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What food items should I bring home from Paris? Like Haricot Tarbais.

t14072 Oct 15, 2009 02:28 PM

Or other tasty things that I won't find at home. Maille mustard in those wonderful crocks I guess are a must but what else would you bring back to the States? Thanks.

  1. k
    kikisakura Nov 12, 2009 03:47 PM

    I have never really looked into it but from my personal experience, it does seem that each state has its own set of rules that goes beyond the federal regulations.

    In the past, I have had a few things taken away from me and they include processed meat/poultry products for my dogs! They basically told me they do not allow them in any form or shape including bouillon, jerky, etc (and it didn't matter that if they were for human or canine consumption). So, I am very surprised that people have gotten away with foie gras.

    Mushrooms on the other hand seems okay, both fresh and dry since they are technically not vegetables but fungi. But if I were planning on bringing back expensive truffles home, well, I would do some research and print a document that explicitly states that it is permissible to bring them into US.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kikisakura
      mangeur Nov 12, 2009 05:08 PM

      It's at least as idiosyncratic as you suggest. It varies from airport to airport and, worse, from inspector to inspector within an airport. And worse yet, many items are prohibited from"commercial import" but can be brought in in small "personal use" quantities. Foie gras is a nightmare, falling into such bans as canning process (Bush made it illegal because the French processing didn't meet our standards!) and bird flu (it may be allowed but not from areas where there is history of bird flu!). I think that there really isn't an ironbound rule at this time. Even the Department of Agriculture codes include a statement that individual inspectors may decide that any given substance may be disallowed. It's a joke unless it's your purchase that is being confiscated.

      1. re: mangeur
        PhilD Nov 12, 2009 06:28 PM

        This two pieces from the Dept of Homland Security website (http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vac...) sheds light on that:

        "Meats, Livestock and Poultry

        The regulations governing meat and meat products are stringent. You may not import fresh, dried or canned meats or meat products from most foreign countries into the United States. Also, you may not import food products that have been prepared with meat.

        The regulations on importing meat and meat products change frequently because they are based on disease outbreaks in different areas of the world. APHIS, which regulates meats and meat products as well as fruits and vegetables, invites you to contact them for more information on importing meats. A list of countries and/or regions with specific livestock or poultry diseases can be found at the Animal Disease Status page. ( Animal Disease Status )"


        "Fruits and Vegetables

        Bringing fruits and vegetables depends on a number of factors. For instance, consider the apple you bought in the foreign airport just before boarding and then did not eat. Whether or not CBP will allow the apple into the United States depends on where you got it and where you are going after you arrive in the United States. The same would be true for Mediterranean tomatoes. Such factors are important because fresh fruits and vegetables can introduce plant pests or diseases into the United States.

        One good example of problems imported fruits and vegetables can cause is the Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak during the 1980s. The outbreak cost the state of California and the federal government approximately $100 million to get rid of this pest. The cause of the outbreak was one traveler who brought home one contaminated piece of fruit. It is best not to bring fresh fruits or vegetables into the United States. However, if you plan to, contact either CBP or check the Permits section on the USDA-APHIS Web site for a general approved list on items that need a permit. ( APHIS - Permits


        Note: The civil penalty for failing to declare agricultural items at U.S. ports of entry will cost first time offenders $300. The penalty for the second violation goes up to $500. To avoid receiving a penalthy all agricultural items and present them to Customs and Border Protection for inspection so that an agriculture specialist can determine if it is admissible."

        1. re: PhilD
          f2dat06 Nov 12, 2009 06:36 PM

          perhaps I live dangerously, but every trip I load up on those delicious dried sausages, foie gras, whatever I want, just declare wine, coffee and chocolate, have never been stopped, they just stamp the form and wave you on, am always returning via either Atlanta or Cincinnatti.

