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What Italian food items do you bring back to the U.S.?

lynnlato Jul 16, 2012 01:22 PM

I'm heading to Italy in a few weeks and I've been mulling over what I want to bring home with me. I will be visiting a friend whose in-laws own an olive orchard and so I hope to bring home some olive oil.

What do you bring home that isn't readily available here in the states?

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  1. meatnveg RE: lynnlato Jul 16, 2012 01:27 PM

    Canadian here. I always bring back/ask for:
    - As many of the Kinder chocolates as they can fit (and then some)
    - Local Cheese that may be unique to the region (hard cheese is allowed by customs here)
    - Amaretti cookies from a bakery
    - Giandutto (if they are in/around Torino)

    1. e
      ekc RE: lynnlato Jul 16, 2012 01:36 PM

      Partially it depends on what part of Italy I am going to. Where are you headed?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ekc
        lynnlato RE: ekc Jul 16, 2012 01:42 PM

        Headed to Florence, Lucca, Lake Garda & some wineries there, Levanto & Cinque Terre and one night in Rome.

        Sounds good meatnveg! Good Chocolates are a must. And maybe some hard cheese too. Cookies... yum.

        1. re: lynnlato
          e
          ekc RE: lynnlato Jul 16, 2012 05:03 PM

          Guido Gobino chocolates (preferrably with salt)
          Capers
          Spices (from Campo di Fiori)
          Anything at Roscioli in Rome - this year it will be Colatura by Acquapazza and canned tuna
          Coffee and cups from Sant' Eustacchio in Rome
          Dario Checchini's Profumo di Chianti if you can find it outside of Panzano

      2. c
        cmm2 RE: lynnlato Jul 16, 2012 01:46 PM

        Olive oil, honey, confitura, capers (if in Sicily)

        1. grandpamarian RE: lynnlato Jul 16, 2012 06:05 PM

          Rio Mar tuna
          Olive oil (if it's in the fall, after the new oil)
          Honey with truffles
          Preserves and condimenti

          Cioccolato di Modica if in Sicily

          If the photo attaching works, there should be a picture of what I bought at the market in Siracusa this past May.....

           
          2 Replies
          1. re: grandpamarian
            lynnlato RE: grandpamarian Jul 17, 2012 11:22 AM

            Wow! Do you take an extra suitcase or bag for all that deliciousness?

            1. re: lynnlato
              grandpamarian RE: lynnlato Jul 17, 2012 12:24 PM

              I should have. Clearly, I overdid. A lightweight small duffle would have been nice.

          2. Kat RE: lynnlato Jul 16, 2012 06:17 PM

            Olive oil direct om the producer, wine, bottled anchovies, pasta, packaged risotto (good for quick meals but expensive and hard to find here), pasta in shapes not easily found here (for example, the kind shaped like priests' hats).

            1. jen kalb RE: lynnlato Jul 17, 2012 11:29 AM

              I may be alone in this but I usually bring back big country breads (of the type that keep well( if they are available in the area I am visiting. From Rome, I look for the Lariano and genzano loaves which are several pounds. They will keep me in Italy for a week after my return. last trip we found nothing of this sort in Milan, so were out of luck.

              Regional and special liqueurs, always keep my eyes out for these.

              Olive oil from a region or source that has meaning to you. We bring back the oil from Lago di Garda region, when we visit there, for example, not that common in US.

              Honey - especially corbezzolo which i very expensive here in the US.
              Cheese, of the kind that is importable, We often bring in a big cut of pecorino or parmigiano - even though its available at home, we still enjoy.

              9 Replies
              1. re: jen kalb
                grandpamarian RE: jen kalb Jul 17, 2012 12:25 PM

                Bread? I would love to do that. But always thought it wasn't allowed, although I haven't checked in decades. Do you have it sealed?

                1. re: grandpamarian
                  jen kalb RE: grandpamarian Jul 17, 2012 02:55 PM

                  no, absolutely not.. why would bread be prohibited? We have brought back baked goods as well, no problem.

                  and I forgot to mention funghi porcini, either the big packs or smaller quantities from a grocer.
                  You tend to have more control over quality buying by the etto that way.

                  1. re: jen kalb
                    grandpamarian RE: jen kalb Jul 17, 2012 06:02 PM

                    You are so right, I did a quick check on the US Customs site. I am (nearly) sure that breads were prohibited at one point, but it could have been as long as thirty years ago. I remember buying a great loaf and having to finish it on the plane ride home.

