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GoPlanB Jan 20th, 2008 05:50 PM

For those who love to cook... what did you buy?
For those who love to cook, what spices or other special cooking related gadgets did you bring back from Europe?

randola Jan 20th, 2008 06:05 PM

ohhhhhh....we brought back dried porcinis, sun dried tomatoes, an amazing chunk of parmesean and honey from italy.

StuDudley Jan 20th, 2008 06:10 PM

Herbes de Provence & Fleur de Sel.

Stu Dudley

StCirq Jan 20th, 2008 06:23 PM

Olive oils, tapenades, fleur de sel, mustards, vinegars, cornichons, bottled pasta sauces, sausages and cured meats, jams and jellies, chocolates, macarons, nougat, cheese, pasta....god, I can't even remember.

I've also brought back antique French coffee grinders, mortars and pestles, a messaluna, pizza cutter, cheese knives, napkin holders, and again god I can't even remember.

dutyfree Jan 20th, 2008 06:26 PM

Italy-Tuna in olive oil along with coffee;blanched almonds;mini bottles of olive oil with basil;wine;balsamic vinegar;cheese;chocolate truffles.
France-Herbes de Provence and other cheaper spices;chocolate crepes that you can reheat in microwave;canned pates and calamari;wine;cheese.Any type of cooking gear can be found there.
Germany-chocolates;wine;stainless knives;great toiletries from the DM drug store.
England-tea(cozy);smoked salmon;cookies;toast holder for breakfast.
Holland-cheese and more cheese.

L84SKY Jan 20th, 2008 06:33 PM

Mustard, horseradish, chocolate from Germany. Oh yeah, and we developed a little addiction to Hanuta (sp?) cookies.

It's been a while but paprika from Hungary, Saffaron from Spain.

randola Jan 20th, 2008 06:40 PM

almost forgot.....really good olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar!

StCirq Jan 20th, 2008 06:43 PM

that should have been mezzaluna....

rosetravels Jan 20th, 2008 07:19 PM

When I was 21 and biking through Europe with a young man (now DH of 25 years) I bought a set of copper pots in Paris and strapped them to the back of my bike.

I also bought an entire set of large glass canisters telling him "very rare" and stuffed them in my paniers and inside my sleeping bag stuff sack. It's been 26 years and he points them out every time we see them at an ordinary store saying they're "very rare." LOL

I bring back linens, shopping bags, and last year in Italy, black truffles, a huge hunk of parmesan, knives, a pie dish and on and on. It's what I buy when I travel.

GoPlanB Jan 20th, 2008 07:22 PM

Hello cooking experts,
StuDudley, I bought a pound of salt from France from a health food store, it is almost six times the price of regular table salt, but the sea salt does make a difference, somehow the salt brings out the flavor of the food. How was you Herbes de Provence compared to a regular herb mix?

StCirq, are the tapenades tasty?
How do you pack your bottles of oils and vinegar in your luggage?

Did any one of you buy any truffles? I wondered if they sell dried ones in Italy? This fungi I heard is s a delicacy in Italy.

GoPlanB Jan 20th, 2008 07:27 PM

Hello randola, how do you use your porcinis? Are they similar like the dried shiitake mushroom where you use in soups and dishes?

GoPlanB Jan 20th, 2008 07:36 PM

Some of you mentioned bringing home parmesean, is there any big difference when compared to our Kraft parmesean?

Hello Rosetravel, you mentioned black truffles, where did you buy it from?

I will visit Rome, Florence, Venice and Paris in May. I want to buy something exquisite that will excite the tastebuds at home!

aussiefive Jan 20th, 2008 07:48 PM

Australia's quarrantine laws mean that we can't bring much food back so all I brought from Italy was

Aceto Balsamico tradizionale di Modena - 12 years old.

cafegoddess Jan 20th, 2008 08:09 PM

"Some of you mentioned bringing home parmesean, is there any big difference when compared to our Kraft parmesean?"

I don't want to be dramatic but the answer is:


I am not sorry I carried 10 plus pounds of parmesan cheese.

I always bring back parmesan cheese, dried porcini, pasta, herbes de provence and clotted cream.

randola Jan 20th, 2008 08:10 PM

for the porcinis we just soak them and use them ....very easy.

as to the parm......absolutely nothing like kraft!!! sweet, creamy, delicious. makes the stuff here taste like cardboard! brought back a couple of pounds and jonsing for more now!

GoPlanB Jan 20th, 2008 08:42 PM

Truffles! truffles! can anyone write something about this fungi that Italy is so renowned for? I would like to buy some if I can.

Hello cafegoddess, ten pound of parmesan is a lot of cheese to bring back, but like Randola said, 'absolutely nothing like kraft!!! sweet, creamy, delicious. makes the stuff here taste like cardboard!'
I guess it is worth the effort. Maybe once when I tasted it I will buy ten pounds too!

I am so used to the cardboard taste sprinkled on my sphagetti that I cannot imagine how my tastebuds will react to the sweetness, creaminess, and delicious parm!

rosetravels Jan 20th, 2008 09:27 PM

Hi GoPlanB,
We saw lots and lots of jars of truffles in Italy. This last trip, in Rome, there were a number of food stores with big displays. I bought mine at a street market near the Vatican.

The parmasan we bought was just at the nearby grocery store and it was on sale (really inexpensive) and we bought 3 giant chunks. 1 for us, 1 for our daughter, 1 for my sister-in-law. It was dreamy.

At home I always buy chunks of imported parmesan but there's just no comparison to the stuff we imported in our suitcases.

And as for the'll never touch that again!

lynnielegend Jan 20th, 2008 09:45 PM

In 1989 I took a trip to Normandy France with my then-husband. We had read about a little town named Ville de Poele (the town of the copper pots), where, as the name implies, most of the copper pots imported to America were made. And more than that, we discovered they had an outlet store! We purchased an entire set of copper pots and actually lugged them by hand back to the States! The cost was more than half of what it would have been to buy them at William Sonoma, and the town was charming, and we had something to split when we got divored! (I got the good stuff) ;->

cathies Jan 20th, 2008 10:59 PM

I was reading this and almost sobbing until I got to Aussiefive. I am also from Australia and we are very limited. How amazing to be able to bring back all those fabulous things.Last time when we came home a smart alec at customs tried to challenge me re some boiled lollies I had bought at Harrods duty free!! I was so tired/jetlagged I could have screamed. She let me through, she was just trying to be funny.

DeepaSingapore Jan 21st, 2008 12:41 AM

In addition to all of the great suggestions above, the one thing I always get back is Truffle Oil - basically truffled flavoured extra virgin olive oil. Lasts a long time and a few drops on a basic pasta dish before serving or grilled vegies or anything baked just completely lifts it!

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