          1. re: f2dat06
            RandyB Nov 13, 2009 06:40 AM

            Here`s what CPB says:

            Food Products (Prepared)
            You may bring bakery items and certain cheeses into the United States. The APHIS Web site features a Travelers Tips section and Game and Hunting Trophies section that offers extensive information about bringing food
            and other products into the U.S. Many prepared foods are admissible. However, bush meat made from African wildlife and almost anything containing meat products, such as bouillon, soup mixes, etc., is not admissible. As a general rule, condiments, vinegars, oils, packaged spices, honey, coffee and tea are admissible.

            Who knows "certain cheeses" means. The APHIS website doesn't even offer a copy of the Travelers Tips brochure mentioned above. Copies of the brochure I could find elsewhere don't mention cheese at all.

            1. re: RandyB
              kikisakura Nov 13, 2009 09:09 AM

              This is what I've been told and I'm not certain if it's absolutely true but if you declare your items, the worst that can happen is that they take them away from you. If you don't, then they'll fine you accordingly. A friend of mine forgot about an apple she meant to eat on board then got caught with it. The inspector was going to fine her $250 or something like that but she cried and cried so they left her off the hook. Don't think that would work for everyone every time.

    2. mangeur Nov 12, 2009 06:14 AM

      Melding several topics, we ace breakfast (cost and preference) by bringing favorite musli in ziploc sandwich bags, 2/3 cup each, packed in flat Tupperware boxes. We order cafe au lait avec lait froid and receive a 12 oz pot of coffee and 8 oz cold milk each. (= breakfast for 2 including room service tip for under €10)

      When the visit is ending, we take one empty box to Gregory Renard and have him fill it with macarons while the second box brings home our Epoisses.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mangeur
        t14072 Nov 12, 2009 02:01 PM

        This is a man(geur) who knows how tto seriously bring back the goods! I travel with bubble wrap, for little breakables, and on this trip brought along a 'Trader Joe's' freezer bag for the cheese! So the Mont d'or that I bought yesterday at the Wine Library in Springfield NJ was pasteurized? And the delcious one from Paris isn't?

        1. re: t14072
          Parigi Nov 12, 2009 02:17 PM

          Epoisses schmepoisses !
          Pasteurized schmasteurized !
          It's the ziplock bag I want !
          Can't for the life of me find any in France.

          1. re: Parigi
            t14072 Nov 12, 2009 02:59 PM

            Next time I'll bring some for you!

            1. re: t14072
              Parigi Nov 13, 2009 08:58 AM

              O Merci for the new Marshall Plan !

      2. monchique Nov 11, 2009 02:10 PM

        Une Parisienne?

        1. RandyB Nov 11, 2009 11:41 AM

          Cheese. Unpasteurized cheese. Even in a cheese like a Reblochon, the difference is tremendous. There are other threads on this, but basically, if it isn`t too runny or smelly, there`s no problem. On the front page of customs form, where it says "agricultural products . . . including food," you check No. According the dept of Agriculture, that means uncooked and unprocessed products. On the back you declare everything, including cheese.

          Some of the best shops will vacuum seal. Alléosse just packs to travel. Either way, I`ve never had a problem.

          In fact, I`ve often brought home Cabri Ariègois, a goat cheese that is like a Mont d'Or, i.e., very runny, and never had it questioned.

          8 Replies
          1. re: RandyB
            mangeur Nov 11, 2009 12:24 PM

            We bring home at least one vacuum sealed unpasteurized Epoisse every visit. I always ask for the youngest ones they have.

            I check "Yes" for "food" on the front of the customs declaration, then annotate "cheese, candy, spices, dried herbs, dried mushrooms, mustard" or whatever and check "No" for meat or plants. They will still ask me, "Any meat?" and when I say no, they let me right through. I do pack cheese in my checked luggage since I don't want to argue relative density with a TSA agent.

            1. re: mangeur
              RandyB Nov 11, 2009 01:16 PM

              Good point. Liquidy cheeses, like Mont d'Or or even a very ripe brie, are considered like gels by TSA. So put them in checked luggage.

