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Oct 3, 2011 06:21 AM

What to bring back from Spain? [moved from Home Cooking board]

October is going to see me in Spain, but maybe while there I'll discover something new that I want to bring back home. Anyone have any thing I should keep a look out for?

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  1. I think saffron is quite reasonably-priced there?

    1. Maybe some rare sherries? Too bad that so much foodstuff is non-transportable.

      3 Replies
      1. re: souschef

        I love to travel and had a long chat with an agent at Customs in Ottawa a few years ago. I am always looking for foodie gifts since the value is usually there much more so that in souvenirs. All dried foodstuffs are allowed: mushrooms, herb mixes,regonal spices, teas, coffees, and especially some great dried peppers which i often bring back as gifts from our annual Mexican winter.I also bring back pure Vanilla from VeraCruz which is packaged in a plastic bottle as opposed to breakable glass.No problems so far with leaking.I have returned home with interesting pasta shapes from Italy. Regional cookbooks/magazines are also a great gift for cooks.From Spain I would think Pimenton, Saffron, olives packed in those little Vacuum pouches, I might also think of lining the bottom of my suitcase with a Paella pan!!

        1. re: lovetocookPEI

          Why would you go to the trouble of bringing back a paella pan when they are so cheap here? Supposedly the best ones to use are the cheap tin ones, not the copper ones.

          I suggest that you try to catch episodes of "From Spain With Love", a really great program on the FN about the food of Spain. T

          1. re: souschef

            True enough. I have a massive Cast Iron pan that Copco used to put out iin the 80's. A glorious thing that I use for Everything. I love to bring back cooking tools as gifts. You can be sure to find a Mexican Comal in my suitcase every time I return from Mexico. Very handy for all sorts of things, especially blackening peppers.Friends love them.

      2. Many threads on this topic here, among this one.

        What you bring home depends partly on where you will visit. Common staples include but are far from limited to the following, which usually find their way into my own luggage:

        canned or jarred seafood such as ventresca tuna from brands that include Ortiz, Cuca, etc
        smoked paprika (pimenton) in 3 varieties
        saffron (please read up on different qualities before you buy this
        )Marcona almonds
        sherry vinegar (especially made from Pedro Jimenez grapes) ;
        olive oil
        Piquillo peppers from Navarra
        dried beans including those from Tolosa
        Good rice (may not be worth its weight to drag home)

        jamon Iberico, chorizo and other pork products are a popular item for some people to bring home, depending on import regulations in your area

        9 Replies
        1. re: erica

          There's no way you would be allowed to bring pork products into Canada. My mother once sent me sausages from Goa; I got a polite note from Customs informing me that the pig had been killed twice.

          In case you are allowed to bring back tinned seafood: on an episode of the FN program to which I referred, they featured a tapas bar in Barcelona (I think) where everything is canned, but supposedly delicious. Now if you can find that bar .....

          1. re: souschef

            The bar is Quimet i Quimet, but you don't have to go there for canned seafood. It's literally everywhere. The subject has been covered in many threads on the Spain and Portugal board.

            Berberechos seem impossible to find in Canada. I would bring back a case and a big bottle of salsa aperitivo.

            1. re: souschef

              Not sure about Canada but for the US breads, beans, nuts, aged cheeses, canned vegetables, fish and meat (pates, canned foie gras, etc.) are allowed. I declare everything on the customs forms.

              1. re: caga tio

                Always declare, best policy.
                A friend is a USDA officer and had to confiscate a whole undeclared jamon serrano (worth several hundred Euros) from a joker at SFO. He was extremely upset, to say the least.

                1. re: caga tio

                  I do like Mahon and Monchego and Cabales. Didn't get to try tetillas.

                  1. re: caga tio

                    If you happen to buy an extra suitcase to lug a jamon and you happen to forget to declare it, don't leave it on the kitchen table upon your return just to have the family dog pull it off and eat half at 4:00am...I'm just saying.

                    Used to be absinthe was hard to get in these parts. Easier today, but much cheaper and widely available in Spain.

                    1. re: porker

                      No fault of the dog, and a palpable reason for immolation. JMO.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        The dog? Or me?
                        If that scenario happened to play out, I'm sure the dog would have been punished into next week with a slipper...
                        I imagine it would be difficult to explain the situation to friends who took part on the trip and were waiting for the "back to Spain" party showcasing recently imported wines, absinthe, canned goods, and the epitome of Spain, a whole jamon with hoof still attached. I'm sure it would take weeks to finally come clean...

                        1. re: porker

                          I love happy endings!
                          Carry on, don't get caught or killed.

                1. re: Veggo

                  A former hound brought to my attention that only the tinned angulas may be brought back from Spain. I would have thought that it would be obvious to most foreign travelers that fresh or frozen wouldn't fly.

                2. Check out the website of, then only bring back the things you can't get from them. No, I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but I have found that they carry a lot of things from Spain. I'm going broke, because I can't stop getting their stuff, and they have canned berberechos and many other shellfish..

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DavidA06488

                    Many of the things that I have purchased in Barcelona have been cheaper than what can be found on