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Canadian or Torontonian food to take to Australia

visiting foodie friends in Melbourne, need your help.
I wanted to see if there is anything other than Icewine and the best freakin maple syrup (where to buy?!), is there anything I can take that is worth the trek.

thanks in advance.

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  1. My cousins went nuts over Turtles. Yes, I know what you're thinking but they loved these and had never had them before. I took these because they were easy to pack and could get into the country without quarantine.

    I also took vacuum packed salmon and yes, maple syrup.

    I guess what I'm trying to say here is you may also be limited by the tough quarantine laws set by the Australian government. The items that I mentioned aren't exactly foodie items but they got in with no trouble.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Zengarden

      agree, agree, and agree with zengarden's choices :D

      a friend in LA loves brings back turtles chocolates when he comes visit Toronto... they're good!

      Smoked salmon is a good idea too... I'm actually in korea now and getting some vacuum-packed salmon brought here. I miss it so much >< no good smoked salmon here.. actually hardly any even exists here.... i'm getting it from Milbree Viking, they'll vacuum-pack it if you tell them a few days in advance from when you need it.

      You can get some good maple syrup from around Waterloo. If you take a drive north a bit to St. Jacobs or Heidelburg, you're bound to pass some farmhouses that advertise maple syrup.

    2. A bottle of rye??

      Maple cookies.

      Butter tarts

      Mr. Big bars.

      Red Rose Tea?? LOL

      Oreos (Ours are better than the US version apparently so they may be better than the Oz. version as well)

      Peameal bacon. You'd have to figure out how to keep it cold obviously. I've transported it on a plane from TO to Memphis.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        Don't laugh, an aunt visiting from overseas went gaga over Red Rose and brought back a whole bunch.

        1. re: Teep

          It's only available in Canada eh!! Pitty!!


      2. Icewine and maple syrup are two great ideas!

        Coffee Crisp. :)

        There was a similar thread a little while ago. Check it out for more ideas: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/498679.

        Have a wonderful trip!

        1 Reply
        1. re: toveggiegirl

          Coffee Crisp!! I've taken these to friends in the States who are just knocked out by the little wonders.

          If the OP is going to take maple syrup, may I suggest choosing Grade 1 Medium or Grade 2 Amber over the Grade 1 Extra Light? I find they have more of a robust maple taste than the lighter grades.

        2. Are you allowed to transport cheese? How about some nice Quebec cheese, like triple-creme Riopelle, along with a box or two of Lesley Stowe cranberry and hazelnut crisps. They're delicious together!

          1. If you're in Toronto, gastronom, you can go to Culinarium on Mt. Pleasant, in the first block south of Eglinton. All of the products that they stock are produced in Ontario! You should be able to find something unique there. http://www.culinarium.ca/

            4 Replies
            1. re: Yongeman

              When I goto the US, I am always asked to bring Kinderegg toys, Ms Vickies Salt/Malt chips (too hard to pack to goto OZ though), Malt vinegar in a small plastic bottle and Smarties.

              1. re: smr714

                Careful what you bring - the Aussies are really strict - no loose foods like cookies or cheese for certain... may not work here - but the friends I've visited in Australia had all been to Canada before - and always appreciated a jar of Tim Hortons coffee beans... Or bring some clothes from Roots - my friends loved Roots stuff...

                1. re: andyb99

                  i should also warn you - if they catch you bringing things they don't appreciate - they'll throw it out, and fine you...

                  1. re: andyb99

                    You realize that the word "roots" as in rooting is an obscene word in Aussie slang?

                    When I went, I did not want to pack any of it as I was meeting relatives for the first time. What an impression for a nice Canadian girl to be making!

              2. How about a bottle of Newfie Screech? That should blow their socks off.

                3 Replies
                1. re: JamieK

                  I remember my friend bringing some bottles of Canadian Club rye whiskey over to England for our friend who was living with a group of other expats (Americans, Aussies, Kiwis, etc.) and they all went gaga over the stuff. A true whiskey connoisseur probably wouldn't touch it, but I guess the attraction of "you can't get it here" applies and casual drinkers from other countries seem to love it. And it has the word "Canadian" right on the bottle, too.

