3 Mexican souvenirs you shouldn’t offer to your European friends
2017 was the first christmas that i got to spen with my family after three years. i was so excited that three weeks before i couldn't think of anything else. Probably it has happened to you if you have lived abroad, that you get used to have your typical food compressed into one single shelf at the store (like Mexican shelf or the Asian alley.)
But what happens when you get back after all that time abroad and you grocery shopping??
EVERYTHING LOOKS GIGANTIC
First of all, I feel so small in such huge supermarkets. I mean in Paris I barely walk in the alley with my basket and in mexico there is place for 3 trolleys per alley! Madness how space is underrated until you don’t have it
OK, let’s put aside the dimensional impression and talk about the large variety of products you have. OLD EL PASO may be king abroad but here no one has heard of it.
You go from having half a shelf of mexican food, to have a whole supermarket, life changing experience. Seriously, imagine all the colors and variety in the fruits and vegetables area, where exotic fruits are just regular fruits, or what about a full alley of salsas and peppers with spiciness levels (there is also for all of you, foreigners who cannot stand too much picante), and do not get me started on the snacks alley.
Automatically my eyes become three times bigger than my stomach but i tell myself it is ok, after all i am shopping for at least 6 months of stocks.
Sadly nothing in life is as easy as getting fat… so remember you need to fit in a 23kg suitcase all your clothes plus everything you buy. So no point in over buying.
I recommend to make a list to know what it is truly worth it, what you cannot find or what your favorites are. And it may sound hash for some of my fellow countryman, but not everybody loves mexican food as we do, specially not our candies.
And so if you are planning on bringing some souvenirs, just bear in mind what your friends, boyfriend, colleagues, etc would actually like, not just what you prefer.
For example, i know my friends do not like very spicy food but i have made them a light mole and they loved it. I also know which candies they prefer and which one they don’t… but of course i had to bear the sight of them making faces while eating them and a full speech of how those were not real candies.
So after several years of testing, i have come with three main categories of things you should not offer to your european friends. Disclaimer: taste is subjective, and so there may be exceptions, it is just a matter of knowing your people.
3 mexican souvenirs you should avoid bringing to europe
Pulparindos, typical candies that contain tamarind, sweet/sour popsicles, picagomas, etc.
When we say candies, they immediately think of sweet things, such as chocolates, sugary candies and when you give them the sweet/sour taste of tamarind is like a shock to them.
Instead, try with mazapanes, coconut sweets or typical chocolate.
2. Spicy chips
No matter how much we love them they simply are too spicy for them. Moreover abroad they become so valuable that imagining one of your friends spitting it because he cannot etat it is too big of a waste.
3. Decoration gifts
it is a pride for us to show all the different handmade crafts that are done in our country, sometimes they are relatively cheap, some other not so much, but we are willing to pay the price because we want to bring it as a special gift.
But we should pay attention or we will be disappointed. It is important to realize that when you give such a type of present, you are forcing the person to modify the decoration at his or her place. Probably it doesn't even match but now, as you gave it with all your heart, they should put it. It is somehow selfish from our part and some will not even bother to make the effort to actually find it a place. And is not on purpose, or to be rude, is just the differences in our cultures.
Of course if you know them very well and you are sure they will appreciate such kind of thing, go ahead! Another option is to show them the types of crafts that are done in your region and let them choose. If you have a mexican friend and you have special taste in decoration, make sure he or she receives subtle wishlist, just in case.
And you, what is your favorite mexican souvenir?