              1. re: mangeur
                Delucacheesemonger Nov 11, 2009 02:02 PM

                Remember, Jean Gaugry is the only maker left who uses au lait cru

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                  mangeur Nov 11, 2009 04:55 PM

                  Precisely. At home, we can only buy pasteurized Berthaut. And adding insult to injury, we are asked to pay from $28 to $36 for the wheel. We buy Gaugry(s) for slightly under €10 and stash them in the lower back of the fridge where they keep well for some 4 weeks.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                    RandyB Nov 12, 2009 01:35 AM

                    I assume you mean that Gaugry is the only maker of raw milk Epoisses, not something more general or sinister! (Given the trends of the EU, almost any regulation is imaginable.)

                    1. re: RandyB
                      mangeur Nov 12, 2009 06:04 AM

                      I believe the regulation is ours, not EU. Regulation or no, Berthaut is what we find in our local shops.

                      1. re: RandyB
                        olivierb Nov 13, 2009 06:53 AM

                        Don't worry there (still) are other raw cheeses than Gaugry's Epoisses in France!
                        Unfortunately, the current trend is the generalization of pasteurised products and the normalization of their taste.
                        As a matter of fact, a documentary was shot a few years ago to criticize the increasing influence of industrial cheesemakers who stopped using raw milk for camembert, and who may cause the end of more artisanal ones.

                        1. re: olivierb
                          RandyB Nov 13, 2009 07:02 AM

                          One of the most unusual (even to my French friends) cheeses I bring back to the US is the Cabri Ariègois. It looks and feels like a Mont d'Or but is really a chèvre. It is raw milk and less than 60 days aged, but I've never been questioned with it in my checked luggage (and "cheeses" declared.

                2. mangeur Nov 11, 2009 11:28 AM

                  Just fell over this Detou reference. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives...

                  1. b
                    Bigos Nov 11, 2009 12:13 AM

                    While it is probably obvious to all the globetrottering hounds, I would like to mention certain aspects for the benefit of those who are new to crossing the ocean and are not familiar with the finer points of contraband.

                    Different US states have different rules concerning admitting foreign agricultural products. It is always a good idea to check with a local Department of Agriculture web site before departure to see what edibles you can and can not bring back fom vacation abroad. While some states may be quite relaxed about it, others are not, fearing introduction of pests transferred to the US via fresh or dry produce.

                    My experience is mainly with San Francisco agricultural check points at the airport and they are very strict. There is a bunch of friendly looking, but in fact quite vigilant, beagles running around with their handlers and sniffing luggage of arriving travelers. Once I got caught by one of those four legged officers with a forgotten half eaten airline sandwich stuck in my purse. How was Fido to know that no small living organism could possibly survive that nurishment? We were promptly removed from a general exit line, frisked, all contents of our luggage carefully checked.

                    Someone here mentioned dried wild mushrooms, which for sure would be confiscated in California. In fact a lot of stuff mentioned in this thread is questionable, so please check before you leave.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Bigos
                      Parigi Nov 11, 2009 04:35 AM

                      Bigos makes a very good point.
                      I mean, you take the chances you want, as long as you know you are taking chances.

                      Ceci dit, my husband and I have taken foie gras to the US many times, and always the kind in a jar (we despise the canned kind). We always declared them. Last time my husband brought foie gras to Chicago even. He was steerd to a series of 4 customs officialos. Each one asked him if the jar was "commercial packed". He said yes, and the official told him to see the next one.

                      Lastly, a wonderful store in the 9th sells goodies made in monasteries: lots of jams, olive oil, soaps, wines, liqueurs, chocolates (addictively excellent!) books, even aprons and espadrilles. Comptoir des Abbesses on rue Fléchier.

                      1. re: Bigos
                        souphie Nov 13, 2009 08:36 AM

                        Yeah, California sucks. At least as far as bringing food is concerned.

                        1. re: souphie
                          RandyB Nov 13, 2009 08:58 AM

                          I've only cleared customs in DC (Dulles) and Chicago. They don't seem to care about anything but drugs.

                          1. re: RandyB
                            mangeur Nov 15, 2009 01:00 PM

                            Nope. Dulles is our change of planes stop. They ask about meat every time and then about "feathered stuff". I don't know the thrust of this last one, foie gras or bird flu.

