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Monday, June 14, 2010

Little Gifts


A reader asked me for ideas. She wanted small gifts that she could bring back from Stresa for her friends and family at home. She didn't want the typical tourist souvenirs, and she needed to buy many, so what she was looking for were things that were small enough, light enough, inexpensive enough, and more individual to Stresa than a keyring or t-shirt.

And so I went out into the piazza with this mission in mind. The parameters of my scavenger hunt were these: I wanted to find items that cost no more than a few euro each, about 5 maximum. I wanted something that you could buy many of the same thing that would satisfy a great number of people. And I wanted things that one could pack easily into luggage without having to buy a new carryon bag, and that could be transported without too much worry about breakage or spills. Here are a few of the items I saw that I think fit the bill.


La Cambusa on via Cavour is a treasure trove of goodies. From small bottles of local wines and chianti to all manner of local delicacies, Rosaria has stocked this store with something to please everyone.



I like these soaps that I saw in baskets outside L'Acqua di Stresa shop in Piazza Cadorna. Made locally, and available in several floral scents, including the famous local camelia, these are small, beautifully wrapped, everyone can use them, and they cost only 2.50 euro each.



Just off the Piazza, outside Gastronomia Bianchetti on via Garibaldi, I was drawn to this selection of colorful local pastas. How about combining a bag of pasta with a small bottle of chianti? I've stretched the rules a little bit here... although these bags of pasta are light and inexpensive and not very large I would be concerned however for their safety during transporting them. I wouldn't want to crush them packed in a suitcase, so do take care with that.



Along the same lines I like the idea of small bags of coffee. Some of the cappuccino bars can sell you their own coffee in small paper sacs. Torrefazione Moka, on via A.M. Bolongaro, has a mixture that they call 'Stresa'. "Aromatic," they call it, "In any moment of the day when one wants to gift oneself with a moment of true pleasure," they say, "that is the moment to savour this coffee called Stresa." Look at these gorgeous jars of coffee at Torrefazione Moka. Marcello is usually there and he'll be happy to help you with your selection.



I like this idea of a gift a bit more local, a bit more practical. A gift can be really of a place, not just from a place. And if there are many people that you want to bring back a little piece of Stresa for, these ideas should get you off to a good start!


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