Looking for Christmas present ideas in Seville? Whether you live in Spain’s southern city, or you’re just visiting, Seville has plenty of great offerings as always.
The craft market in Plaza Nueva, Mercado Navideño de Artesania, has delightfully original pieces, in its annual show of local talent. Nearly all are handmade by the very same people who are manning the stalls, or their friends and families.
In a quick scout, I found some old favourites – especially the handmade wooden toys from Granada – and plus ones I hadn’t seen before. The fabulous market on till 5 January 2016, giving you plenty of time to browse for gifts for both the giving holidays which we have here in Spain: Christmas Day, 25 December, and Los Reyes Magos on 6 January.
Taller de Bambu make pens, rollerballs, pencils, and even fountain pens, in different designs, carved from bamboo; they will engrave a name on your pen for free, on the spot. This is an unusual but very personal present, in a natural, light and resistant material, and the refills are Cross, so excellent quality and easy to find.
These colourful ceramic pieces are made in Seville by Ceramica Enuso and are very reasonably priced. They have bold, unusual designs and make very striking table pieces.
Bella Natura produce cosmetics from entirely natural and environmentally-friendly ingredients – no parabens, synthetic fragrance, nothing derived from petroleum, and they’re not tested on animals. Plus, they smell divine! This is another small company which handmakes all its products, this time based in Malaga. Their fragrant creams and lotions include rosa mosqueta (musk rose) facial cream and argan and jojoba night cream, plus pretty swirly soaps of calendula and shea butter.
All of these products are handmade, and in some cases handprinted – Lirandy, a dream team of graphic designer, book binder and printer, use a traditional letterpress machine, like ones used centuries ago to print the first books. They make beautiful notebooks, using original kimono fabric from Japan to cover them, sewn together by hand, or with a intriguing designs and amusing comments.
And then a couple of gourmet goodies I’ve come across over the past year:
Purple carrots are only grown in the village of Cuevas Bajas near Antequera. These colourful,healthy snacks are deliciously sweet and tasty – I found them at Andalucia Sabor, the food exhibition in Seville last October full of fabulous, often innovative products from around our region. The name, Mora, is an an Andaluz version of Zanahoria Morada, purple carrot. In Seville you can buy them at Surcreativa on calle San Esteban.
Flavoured salts have been big for a while, and some of the best I’ve found are by Halos, also discovered at Andalucia Sabor. Mediterranean and truffle & black olive are both wonderful additions to pasta and rice. The sea salts come from El Puerto de Santa Maria in Cadiz province, and you can also find them in Aldi, Dia and Carrefour, as Halos makes these supermarkets’ gourmet versions.
And finally, one of my personal Seville favourites for presents is the delectable orange-scented goodies from Benditaluz. This local company makes soaps, lip salve, hand and body cream from olive and coconut oil, scented with the city’s traditional fruit – the bitter orange, or naranja amarga. Their smell is totally natural, not overly sweet or artificial. The other scent is azahar, orange blossom. You can find their products in various shops around Seville, as well as other cities such as Carmona, Cadiz, Granada and Malaga – see their website for stockists.
All that remains is to wish all my dear readers a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2016!