what to take home from trips abroad can be tricky. Especially if you are looking to buy gifts for friends and family. Unless you or your friends like the good old fashioned t-shirt or fridge magnet, it can be difficult to get a souvenir that isn’t cringe-worthy.

In fact, there are plenty of gifts that capture the best of Asturian culture and gastronomy. These souvenirs will be sure to delight the recipient (or you if you keep them for yourself). Here are my picks for the ten best gifts from Asturias that reflect the gastronomic heritage of the region.

1) A Fabada Kit

Fabada kit souvenir
A typical fabada kit

A ready made selection of IGP Fabes, compango, and instructions, this is a perfect gift for the cook at home that is not ready to assemble all of the pieces themselves for my recipe. Also, given USDA rules about importing meats from Europe, these prepackaged vacuum sealed kits are the simplest way to get morcilla into the States. Easily found in almost any grocery store in Asturias, for much less than you will pay at the tourist shop.

Price: 15-20€

2) A Bottle of Cider

Cider bottles
Asturian cider is an excellent souvenir

…or six. This might be the most obvious of the souvenirs on this list. However that doesn’t change the fact that it is a good idea. I mean, I can’t think of anything more Asturian than sticking a bottle of cider in your bag to enjoy when you land.

My advice would be to take a bottle or two from a smaller producer – one that you are unlikely to be able to get any more of in the States. You’ll thank yourself when you are able to conjure up memories just by opening a bottle. Not to mention that even “expensive” cider is $3.00

Price: 2-24€

3) Embutidos

A Selection of Asturian Sausages
A selection of Asturian embutidos

Asturias has a plethora of sausages, cold cuts, and other deli delights. No matter what your tastes are, there is certainly a sausage for you. From the standard smoked chorizo to the exotic specialties like chosco, there are tons to choose from. And almost all of them come in vacuum sealed packages that are perfect for export to the United States. As with the cider above, choosing a variety you cannot find in the States will make the experience of sharing it later that much more special.

For more information about specific cured meat products, please see this USDA website. That site states: Travelers may bring back fresh (chilled or frozen), cooked, cured or dried meat from countries without these diseases if they have official documentation to prove the product’s country of origin. The following items are considered official documentation: package label;…

Please note: You definitely cannot bring Spanish jamón into the US. Don’t try.

Price: 3-10€

4) Cheese

A Selection of Asturian Cheeses
A selection of Asturian cheeses

No matter which Asturian cheese you fall in love with, there is a cheese monger ready and willing to help you get it back into the States with a minimum of fuss. As above, the USDA website states that the following are definitely okay: Solid hard or soft cheeses (as long as the cheese does not contain meat or pour like a liquid i.e. ricotta or cottage cheese)

Given how hard it can be to find Asturian cheeses in the States, this would be at the top of my list for things to take home. As a matter of fact, it was every time I visited Asturias in the years before I moved here.

Price: 15-20€

5) A Mushroom Knife from Taramundi

A Taramundi mushroom knife

Asturians are wild for wild mushrooms, and literally everyone I meet here knows where to go looking for their favorites. Taramundi is famous for their pocket knives. It makes sense that there would be great mushroom knives from Taramundi. The best kind, with a hooked blade and a horsehair brush, come from right here in Asturias. This is definitely one of my personal favorite souvenirs from Asturias.

Artisans began setting up workshops in the 18th century in the village of Taramundi, drawn to the abundant iron deposits and many rivers. Taramundi remains the epicenter of knife making in Asturias.

Don’t forget to put this in your checked baggage!

Price: 20-30€

6) Canned Goods

Vintage Asturian canned goods advertisement

Asturias has a history of really high quality canned goods that stretches back to the very beginning of commercial canning. Obviously, seafood predominates here, and the Albo plant in Candás was the center of production for almost a century. Other makers, such as Agromar also produce well known conservas.

This is the easiest souvenir to acquire on this list. Walk into any grocery store, pick out some bonito del norte, berbechos (cockles), calamares (squid), pulpo (octopus), or pastel de cabracho (scorpionfish pâté), pay a few euros, and be on your way. If seafood is not your thing, try the staggering array of other pâtés, the canned fabada, or callos (tripe).

Price: 2-5€

7) Pastries

Muscovitas
Muscovitas are one of my personal favorites

Asturias is absolutely overloaded with interesting, and distinctive, pastries. From walnut and anise stuffed Casadielles, to almond and egg yolk filled Carbayones, to cinnamon sugar suspiros, and chocolate glazed muscovitas, you are spoiled for choice. And the vast majority of them are available in sturdy boxes both from the grocery and the bakery.

I mean, your friends might be picky about souvenirs, but there is literally no one who is upset when you give them a box of exotic cookies. Right?

Price: 5-10€

8) A Souvenir Horreo

Horreos make great souvenirs

Well, a model of one anyway. The horreo is the symbol of rural Asturias, and is intimately tied to the gastronomy of the region. Many of the tourist shops have a selection of model horreos for sale, and I think they make great souvenirs.

They come in all sizes, from tiny note card holders up to detailed models the size of coffee tables. You can spend a couple bucks on a decent one to put on your desk, or a couple hundred on an artisan made authentic reproduction. Your choice.

Price: 5-20€

9) A pair of Madreñas

These traditional wooden clogs are made from a single piece of wood. Two blocks are added to the front part of the sole and one to the back to lift the shoe off the ground, ideal for rainy climates and muddy paths. Traditionally, people could buy madreñas at markets or offer the cobbler room and board in exchange for madreñas for the entire family. This is farm footwear with history and soul.

They are still the footwear of choice in muddy farmyards and along unpaved village paths in winter, when the rain almost never stops. It is possible to find them in most small villages, at regular shoe stores, where you can also buy un-soled slippers to wear inside. This way you have nice slippers for the house, and wooden clogs for the yard. If you need a place to get them, head to El Cerezo in Cabrales.

Price: 30€

A cider jar from Llamas del Mouro

10) Black pottery

The village of Llamas del Mouro is known for its jet black and metallic grey pottery. These striking and unique pieces are unique to Asturias. Before being placed in the kiln, pieces are wrapped in grass-based slips to prevent oxygen from reaching the surface. Available in all shapes and sizes, these handcrafted pieces will look great in any house.

And all of them are meant to be used. From plates to cheese keepers, to olive oil containers and wine jugs – this is functional pottery.

Price: 10-200€

There you have it. Ten great souvenirs to choose from that aren’t key chains and t-shirts. Mostly edible, all related to the food and drink of Asturias. And almost entirely things you can find in Asturian houses right now today. Instead of a memento of Asturias, take home an actual piece of Asturias instead. You’ll be glad you did.

Leave a Reply