Reunion Island is rich in savory and sweet treats and abundant in local treasures. Here, one may enjoy the island’s delectable foods and spirits, and bring home a colorful array of gifts from your journey. You might even consider treating yourself to a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation, and checking off your holiday shopping list with unique treasures all at the same wonderful time.
One taste of some of the island’s fruits (mangoes, lychees, pineapples, and more, depending on the season) or the Bourbon vanilla, and you’ll want to bring some back for your friends and family at home.
Another key speciality is the local rum and its various derivatives. For cocktails, white rum can be bought in bottles or in a presentation box, handy for carrying it home. In some shops you can find ready-to-use sachets of fruit and dried plants which you simply add to the rum when you get home. There is also a large range of different brands of punch on offer, made with the island’s finest fruit.
There’s always room in your suitcase for a few little jars of chilies, sachets of spices, pink peppercorns, and fleur de sel from St. Leu. This way your home cooking will have the scent of Reunion Island long after your holidays are over.
In Cilaos, the embroidery experts carry on this meticulous tradition. Take advantage of a visit there to stock up on wine, lentils, and even organic cosmetics – these will remind you of your stay in this thermal spa for sure.
Essential oils (geranium, vetiver…) are distilled locally and make excellent perfumes to set the mood for relaxing baths.
Handicrafts are part of a long family tradition – weaving, in particular, is done using vacoa leaves and other seashore trees to make bags and baskets.
Don’t miss out on the various creations made from tortoiseshell, marine leathers, coconut shells, or even volcanic rocks. The local artists’ imaginations know no limits.
Reunionese creativity is also present in textiles – there are several local brands of t-shirts and fashionable beachwear which are of high quality and with a style often rich in humor.
When it comes to books, CDs, and films, the island is not short of local talent.
The most well-known are Axel Gauvin and Daniel Vaxelaire, whose works are published mainly in French.
Business for children’s books is booming, and you’ll find most bookshops have an excellent range of locally-produced comics – for the first time there have recently been translations into Reunionese Creole of Asterix and Tintin books.
And as for music, the island boasts hundreds of different groups with extensive discographies. Some artists have seen their popularity extend far beyond the shores of Reunion Island: Danyel Waro, Davy Sicard, Salem Tradition, Grammoun Lele, Meddy Gerville, Ziskakan, Baster, Pat Jaune, Rene Lacaille, Nathalie Natiembe, Zong…you can find their CDs everywhere.
And if you find you’ve shopped way more than you intended and have no more room in your luggage, fear not. There are some companies on Reunion Island who offer to send parcels of local fruit, flowers, and other local products in specially-sealed containers.