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. White rum is also used in making rum ‘arrangé – 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 chillies, sachets of spices, pink peppercorns or fleur de sel from St Leu. This way your home cooking will have the scent of Reunion 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 humour.
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: Danyel Waro, Davy Sicard, Salem Tradition, Grammoun Lélé, Meddy Gerville, Ziskakan, Baster, Pat Jaune, René Lacaille, Nathalie Natiembé, Zong...You can find their cds everywhere.
There are some companies in Reunion who offer to send parcels of local fruit, flowers and other local products in specially sealed containers.