                      2. beaulieu Nov 9, 2009 04:55 PM

                        I would suggest the little round cardboard boxes of fond de veau, fond de volaille and fumée de poisson that you can find in any grocery store. If you are not a purist about stocks etc, they are very useful for enhancing flavors. I also bring back several flat packages of brick, which I find easier to work with than filo.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: beaulieu
                          mangeur Nov 10, 2009 07:51 AM

                          Shhhhhh. Never admit that you use these (110gr.) powdered fonds! They are my secret weapon in braises and sauces. In fact, I go through so many that I have started buying the 800gr. plastic pails at Detou. The small containers are around €3 each; the industrial size around €24. I keep the large containers in the freezer and refill the small ones for kitchen use.

                          1. re: mangeur
                            PhilD Nov 10, 2009 10:12 AM

                            Mangeur, are the small ones not cheaper? Buy eight and you get 880gr for €24 rather than 800gr.

                            1. re: PhilD
                              mangeur Nov 10, 2009 05:05 PM

                              Sorry. I wrote from our weekend house and didn't have access to the larger package. It is 900gr. But in all events, the manager at Detou vowed that their product was "chef" quality and, indeed, better than I was buying at retail, and there is also the convenience of insuring a supply between visits.

                        2. mangeur Oct 18, 2009 05:49 AM

                          Find a large assortment of sel at Detou, also large range of Edmond Fallot mustards. Sorry to keep beating this horse, but it really has to be seen to be believed.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mangeur
                            t14072 Nov 9, 2009 01:26 PM

                            Thank you all for the suggestions. I brought back candy, cheese, mustard but my favorite is the Kari Gosse spice mix from l'Epicerie Bruno. Well worth going back for (closed on Monday) Bruno was wonderful, explaining all the spice mix, chilis, and curries. But this blend, the Kari Gosse, was so perfect on our Striped Bass last night at home that I definitely would recommend bringing some home from Paris. And when it runs out I will just have to fly over and get some more!

                            1. re: t14072
                              mangeur Nov 9, 2009 02:27 PM

                              Word! ;)

                          2. zuriga1 Oct 18, 2009 05:10 AM

                            I always buy some Edmund Fallot mustard at Galeries Lafayette. For me, it's the best - especially the jar with honey and balsamic vinegar. I never seem to find it in England, so I stock up. I always get some Herbes de Provence - anywhere will do. It seems better when it comes from France. :-)

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: zuriga1
                              Delucacheesemonger Oct 18, 2009 07:50 AM

                              To beat the dead horse again, the Fallot is available in USA, but the unpasteurized Maiile is available nowhere else, been told the store in Dijon even closed down; thus Place Madelaine is it.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                porker Oct 18, 2009 10:00 AM

                                Is there any restriction on bringing in dead horse?

                                1. re: porker
                                  Delucacheesemonger Oct 18, 2009 11:13 AM

                                  Probably more difficult than live horse.

                                2. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                  zuriga1 Oct 18, 2009 11:37 AM

                                  Well, I used to live near NYC, but now I don't. But I know what you mean. I bought lots of imports at D&D back then and never felt deprived. Too bad I didn't know about the Maille a few weeks ago when eating my eggs at Fauchon. :-) I don't much like how *that* store has transformed itself.

                                  1. re: zuriga1
                                    rswatkins Oct 19, 2009 05:07 AM

                                    Couldn't agree more about Fauchon. It seems to be in a decades long process of continuous remodeling, with very little of interest inside. The final blow was when they took the glazed and fruit decorated fowl out of the window!


                                    1. re: rswatkins
                                      zuriga1 Oct 19, 2009 07:44 AM

                                      I wanted to buy some dried mushrooms (as suggested by someone here awhile back), and they didn't have any! I will try to remember that shop fondly as it was in decades gone by. :-)

                              2. f
                                frenchgirl Oct 18, 2009 12:22 AM

                                Fleur de sel. Any decent sized grocery store will have an amazing slection to choose from. If I were leaving France I think I would fill up my suitcase with it :)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: frenchgirl
                                  Delucacheesemonger Oct 18, 2009 01:08 AM

                                  True, but you can find Fleur de Sel as well as Sel de Guerande in USA for the same or even lower prices than in France, especially with current exchange rates.And a staggering selection as well. At D&D we used to carry 31 salts, 16 from France.

