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May 19, 2009 10:06 AM

Food Gifts from SF for Vancouverites?

I'll be visiting my sister and a couple of friends later this week, and am wondering what would make good food gifts from the SF area. What do Vancouver hounds want from over here, that would not cause problems with Canadian Customs? I tried checking the "Be Aware and Declare" website and got this:

"Canada has complex requirements, restrictions and limits for the importation of meat, eggs, dairy products, honey, fresh fruits and vegetables and other food from around the world. You can avoid problems by not bringing these kinds of goods into Canada."

So there go the beautiful Kashiwase Farms white peaches that have just come into season. . . But I've already got some chocolate-covered grahams and shortbread from Kika's Treats, but I'm not sure I'll be able to keep my own hands off them. (I'm a firm believer in not giving anything I wouldn't enjoy receiving myself ;-)) And I'm also thinking of a couple of bottles of wine as my sister says that wine is expensive in Canada.

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  1. Not to counsel anyone to break Canadian law but I've never paid any attention when bringing anything back from anywhere and the no one has died here yet.

    Just sayin......

    1. Coffee from Ritual, Ecco or Blue Bottle perhaps? Also, I was surprised that cured meats, so long as they are from American animals only are allowed across the border. It was declared as a salami and they didn't check at all.

      Good wine is a great idea too although be aware of importation restrictions. I don't think you can bring much wine without paying ridiculous duties. You can always check to see if the bottles are available up here and if they aren't it's probably a great gift.

      1. Your gifts sound wonderful. Just so you know, Canadian customs did make me throw out my apples and berries a few weeks ago. They were in my Trader Joe's bag along with the rest of my lunch. Wine is a fantastic idea. I think you're allowed 2 bottles without paying duty, but again, I'd check. Not that it matters, but I have learned that if you're crossing the other way (from Canada to the US) then customs doesn't mind if you take certain fruit (e.g. apples) across provided that they have the sticker on them denoting them as either grown in Canada or the US.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sf toronto

          According to the website, each visitor is allowed 1.5 liters, so 2 bottles, per person. It'll be tough keeping it down to 4 bottles from DH and me, but the taxes on everything above that are prohibitive.

        2. Some treats (esp macaroons) from here:
          My relatives from SF always bring me a box or two of See's Chocolate (Rocky Road) - more of a nostalgic thing as I loved them as a child (still do actually...)

          4 Replies
          1. re: fmed

            Wine would be my answer, too. Especially from wineries that do not have distribution in Canada (i.e. boutique wineries).

            Other than that, I have a hard time finding the following items in Canada:

            1) Less common dried chilies (do your relatives like to cook?) and southwestern specialty foods like blue corn posole
            2) authentic andouille sausages
            3) artisan cheeses and hams from the U.S. (i.e. artisan cheddar from Wisconsin and Vermont; artisan hams from Virginia). Not sure if you are allowed to bring these in though, especially the cheese.
            4) Certain candy bars, like Babe Ruths.
            5) Certain candies, like frosted animal cookies.

            Another gift that would personally make me happy is rare or small-production single barrel Bourbon. We can get the big names like Maker's Mark and Buffalo Trace, but we do not get the small producers.

            I'm sure that there would be many more items if I thought long and hard about it, but those are a few that come to mind.

            1. re: anewton

              Third on the wine and cheese suggestions. Mexican spices too. Babe Ruths can be found at The Candy Aisle shops (and other similar foreign novelty/candy stores) in Vancouver, actually.

              1. re: kidpresentable

                fwiw :babe ruth the baseball player, baby ruth the chocolate bar

            2. re: fmed

              I've found that See's are a universally welcome gift (in my universe at least) and that Rocky Road is the hands-down favorite. After proffering various assortments, when push comes to shove, my friends, family, and in-laws, scattered over at least 6 countries in 3 continents, always want See's Rocky Road. (So do I. Best marshmallows in the world.)