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What Foodie Travelers Bag Abroad

Food-obsessed travelers come home with everything from Indian spices to Greek porcelain. Here, eight tastemakers reveal their favorite finds from trips around the world. F&W picks the perfect bags in which to pack them.

Padma Lakshmi

Host of Bravo’s Top Chef

Bag: Yves Saint Laurent (Majorelle bag in sea blue patent leather, $1,400; ysl.com).

Buys: “In India I always go to markets like Chandni Chowk in New Delhi (N-Block, Connaught Place) to buy curry powders, (left) such as sambhar, a blend of chiles, coriander and cumin, and a spice blend for pav bhaji, a vegetable dish with lentils and potatoes. And I buy bolts of raw silk at a shop called Nalli to make tablecloths. I go to the Delhi store, but there are also outposts in California.”

Kristina O’Neal

Principal of design firm AvroKO

Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim (Fabergé tote in rustic yellow, $435; 212-354-6540 or 31philliplim.com).

Buys: “I bought pickled watermelon rind in Kyoto, Japan, at Murakami-ju, which has been in the same spot for 600 years (190 Sendo-cho, Shijo sagaru, Nishikiyamachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku). Back home, I slice little pieces to serve on crudité at cocktail parties. In Kyoto I also found candied peas (left)—which taste sweet, not at all savory—at a rice-cracker shop called Funahashi-ya (Sanjo Ohashi Nishizume Nakagyo-ku).”

Tracy Reese

Fashion designer

Bag: Plenty by Tracy Reese (Medium tote in lilac, $195; 800-209-2618.

Buys: “When I was in Jaipur, India, I planned to get jewelry but ended up buying tablecloths and napkins (left) with fantastic embroidery and appliqué work. One of my favorite sources was Fab India, which sells simple block-printed material for super-reasonable prices and has locations all over India—I went to the one in New Delhi.”

Alice Medrich

Cookbook Author

Bag: Samsonite Black Label Couture (Made-to-order beauty case, from $650; 888-204-4391 or samsonite.com).

Buys: “I’ll spend days in little towns that specialize in ceramics, like Toledo in Spain. In Guanajuato, Mexico, I toured the workshop of master craftsman Gorky González, who makes platters (left) with an exuberant, hand-painted, folkloric look (available in the U.S. from Artemisa; artemisafinefolkart.com).”

Donatella Arpaia

Restaurateur

Bag: Tory Burch (Nylon weekender with patent trim, $500; 866-480-8679 or toryburch.com).

Buys: “I collect artisanal wood paddles (left) and use them for cutting pasta like tagliatelle and troccoli by hand—they’re like rolling pins with ridges, so you can make different shapes. I find them at outdoor markets that move from town to town all summer, in Puglia, Italy; at the end of May, for instance, there’s a crafts fair in Leverano. I also love Grottaglie in Puglia for its ceramics. Italian food is inherently rustic, and the town’s pottery matches it so well.”

Eva Jeanbart Lorenzotti

Founder of luxury retailer Vivre

Bag: Vivre (Evita Hobo bag, $875; vivre.com).

Buys: “On my last trip to Greece, I found hand-painted porcelain bowls (left) on the island of Porto Heli that are great for summer entertaining. Whenever I go to Geneva, I bring back almond truffles (amandes princesse) from the chocolatier Auer to serve after dinner.”

Peter Som

Fashion designer

Bag: Bottega Veneta (Intrecciato Club Stripe Duffel, $4,000; bottegaveneta.com).

Buys: “In London’s East End, the artist Marianna Kennedy creates resin candlesticks and lamps as well as painted dining tables that are gorgeous. My assistant gave me one of her pieces—an amazing, translucent wall hanging—and I’ve been back to buy more (3 Fournier St. E1 6QE; mariannakennedy.com).”

Marcus Samuelsson

Chef and cookbook author

Bag: Gucci (Duffel, $1,100; gucci.com).

Buys: “When I’m in Stockholm, I look for minimalist plates in interesting shapes at Design Torget (Besöks-och leveransadress, Gotlandsgatan 61). In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I go to the market for spices like berbere, as well as for teff flour for making injera bread.”

Published May 2008
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