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Groceries imported from out of town

I'm new to posting but I'm curious to find out what sort of food Montreal Chowhounders smuggle back from trips outside of the province.

I just spent a weekend in New York City, and the only shopping I did was at a liquor store and a Price Chopper in Plattsburgh on the way home. I didn't buy much this time, but I stocked up on whipped sweet cream butter, some wine, Polar seltzer, and a case of Saranac. (Why is flavored seltzer so hard to find here? All I see on the supermarket shelves is Nestle mineral water that tastes like rocks.)

Sadly, my wife and I did not have time to track down any Lake Champlain chocolates on this trip. Normally that's priority #1 on our trips south of the border, followed by Virginia peanuts.

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  1. Carloads of breakfast cereals and chopped dates. If we go to NYC, then we also stock up on pickles and chutneys from Kalustyan's.

    1. Hello, Heinz Ketchup. The American version is way less sweeter. And as Bomobob says, breakfast cereal - why does a small box cost 4-5 bucks here in Canada, and half that in the USA? It's just cereal. Certain kinds of single serving yogurts that you can't find here also such as this: http://www.pinballnews.com/news/youss... and this: http://www.brandchannel.com/images/Fe...

      1. About the only thing I seriously bring in is quality Niagara wines from the big LCBO on Rideau Street in Ottawa, and some other wines unavailable here.

        I return with various things when I am in Europe at conferences, but with the heightened security I certainly wouldn't try smuggling extra bottles of wine - so just bring in two, and various supermarket products unavailable here or much cheaper abroad.

        1. Jif, King Arthur unbleached bread flour, assorted delicious flavoured vinegars - so much cheaper than here and well just weirdy stuff you can't get here. I love to try out new things and experiment with them in recipes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: maisonbistro

            Thanks to Kpzoo for reminding me. Bottled key lime juice too. By the case.

          2. We bring a lot back. When in NYC, we head over to Murray's cheese shop for cheese. Try Joe's regular and smoked fresh mozzarella, it's pure creamy smoky heaven. Don't bother buying wine in Plattsburgh and shop for it in NYC, selection is much better and there are many deals. I like Sherry-Lehmann, they deliver to your hotel (in NYC) for free if you order a day or two in advance.

            We also bring a lot of candy as this city is seriously lacking a good candy store at decent price. We also bring Vermont cheese, mostly aged cheddar. Also from Vermont, the frozen pizzas from American Flatbread are simply amazing. Good quality and very tasty. Whenver I can get my hand on a few 6-packs of Pacifico beer, I indulge. If we're near a Whole Foods, we buy whatever we can't find here like Muir Glen fire roasted organic tomatoes (can we find that in Montreal? Say yes someone!), lots of various iced teas, buffala butter (so creamy but unsalted).

            When in Ontario, it's mostly wine. We're actaully heading back to Niagara next month. I'm already trying to figure out where I'll store the couple of cases I'll buy.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Campofiorin

              The Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes can be found at some IGA extra stores in the natural/organic food sections (about$4). I aways get them way cheaper in the US but if you really need them and a trip to the US isn't on the horizon...

              Now, if someone could tell me where in Mtl I can find back bacon or Canadian bacon as they call it in the US, I would be a happy gal. I have tried several supermarkets with no luck.

              1. re: hungryann

                Back bacon used to be widely available in grocery stores. When I was a kid anyway. But I'd check PorcMeilleur at JTM. BTW, thanks for the pointer on Glen Muir tomatoes, I've got an IGA Extra nearby.

              2. re: Campofiorin

                I suppose our discussion of what wines to bring back should be held either in "Ontario" or "wine".

                I am astonished by the progress made in wine, especially whites, in Niagara and other Southern Ontario regions. I am very fond of the Germanic cépages (of Germany, Alsace, Austria) and find they do a wonderful job with those.

                Porcmeilleur has very good back bacon.

              3. Smuggling food internationally is a family tradition for us, but living in New Jersey and visiting Montreal almost monthly, we have a list of things we smuggle from Canada that we can't find or is too expensive in the good old USA.
                Foie gras
                Sausages from Atwater market
                Mangosteens
                Pate
                Smoked meat from Schwarz Deli.{better than anything in NYC}
                Farmer's cheeses.{Yes, we have Murry's, but have you checked their prices lately?}
                Chuck steaks
                French Wines
                All the stuff from Costco that we don't have in NJ
                As you can see there is quite a lot of groceries smuggled in the other direction as well, we love Montreal. It's people, history, restaurants, and markets keep us coming back time and again. ps: Wonder if US and Canadian customs read this blog?

                4 Replies
                1. re: currymouth

                  I hope not :D
                  Where do you get your mangosteens from?

                  1. re: hungryann

                    In season ,several greengrocers in chinatown carries mangosteen. It tends to be expensive.

                    1. re: currymouth

                      When is the season? Any grocer in particular who has good fresh ones? I once bought from Pap Pap and some of them were dried up.

                      1. re: hungryann

                        Pap Pap was one of the places we bought from but can't really remember the names of the others. I am lucky in the fact that my wife is Filipino and can spot a good fruit from a bad one.

                2. My BF has gotten me addicted to crumbled feta without brine that is simply delish and cannot be found anywhere here....that I know of. Also there is something hynotically alluring about American donuts that Tim Horton's just can't compete with...but I have a hard time tracking them down in the US these days...it's like mom and pop donut joints have gone the way of the dodo.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Aspiring Foodie

                    Feta w/o brine? Rinse it, remove from brine, let it dry out a bit (not too much) and crumble.

                    The best doughnuts I ever had were after Mass in a very small town in the Rideau Lakes. The church ladies had made them. Wonderful, crunchy things, worth every calorie!

                    (That should also go in Ontario - alongside Forfar's cheese).

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Ah what a novel idea--DIY! Never would have thought of it. But then, not much of a cooker or food preparer. Thanks Lagatta!