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What European products are hard to find in the US

We're going to the US on Tuesday, and I'm paranoid that there won't be any Serrano ham, Scottish smoked salmon, good strong French Camembert or German paprika salami.

Are my fears justified?

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  1. I apologize if this appears a rude or intrusive question, but roughly where in the U.S. are you headed? I ask because the items might be easier to find if you are headed to, as examples, New York or Los Angeles, but more difficult in some smaller markets (such as where I currently live in North Carolina).

    1. When I travel I do the opposite of you, I seek out food and products that I cannot get back home. I can always eat what I have locally, but its a real treat to try the unusual.

      1. "Fear"? Really? Is there a reason you can't be without those items? Or are you just afraid of having to eat "American" food? I really don't quite get where your question is going?

        1 Reply
        1. re: irishnyc

          I like American food, it's just that as we're going over Christmas, and for a couple of days of Christmas, I like to have the nicest things that I like - for me Christmas day, at least, is not about trying new things, so I would like to know that if we go to an upmarket grocery store in Atlanta or wherever, they'll have these things. I read some stuff about having to get import licences to take ham to the US and restrictions on bringing in soft cheese, so I thought it might be like those brunch buffets you get in the US where they serve 'champagne' that is actually sparkling wine.

        2. You can get just about any food product online these days. Certainly nothing you've mentioned seems hard to obtain. If you're in Kansas and want to buy these items at the corner store, you're going to have a problem.

          1. you cannot bring meats, fish and cheeses into the US.

            I don't see why you can't get camembert in Atlanta or Scottish Smoked salmon but there are plenty of Jewish delis in Atlanta and they will sell great Nova. Salamis are abundant as are hams everywhere. Are you moving to the US for good or just going on holiday? Seems kinda drastic to be worried about food in America.

            1. Are you coming here for good?

              1. If you are going anywhere there is a Wegmans, http://www.wegmans.com, I believe you will find all that you want.

                1. Any of the foods you mention will be available in larger cities or good supermarkets (I'm looking at you, Wegmans).

                  Treating this as a REAL question, however, there are quite a few things that are hardER to get around here.... Mondamin Fix Saucenbinder comes to mind, decent herring salad, or good teawurst.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: linguafood

                    Teewurst and herring have always been readily available to me, but I've always managed to live near an established German community. Now good continental candies, sugar-free turron, Filipinos on the other hand --- those are nearly impossible to find.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      You can get teewurst and herring here, too. But it's not as good. The only available teewurst around here (boondocks, but with a Wegmans) is a big Schallenberger one. I miss the small R├╝genwalder... and the herring's just not the same. I always make up for that during my Berlin summers, tho: ODing on both herring salad and teewurst '-)

                  2. None of those are particuarly exotic or hard to find in American cities.

                    1. Some products are hard(er) to find in some locations; the same way some American products are hard to find in Europe.

                      Don't sweat it, don't be a snob, experiment, try different types of local ham, try New-England smoked salmon, try good local cheeses (yeah, they might not be "stinky Camembert", but they are as good in their own fashion), try California sparkling wine (yeah, they are not Champagne, but who cares, me thinks 99% of us cannot find the difference), ...

                      Like you wrote, you don't want to experiment on Christmas, but why not this year ? it will be something to remember! for good or bad!


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Maximilien

                        If you are going to be in Atlanta then you can find everything you listed at the Dekalb Farmers Market. It is one of the great markets in the United States.

                      2. I believe unpasteurised French Camembert is illegal in the US - so I doubt any you find will be 'good and strong'.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Peg

                          IIRC, raw milk cheeses aged less than 60 days are not legal in the US. OTOH, there are some excellent US cheeses (if different) that one might enjoy just as much (e.g. those from Andante Dairy, CA or the Hubbardston Blue Cow or Blue Goats from Westfield Farm, MA).

                          1. re: limster

                            Also, legal or not, young raw milk cheeses aren't impossible to find. There is nothing in place to enfore this law, no thorough inspection of imported or domestic cheeses for age. The law is mostly in place so that, if you buy a young raw milk cheese and get sick, someone is liable. Cheese mongers and domestic producers sell these at their own risk, though the ones that sell them do so because they firmly believe there is zero risk involved.

                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                              The cheesemonger in the whole foods supermarket I went to in Knoxville quoted this law at me, saying they didn't have any. They had a few soft cheeses, including a pasteurised French cheese there but they weren't very appealing.

                              I bought some 'proscuitto' but it was Canadian, I'm guessing there are import bans on the genuine stuff also. Not bad though.

                              Otherwise I was surprised to see a few things more expensive than in England, like fresh herbs, and a smaller selection of meats also. But maybe this varies regionally across the US. The carrots and sweet potatoes are a lot tastier than what you get in England.

                              The whole foods store had some imported British products like cans of Heinz soup from England at about $4/can, and English cheese, but I couldn't find any English-style sausage.

                              We also went to Walmart, the yogurt aisle there was weird compared to England, pretty much all of them had artificial sweeteners in, and seemed to marketed as some kind of diet food, the only one that didn't was something called 'Baby Organic'. The cheese selection there was grim, and the great majority of the store space was given over to non-food products.

                              I noticed labelling differences, there seems to be bigger notices about things containing artificial flavours here, but OTOH in England you'd get percentage meat content listed on the sausage packet by law.

                              Tastes here in Tennessee seem to be for blander, sweeter food than you'd get in England, which my wife (Asian) already finds to be too sweet for her tastes.

                              I couldn't really fathom the pricing in the liquor store, in England basically you have Spanish sparkling wine (cava) about 4 pounds, then Australian or Californian at double that, and French at double again.

                              Here the French stuff was about $65, but the Australian was a small fraction of that and there seemed to be a lot of stuff presumably made specially for the local US market with only 9.5% alcohol, not sure if there is a licensing reason for that.

                              We don't really have Egg nog in England, so that was a nice thing to buy, although you'd get fat pretty quick drinking much of that. Edit: just bought some more, having drunk the 'Organic Valley' version. The new one is not organic and contains HFCS, artificial flavors, etc., and is pretty nasty. Yuck. Also contains more calories.

                              1. re: mikehunt69

                                Ii won't even touch the rest of your post but I can assure you that there are no import bans on prosciutto from Parma or SanDaniele! There is actually some good prosciutto made in the US, though the price is not much lower than the Italian imports. Look for La Quercia brand if you are interested. And those sparkling wine prices sound crazy! Nor are there any restrictions on alcohol percentages in wine sold in the US.

                                Were you shopping for wine in a Whole Foods supermarket?