                                2. porker Oct 16, 2009 05:06 PM

                                  French absinthe, specifically Vieux Pontarlier.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: porker
                                    DaisyM Oct 17, 2009 05:05 AM

                                    If you can, stop at Poilane on your way to the airport and get a huge loaf of sourdough bread. It will be great toast and you can freeze the rest. Having that delicious toast wtih Christine Ferber blood orange jam made it less painful to be back!

                                  2. John Talbott Oct 16, 2009 04:41 PM

                                    Green lentils, La Perruche "raw" sugar (I know you can get in the US but v. expensive) and Valrhona Chocolate (ditto). Before the London terrorists mustards but not worth checking bags now.

                                    John Talbott

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: John Talbott
                                      mangeur Oct 16, 2009 05:55 PM

                                      Pay less for these (green lentils, La Perruche and many Valrhona products), John, at Detou. Enjoy!

                                      1. re: John Talbott
                                        banshee10 Oct 18, 2009 11:07 AM

                                        Not so sure about checking bags - from Seattle to Paris, we had to check bags anyway since we were over the weight (not size, that was OK) limits. It's 12kg for Air France cabin bagage, and when you're carrying a lot of books for the flight plus a laptop, it's not that hard to go over.

                                        1. re: banshee10
                                          Delucacheesemonger Oct 18, 2009 11:12 AM

                                          Took AF from Philadelphia to Bucharest through CDG earlier this year. At no time did they even look at my carryon for anything. But as you said they can whenever they wish.

                                      2. Delucacheesemonger Oct 15, 2009 02:48 PM

                                        Buy the Maille at their store on Place Madelaine, you can get the unpasteurized stuff, it is wonderful. Confitures, even Bonne Maman Intensee, less sugar and unavailable in the states. Chartreuse VEP available at store just west of BHV on street 100 meters off Rivoli.
                                        This weekend Haricot de Tarbais and other great foods at Salon des Fermiers at place Champarret. Foie Gras as well

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                          mangeur Oct 15, 2009 03:18 PM

                                          Oh, yes! The Salon des Fermiers! Being able to sample here before buying is a big plus. Make sure to take along a carrier bag.

                                          1. re: mangeur
                                            Delucacheesemonger Oct 15, 2009 03:37 PM

                                            Two big bags, with wheels if possible!

                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                              t14072 Oct 15, 2009 04:02 PM

                                              But I am not coming to Paris until the 24th!!! Now I am sad. Wait, I am coming to Paris on the 24th. Now I am not sad!

                                              1. re: t14072
                                                Nancy S. Oct 15, 2009 05:37 PM

                                                I plan on bringing back Christine Ferber jam.

                                                1. re: t14072
                                                  mangeur Oct 15, 2009 06:00 PM

                                                  You're right. So let's start over. First, go to G. Detou, located steps off rue Montorguiel, one of the remaining food streets in the old Les Halles area. Detou is a wholesale/retail shop that has extraordinarily good prices on stuff like vanilla beans, oils, (my husband adds) cherries in kirsch, many kinds of chocolate and yes, tarbais beans. Our purchases almost require a separate piece of luggage every visit.

                                                  G. DETOU. 58, rue Tiquetonne 75002 Paris Tel : 01 42 36 54 67. Mon-Sat. 8:30am-6:30pm.

                                                  And while you're in the neighborhood, cross Montorguiel on Tiquetonne and go to l'Epicerie Bruno, a truly marvelous herb/spice shop. Bruno personally travels the world to the sources of his products so he can hand select them. He even has, on occasion, the impossible to find Breton spice, Kari Gosse. If you are lucky, Bruno will be in the shop. His knowledge is staggering, his enthusiasm infectious.


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