                  1. re: Gary

                    While you ccan get tons of fantastic wines for crazy cheap (by LCBO standards at least) all over Australia, liquor is crazy expensive, so that may be nice. There was some Ontario company that made Artisenal gin, but I can't remember the name (tried it at Feast of Fields a couple of years ago--maybe Googling "Gin" and "Ontario" amy help?).

                    Fudge is another idea. But really, no good maple syrup at all, so you can't go wrong with it .

                    1. re: woodsey

                      Geez, if you were going to take liquor why not take some good quality Canadian rye?

                2. Here's a list of what you can't take to Australia or what you have to declare so it can be inspected (and possibly "treated") -

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: JamieK

                    Wow...not a lot of options left after getting through that list... So much for smoked salmon, which I thought was a great idea.

                    1. re: JamieK

                      This is VERY important. Australia is very strict on travellers bringing in food to the country. I would not recommend bringing any fruit, vegetable or meat products. When we arrived in Sydney, every piece of luggage was x-rayed before we left the secured area. If you did not declare anything and they found it, the fine can be very high. We brought some pepperoni sticks for snacks on the plane and they had to be thrown out. We were only able to keep cookies and chips.

                      1. re: cecilia

                        I guess they're still upset after someone brought all those bunnies in.

                        1. re: cecilia

                          And they have beagles sniffing around everything. But my advice is to take something you know will pass, or don't care if you lose, and then declare it - that way you get to go through a special customs line that is faster. When I went, the line of people entering the country without anything to declare was long and slow, but since they scare everyone off of trying to bring anything in.

                      2. Turtles are an excellent idea, I would also take some Reese's Pieces, my brother loves when I mail them. I'm always excited by apple juice in a can, and you can get moose/maple leaf-shaped pasta that is pretty cool. When you come back, don't forget your TimTams and Vegemite...

                        1. Friends of ours came to visit us here in AUS, from Quebec, just last month and bought smoked salmon and elk pate thru with no worries..

                          And yes, they declared it.

                          If I had my druthers, I'd ask for that cheese you put on poutine, only because I've never had it and there is nothing comparable to it here in OZ.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: purple goddess

                            you mean cheese curds? but then you'd need fresh Ontario (PEI, whatever) potatoes to make the fries, and then you need that elusive brown gravy. What I mean is, I don't think you can just eat those cheese curds by themselves or with just anything.

                            It's funny but there's a pub I go to in Toronto called the Duke of York and they serve something called Aussie Fries, which is fries topped with melted cheese (Monterey Jack I think) and real bacon bits with a ranch dip on the side. I used to be addicted to those. Don't know why they call them Aussie Fries. But they taste good with a nice cold Ontario lager like Creemore Springs.

                            1. re: JamieK

                              Huh. Never heard that called Aussie Fries - swap out the Monterey Jack for Velveeta, and you've got one of the very few things I miss about bar food in Indiana. It's disgusting, but SOOOOOOOO good, and the one and only time I actually prefer Velveeta to actual cheese. Mmmm...melty...

                              And FWIW, real, fresh cheese curds CAN be eaten sans fries and gravy - as a kid, a trip to Wisconsin wasn't complete unless we stopped at the cheese factory for fresh, warm, just-salted curds. One of my fondest adult memories is of driving my Grandma back to Chicago from Green Bay, sharing a bag between us. However, it's only worth doing if you can find really fresh ones that will still be squeaky when you land.

                              1. re: Wahooty

                                Wahooty, you should check out the Blarney Chips at Fionn McCool's. I was there last night and we tried them -- waffle-cut fries, covered in a vibrant orange processed cheese sauce and jalapenos and tomatoes. I was disappointed in the lack of real cheese (especially because Fionn McCool's usually has pretty decent food) but it might bring back fond memories of Indiana for you!

                                1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                                  Hey tfg, thanks for the heads-up - but what I'm talking about is a lot more similar to what JamieK described - the bacon and ranch dressing for dipping are essential. Different establishments had different takes on the form of cheese (that nuclear cheese sauce was the cheese in some places, shredded cheese in others), but the Velveeta was the only thing that really melted down into the crevices between the fries to properly distribute the ooey gooey goodness. I would say that I'll have to make pilgrimages to Duke of York and Fionn McCool's and do a cheesy fry taste-test, but man, I don't think my arteries can take it. But consider them both filed away for those occasions when one simply must blow a week's worth of healthy eating on a big plate of no nutritional value whatsoever. :)

                                  Back to the original topic, if the friends you're visiting are the sort that really like whiskey, then you might consider taking them a bottle of Alberta Springs or Alberta Premium. I don't think they're exported at all, and they're both actually 100% rye. On the other hand, if they're of the "eww...whiskey???" persuasion, Crown Royal and its ilk does seem to come as a pleasant surprise to a lot of people that think they hate whiskey in any form.

