Absinthe Chocolate?

Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:39 PM
  #1  
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Absinthe Chocolate?

Hello,

While in Europe, I bought some chocolate containing absinthe. The package (a box) is very, very small... maybe half the size of a box of M&Ms or something.

Anyway, when I bought the chocolate, I asked the woman (this was at an outdoor fair) if it wasn't illegal to bring into the US. "Oh no..." she said, "Its perfectly fine. We ship there all the time!"

Well, as I've learned, this woman was feeding me a line of baloney... at least I think she was. I was online tonight and I see that absinthe (in its liquid form at least) is on the list of items prohibited by US customs.

So now I have a dilemma. The chocolate was intended as a gift for a family member (if it was for me and I was that interesting in trying it, I would have done so here in Europe). So I very much wanted to bring it back with me to the US in a couple of days. But I also don't like the idea of "smuggling" anything into the US, even if its something I'm not sure of (presumably, I'd write "chocolates" on the customs form, as I've purchased several varieties of chocolate here in Europe).

I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on this issue. First, is it definitely illegal to bring chocolate containing absinthe into the US? If so, what is the penalty if I do so knowingly and get caught? Will they just confiscate it, or will I be in legal jeopardy? Should I claim it on my form (or mention it to customs) and get their feedback, attempt to "smuggle" it in or just toss it in the garbage bin on my way to the airport?

BTW, at what point do you go through immigration and customs? Prior to leaving Europe? Or once you are on American soil? How frequently do people have their bags searched?

Your advice is appreciated.

PS: Will be filing my trip report sometime next week. I had a wonderful time. Thanks to those who encouraged me to take this trip when I was having doubts.
ameelynn1980 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Unless I'm losing my mind (always a possibility) and remembering incorrectly, a number of years ago certain European countries started manufacturing (or maybe importing, I don't know, but at least selling) absinthe that is entirely legal both there and in the USA. My recollection is that it's quite different from the stuff Toulouse Lautrec and his crowd were blowing their minds and bodies with back when, and is really quite harmless.

I think you're probably fine. I also think you should google for more information.

And I'm sure more knowledgable people than I here will have clearer information.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Yes, there is a form of absinthe that is now legal in the US. It is made with only a scant amount of thujone. The brand name is Lucid:



http://www.drinklucid.com/
ekscrunchy is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:57 PM
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..I have to add, having tasted what I assume was the real thing several times in Europe (and having brought a bottle or two home with me..) that the combination of chocolate and absinthe does not exactly excite my taste buds.... Although the novelty value is certainly present!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:58 PM
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The Absinthe sold here is not the same as of old. It's minus the wormwood.
Yes, you can bring them home. They are sold in some places.
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:01 PM
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The company says that they DO use wormwood; it is the lack of more than a trace of thujone that makes it legal in the US.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:32 PM
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It's a different wormwood that's why it's allowed. I love the bottle.
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:40 PM
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OOPs ekscrunchy, I'm wrong!
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:58 PM
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StCirq wrote: "Unless I'm losing my mind (always a possibility)..."

That happens when you drink absinthe.
Padraig is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 04:01 PM
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The brand AbsEnthe is without the wormwood
cigalechanta is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 04:06 PM
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Indeed, Padraig...I actually had some of the real absinthe (or was at least told by French friends that that's what we were imbibing), and I can attest to the fact that it'll make you lose your mind...really fast.

And I was a "child of the 60's" and had some experience with that sort of....experience.

BTW, there's a fascinating exhibit about absinthe at the chateau in Auvers-sur-Oise. It's part of a much larger exhibit about the Impresionist movement. Really interesting - it was almost cultish.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for all of the replies, but I don't really feel as though anyone has answered my question. The chocolates that I have are not made with the "legal" brands of absenthe mentioned in the replies. It also features the ingredient "Artemisia absinthium" which is the illegal component, I believe.

What would be the consequences if I tried bringing it into the US and got caught? Would they simply confiscate it, or would there be other consequences (such as a fine or legal issues)?
ameelynn1980 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 10:00 PM
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Tell the authorities and plead 'absinthe of malice'.
Better it going in the bin than you and think of your future travel plans. Good luck.
farrermog is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 01:06 AM
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I'm surprised that this worries you ameelynn.

The amount of absinthe is probably minuscule, the chances of it being of the illegal type are slight, and US Customs have more serious matters to consider. Say nothing; play dumb. If a customs officer examines the package, she probably won't be too concerned -- if she is, invite her to bin it for you, after which she will take it home to share with her family. And God (or absinthe) will strike her blind.

And your uncle will have been saved.
Padraig is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 01:52 AM
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The chances of you being searched are miniscule, if you behave normally that is. If you behave in a nervous way you will be picked out in an instant. Pack them, and walk through. If you do get picked on for a search act dumb. You may get a small fine but it is doubtful - they will proabably just confiscate the chocs.
You go through immigration and customs in the US not before leaving Europe, unless you are leaving from Ireland I believe.
hetismij is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:41 AM
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ira
 
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Hi A,

Stop worrying.

Bring home your chocolates (although I agree that absinthe flavored chocolate sounds awful).

Usually, you go through Customs when you enter the US.

On the plane, you will be given a form to fill out.

If it asks if you are bringing in food, list "chocolate".

If the inspector asks to see the chocolate, show it.

The worst that can happen is that it will be taken from you.

ira is online now  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:46 AM
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ameelynn, I googled and found several states that sell them. This one is S.F. Calif.

http://tinyurl.com/2j5x9e
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