                    See what one can learn on Chowhound!

                    I buy porcini too.

                    1. re: grandpamarian
                      erica RE: grandpamarian Jul 18, 2012 05:44 AM

                      I also bring back bread, if the local bread is great, as it was in Basilicata. I also bring lots of packaged taralli and other snacks if made in the area I am visiting.

                      Look for the famous dessert wines of the Cinque Terre, if you like those, and the flat sheets of testaroli pasta which you should find in Levanto although I think they originate further inland:

                      http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Xh_kTffGKHM...

                      And local shapes like croxetti.

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/681288

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/495738

                      1. re: erica
                        b
                        bob96 RE: erica Jul 18, 2012 03:42 PM

                        Local, special-occasion treats that are not available here: artisanal torrone and taralli; Calabrian sweet wines like Moscato di Saracena or Greco (or Mantonico) di Bianco, among the best anywhere; small-grower extra virgin oils from hard to get areas or cultivars; rosolii, amari, and other festive spirits (Cent'erbe, bergamino) not found here. Next time, I'll try breads, too.

                        1. re: bob96
                          f
                          FataMagistra RE: bob96 Jul 18, 2012 08:44 PM

                          When in Siena, as many ricciarelli (soft almond cookies) from Nannini as I can fit in my luggage.

                          When in Greve, vacuum-packed dried, cured meats from Falorni.

                          Anywhere there is a Billa, Coop or other supermarket, the addictively delicious but super-cheap lemon cookies from (of all people) Mulino Bianco.

                          In markets, bags of sun-dried tomatoes at a steal.

                          And as others have already mentioned, local treats and regional specialties not available anywhere else.

                          (I also have a special fondness for little things like the papaya and lime flavored Tic Tac candy, but I don't think that's what the OP had in mind :)

                          1. re: FataMagistra
                            lynnlato RE: FataMagistra Jul 19, 2012 09:47 AM

                            Actually... we were eating tic tacs the other day and I wondered why we didn't more exotic flavors! Ha! I mean spearmint, cherry and orange is all they could come up with here in the states?

                            I'll have to keep an eye out for papaya and lime tic tacs. ;-)

                            1. re: lynnlato
                              f
                              FataMagistra RE: lynnlato Jul 19, 2012 08:15 PM

                              I hope you find it and like it! We got ours at a regular Billa supermarket - which is also where we get the Mulino Bianco lemon cookies I mentioned. Honestly, they're cheap, ubiquitous but pretty good - try some! :)

                              (and at the risk of going off-topic, I've often wondered why we only get the same few flavors for chips here in our massive supermarkets, but when you go to the UK you get all sorts of weird and wonderful flavors for crisps ... yum!)

                              1. re: FataMagistra
                                lynnlato RE: FataMagistra Jul 20, 2012 06:04 PM

                                Exotic tic-tacs and Mulino Bianco lemon cookies. Got it!

                                Off-topic: I think we fail miserably at flavored chips! The best variety and flavors I have encountered here in the states is Zapps out of Louisiana. Their Voodoo flavor is a spicy vinegar and is SO addictive! ;-)

              2. vanderb RE: lynnlato Jul 19, 2012 01:52 AM

                Just got back from Rome, we bought: 1 bottle of very good Lazio biodynamic white wine, 4 medium sized scarmoza cheeses for the BBQ, inexpensive pine nuts, bottarga and a selection of dried spice/herb mixes for pasta from a shop that specialized in Sardinian products.... and a block of pink Himilayan salt as I have not seen it available here in the Czech Republic. The only thing we really wanted to bring back and didn't, were some of the small Roman zuccini's that were availalbe at all the veg vendors in the Trionfale market.

                1. minchilli RE: lynnlato Jul 19, 2012 06:08 AM

                  Farro! It's so expensive in the States, it's what i always bring as gifts for people.

                  Also, I'm a bit of a bean fanatic. So I always pick up bags of weird and wonderful beans as I come across them. Some for me to cook with here, but an extra bag or two to bring back to the states as gifts.

                  www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: minchilli
                    b
                    bob96 RE: minchilli Jul 19, 2012 07:12 AM

                    Online in the US, farro can run from $8-$14'lb, inc. organic and estate versions. What's the range in Italy?