                          2. We brought over a couple bottles of Crown Royal and got them at duty free at a much better price than you can get at LCBO. Canadian whisky is extremely rare in Melbourne and what little they do have is Canadian Club as we couldn't find Crown Royal at any store (though we did find something on the Internet where a bottle was going for about AU$125 / bottle!)

                            1. ketchup chips? Sorry; I couldn't think of anything that hadn't already been said. Maple syrup gets my vote!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: KayceeK

                                When I lived in Asia I always took back Mexican fixings from Perola. That stuff is impossible to find over there.

                              2. Aussies love bbq. What about some interesting bbq sauces with the crazy names?

                                1. I'm from that part of the world and have worked in the food world in both parts of the world. If they are true foodies (and Melburnians take it seriously) they will have a passion for wine.

                                  Take them some Riesling from the Niagara region, which I missed whilst back down there. Especially the Stratus "Charles Baker - Piccone Vineyard" Riesling. Deliciously off dry and quite unlike most Rieslings from that part of the world.

                                  If not Riesling, maybe Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc.

                                  Unfortunately we, Australian's, have a very Aussie centric palate. Awaken them with some wines from the opposite side of the world.

                                  1. as an australian, i had a good chuckle over this one.

                                    I didn't know you could get different grades of maple syrup, so an array of maple syrups would be interesting. (The most common canadian maple syrup we see here is camp's).

                                    As for quarantine, yes it is strict, and this is mainly to do with our agricultural industries and the fact that our country is still relatively pristine - free from avian virus, anthrax, foot and mouth, and no reported BSE/CJD. As well as that our native flora and fauna have developed in isolation (being the world's largest island) and therefore susceptible to foreign species. Then as jamiek points out there have been a few introductions of animals that have become an issue in controlling - rabbits and cane toads (but that's not quite relevant).

                                    Root is not necessarily offensive, but it certainly can have another connotation... I think the t/shirt idea isn't bad... if someone is described as a wombat it's because he eats, roots and leaves!

                                    1. thanks for everyone's lovely response.

                                      one last question, where can one buy good maple syrup in the city?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: gastronom

                                        There's a maple syrup vendor just outside the main entrance of the north St. Lawrence Market every Saturday. Prices aren't bad. Also several vendors inside.

                                      2. i've brought maple syrup and icewine as gifts. for one friend in the US, i bring him ketchup chips.

                                        1. This may sound crazy, and certainly not light to carry, but I LOVE Habitant Pea Soup. When I lived in the U.S. I used to have friends/family bring me a can or two when they would come for a visit. Not sure if it is really "authentic" French-Canadian pea soup, but it sure is comfort food for me and I think only available in Canada.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: jenhammy

                                            What about dried cranberries? I believe cranberries are only cultivated in the northern hemisphere, mostly in North America. I can't imagine cheese curds will be in good shape after all the travel hours unrefrigerated, but I'm sure some grade B maple syrup, icewine or other Ontario quality wines or Canadian liquors would all make wonderful gifts. I remember loving those maple leaves made out of maple sugar. If you can get some of those, they're sure to be gobbled up.

                                            1. re: jenhammy

                                              oh yeah, i had a request from a friend once for habitant vegetable (or was it minestrone) soup after she moved down south.

                                            2. Clamato juice...lest you be saddled with bloody mary's only...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. If your friends like to cook, another idea would be to bring them some Canadian recipes... butter tarts, poutine, tartiere, peameal bacon sandwiches, etc.... gets around some of the good suggestions above not allowed by the quarantine. Of course they might have to substitute some ingredients.

                                                1. I have someone from Australia staying with me at the moment and she has gone crazy over Reese's Peanut Butter cups. She also went out and bought "spiced rum" which she says they love and can only get here. Not being much of a run drinker, I didn't even know we had such a thing.