What to bring back from the Pyrenees?

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Are you looking for some gift ideas? Souvenirs from your stay in the Pyrenees to spoil your loved ones? Local products are an opportunity to promote the creativity and know-how of artists, artisans and producers and to offer unique, surprising and ethical gifts. Here is a quick overview of original gift ideas, handcrafted in the Pyrenees. Gifts that make sense and that you won't be able to find anywhere else!  

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Ethical gifts made in the Pyrenees

The essential " La Carde" slippers in Pyrenean wool

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Winter is approaching, the cold is here. Time to warm up with a roaring fire and hibernate under a sofa blanket. Symbol of "Home Sweet Home", the slipper is a must-have for the season, a real fashion accessory to pamper your feet! So, nothing like a pair of Pyrenean sheep wool slippers to choose a local, artisanal creation, respectful of the environment and of know-how.

In Esquièze-Sère, a stone's throw from Luz-Saint-Sauveur in the Hautes-Pyrénées, five generations have succeeded each other since 1891 in the La Carde family workshops of Maison Lafond to make items in woolen woolen from the Pyrenees : blankets, plaids, coats, sweaters, hats and... the famous slippers 100% natural wool. Fall in love with these lined ankle boots revisited in a rustic alloy of warmth, lightness and casual style... The guarantee of a warm winter!

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The superb creations of Carde in Pyrenean wool  

The delicious bag of berlingots from Cauterets!  

Here is a gift that always delights the taste buds of gourmets: the traditional bag of berlingots from Cauterets! These small hard and translucent sweets are an essential specialty of the small spa town in the heart of the Pyrenees National Park. This multicolored pyramid-shaped candy is also the very first sugar confectionery in Europe! Some stores such as Confiserie Marinette still make them in an artisanal way, made from 100% natural ingredients and without artificial colors. There are more than thirty different flavors of berlingots! Open the door of the shop to see the master confectioner at work : he works long strings of sugar and reveals his manufacturing secrets during demonstrations in front of visitors and the amazed eyes of children.  

The unmistakable walking stick!  

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If there were to be a functional and typical Pyrenean object that would best represent the pastoral activity of the shepherds, it would be the famous large wooden stick, known as the “shepherd's stick”. Usually in oak or beech, it is a personal, usual object, adapted to the escarpments of the mountain. In the Pyrenees, you will find all kinds of them : from “souvenir” sticks in tourist shops to real works of art in wild medlar wood, carved with personalized patterns. The staff here symbolizes a way of living in harmony with unspoiled nature. It can be erected as an object of decoration or an object of art depending on the materials used and the meticulous work of the craftsman. In all circumstances, it is a great ally for hikers!

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The indispensable bell of the Pyrenees!  

On the Argeles Gazost market, Dominique Escoulan's stall attracts attention. Representative proud the 3rd generation of this itinerant hardware, Dominique specializes in basketsand bellshazelPyrenees, these ancient bells that we put around the necks of cows grazing. You will find all sizes and all origins, including cowbells from the Daban company, made in Nay in Béarn. The distinctive signs of this beautiful bronze bell are a cross and the very piercing sound it produces, able to ward off snakes and allow the shepherd to spot the flock in the mountain, even in foggy weather. Here, each cow breeder comes to choose his new bells according to the sound of the bells he already has to maintain harmony in the herd. Each cowbell is different for each type of herd.  

Used as a rustic doorbell at the entrance to the house or as a decorative object in the house, the bell is definitely an authentic item of Pyrenean heritage to bring back!  

Pastries and cakes from the Pyrenees!  

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Notice to gourmets! Think cakes. It is the little attention that pleases and always pleases those who receive it. Our region is full of typical and tasty culinary specialties, local delicacies rooted in tradition and made with passion by craftsmen.  

Specialties from the Pyrenean valleys, the wild blueberry tart and the Pyrenean blueberry pie will certainly melt all the gourmands.  

Fruit of a great Pyrenean tradition, the spit cake from Béarn reflects the art of living by the fire and the friendliness of the inhabitants. This gigantic golden cake with a conical shape and "spades" is unlike any other cake. It delights the palate with its taste of fresh butter with aromas of vanilla and rum.  

Filled with cherry, the Basque cake with its inimitable taste is the authentic pastry par excellence to accompany a coffee or a tea, or to treat children at snack time.

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Photos and articles prepared by Lesley Williamson


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