Bringing back a souvenir for yourself or for friends and family is a nice way to remember your holiday and bring a piece of it back home with you. 5th Avenue is full of wonderful little treasures and you can be sure you’ll find something for every liking. Here are a few items that stand out among the rest that would make great original gifts for yourself or for loved ones!
Talavera Pottery, Pewter and Blown Glass
Mexican ceramic and glassware combines influences from pre-Hispanic, European, Arabic and oriental cultures giving it a very distinct look, making them a perfect gift to bring back home if you like to add some life and colour to your home.
Although Talavera is not originally from Quintana Roo, it is a great gift to bring back home as most people have never heard of this type of pottery from the state of Puebla. The fabrication process is meticulous and dates back from the Spanish colonial period, when the Spaniards arrived to “The new Spain” and passed on their techniques which they had learned from the Arabs. Pieces range from vases and planters to plates and trays and wall decor as well as tiles.
Mexican pewter is an elegant gift idea as it offers the look and durability of silver at a more reasonable price. It needs little maintenance, doesn’t need to be polished and never tarnishes.
Mexican handblown glass is another great souvenir to bring back home. Every piece is different as they are created using century-old techniques, which creates tiny bubbles in the glass giving it its name go Bubble glass.
The huichols are indigenous people from Jalisco, Durango and Nayarit. This unique type of art consists in pressing tiny beads or yarn onto a wood surface, creating colourful pieces with symbolic meaning.
Visit Tierra Huichol on 5th Avenue between 38th and 40th where you can also see a huichol artist carefully placing the beads one by one to create these extraordinary pieces.
Everyone knows Tequila but very few people know about its cousin, Mezcal. This smoky flavoured alcoholic drink is usually accompanied by an orange instead of lime.
While tequila is made from the blue agave plant and can only be produced in the state of Jalisco, Mezcal can be made from up to 28 varieties of agave and is usually produced in the state of Oaxaca. Premium mezcals use a traditional production method which dates back to hundreds of years and consists of cooking the “piña” (pineapple), which is wha’s left from the agave plant once all the leaves are sheared off, in an underground “oven” giving it its unique smoky flavour.
You can find mezcal at La Europea.
With multiple health benefits, the use of honey in Mexico dates back to the Mayans, who used it as an antibiotic and a sweetener while fermented honey was used to make “balché”, an alcoholic drink similar to mead.
Obtained from the nectar of avocado blossoms, avocado honey has a rich, buttery, molasses-like taste and is darker in colour than orange blossom honey. Because avocado blossoms are in season around the same time as citrus blossoms which honey bees prefer, it is considered a rarity.
With high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and antibacterial properties, it can be applied onto minor cuts, scrapes and burns to speed up the healing process, providing a similar relief to aloe vera.
In the kitchen, it can be used as a glaze or marinade for salmon, chicken and vegetables, or in salad dressings.
Try an avocado honey and avocado face mask if you suffer from dry skin or if you have clogged pores.
Avocado honey can be found at La Europea.
Hammocks are a staple in every home in the Yucatán peninsula. They are perfect for naps, reading a book and relaxing. Like sheets, hammocks vary in thread count, thickness of thread and material. You can find them made from nylon, which are best for outdoors, or cotton for indoors.
Some good stores are Hamacamarte on 38th street between 5th and the beach and La Casa de las Hamacas on 30th Av between 50 and 52nd street.
For the fashion lovers
Mexico is a very colourful country and bright colours are seen everywhere, from it’s flora and fauna, to its food and to its fashion. A variety of colours is often used in indigenous traditional clothing as well as beautiful patterns. Maka and Pineda Covalín reflect the essence of the Mexican spirit into beautiful pieces
Maka is a fashion house that incorporates Mexican textiles and embroidery into modern designs to create one of a kind shoes, purses, wallets and trays.
Visit their website http://www.makamexico.com or their store in Mayakoba.
Pineda Covalin is a renowned Mexican designer who translates her love for Mexican culture and folklore to create pieces that are unique and a testimony to Mexican pop culture using the finest and most delicate materials
Visit her website wwww.pinedacovalin.com or her store on 5th Av between 26 and 28th street.
For the men
Guayaberas are a traditional Yucatecan men’s shirt and are typically used in formal occasions such as weddings. Elegant and light, these would be perfect for a day wedding, going to the office or a nice family gathering.