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Oct 1, 2008 09:13 AM

Foodie Gifts From Washington

I currently live in London but am spending a weekend in Washington in a few weeks time. I am eager to bring, and return with, foodie gifts for friends and loved ones. I usually bring back Iberico Ham from Spain, Saucisson & wine from France, Aged Vinegar from Italy. However, I am at a bit of a loss as to what a Brit might miss in the States and conversely what i would want to bring back from the States to England. More concerned with quality than cost and bearing in mind I have only carry on luggage size is important. Any suggestions as to what and where to get it?

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  1. Old Bay Seasoning is something native to this part of the country.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      Also wine for the VA wine region.

      Are you interested in only DC/VA/MD specific presents or are you looking for gifts from the US in general?

      1. re: Elyssa

        I guess the US in General though something East Coast is best.

    2. Not the easiest for bringing back, but maple syrup is a possibility (esp. a decorative bottle).

      1. Since you are here on a weekend you could visit the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market on Sunday morning to see if any of the vendors are selling apple butter or other preserves. I would assume sealed preserves would clear customs.

        Maybe a can of Senate Navy Bean Soup and Maryland Crab Soup. Most local supermarkets carry them.

        1. You're friends and loved ones are quite lucky! Assuming that you are looking to bring back products local to DC, I would suggest:
          Virginia Peanuts
          BBQ sauce and/or a good dry rub
          Local honey and jams from the farmers markets

          1. I am not so sure how UK customs (or US Homeland Security) will treat these suggestions but here goes.

            If Iberico ham was a winner.... try a quality Virginia country ham (not a Smithfield).

            Wine from Virginia is very good. A couple hour drive from Washington will be a fun rip and at the peak of fall foliage in the mountians and at the many wineries. Try Rappahannock, Permund, Barboursville, all within a an hour or two and only 3 the of many possible choices.

            Someone suggested Old Bay crab seasoning... a good choice, but look for JO Spice from Maryland if you can find it... locally owned. Old Bay I think is now owned by Germans and perhaps available in Europe..

            Also how about Scrapple? What's that? -- It's the whole pig! Rapa brand " original" is the best.. It's a Delaware-made treat... on the order of haggis but far tastier IMHO. get a brick and slice it off in 3/16" slices and fry them till chrisp on both sides. A local favorite for breakfast with eggs (and grits).

            Which brings up grits! (its our local -southern US- version of polenta). Quaker quick grits are available at any grocery store. Follow the directions on the box, but add more butter! Also great with cheddar and jalpapenos.

            This area is well known for its apples. You might try a farmer's market for mant local goodies. You can browse the local homemade items, but buy some apple butter. Great on scones or crumpets!

            My mother has had sucess with flying (in a checked bag) fresh frozen soft crabs (Maryland blue crabs) across the USA (6-8 hrs) so I think that the trans-atlantic sould be possible too. Pack them well with extra ice packs. I would however plan on sauteing them within a day (kept well refrigerated).

            Have a great trip!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: JRCann

              the Virginia Peanuts are a must. but the Virginia Wines are certainly coming on strong. Perhaps this will provide some help: look at Eastern Market as well as wonderful Dupont Circle.