                    1. re: minchilli
                      grandpamarian RE: minchilli Jul 19, 2012 08:29 AM

                      Farro is no longer expensive in the US, at least not in the Northeast (unless of course you buy it in Eataly). I don't have a handy price check with me but it's available in any decent Italian grocery, and in Fairway, several varieties. Whole Foods too, of coursse, but there it is expensive. So I don't bring it back anymore.

                      1. re: grandpamarian
                        jen kalb RE: grandpamarian Jul 19, 2012 08:34 AM

                        yes, I dont have my receipt from fairway, but I think its about $5 for 500g

                    2. arashall RE: lynnlato Jul 19, 2012 07:43 AM

                      In Florence, red pepper jam from the Conti family's shop in the central market. It lasted a year in the fridge, but I still miss it. It's great with all that hard cheese, as is a really great balsamic vinegar that will be pricy, but better than what you can easily get at home. And LOTS of amaretti, because they keep well, and it's sad when you eat the last one on the plane. At an agriturismo in Calabria we were served a fabulous topping on our gelato that turned out to be fig syrup (deep, dark, rich, amazing) that is just a by product of making fig preserves that she used in her personal kitchen. The owner happily sold us a liter bottle for 5 euros. One of the best things I've ever brought home. Watch out for little local gems like that which may not have any official production and marketing. Now you have me dreaming and drooling! Have fun!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: arashall
                        jen kalb RE: arashall Jul 19, 2012 08:16 AM

                        curious, what agriturismo was that in Calabria? sounds very hospitable.

                      2. visciole RE: lynnlato Jul 19, 2012 08:41 AM

                        Olive oil, cheese, honey, truffle products in jars. Have fun!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: visciole
                          erica RE: visciole Jul 19, 2012 01:56 PM

                          No one mentioned bottarga?

                          1. re: erica
                            vanderb RE: erica Jul 20, 2012 01:31 AM

                            I did :-)

                        2. lynnlato RE: lynnlato Jul 19, 2012 09:52 AM

                          Thanks everyone, great suggestions! Lots of good ideas for food gifts. I'm getting hungry too. :)

                          1. j
                            jinx RE: lynnlato Jul 20, 2012 01:38 PM

                            Dried porcini mushrooms, so much less expensive. Olive oil, cookies, moustarda, chocolates. Hazelnuts if in an area that grows them. Pastas local to the area we are in that aren't easily available here. Just brought back bigoli from Veneto. Unfortunately could not find good quality hazelnuts there, but did manage a couple of bags of porcini.

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: jinx
                              w
                              wally RE: jinx Jul 20, 2012 02:23 PM

                              When I was in Padova a year ago, they were selling hazelnuts from Oregon in the market.

                              1. re: wally
                                j
                                jinx RE: wally Jul 20, 2012 09:03 PM

                                wally, too funny. We got wonderful hazelnuts near Alba a couple of years ago, fresh from the harvest and vacuum packed. I guess we'll need to go back to Piemonte for our next batch of hazelnuts.

                              2. re: jinx
                                jen kalb RE: jinx Jul 20, 2012 02:29 PM

                                where did you find bigoli in venice. curious? were they dark in color?
                                I looked unsuccessfully for a bigoli maker when there

                                1. re: jen kalb
                                  j
                                  jinx RE: jen kalb Jul 20, 2012 09:00 PM

                                  I found the bigoli at the Drogheria Mascari near Rialto; that's also where I got one bag of porcinis (I got my first bag in Vicenza.) The bigoli is indeed dark in color and I was wondering if that is how they should be (since I'd only eaten them covered in one sauce or another, I did not realize that they were dark!)

                                  BTW Drogheria Mascari also has an excellent wine selection. I forgot to add in the original post that of course, wine is one of the things we bring home from Italy!

                                  http://www.imascari.com/

                                  1. re: jinx
                                    lynnlato RE: jinx Aug 4, 2012 03:34 PM

                                    I'm curious, jinx, with wine... how do you pack it? I'm struggling with whether to invest in a more expensive Tumi hardshell suitcase (I found one at Marshall's for $300). Or if my sturdy softshell case that is well-framed would be okay for wine & olive oil, so long as I pack it in the middle of all my clothes, wrapped in ziploc bags and maybe even w/ some wine shippers (I work in a wine store). Also, do you make certain that the wine you purchase is not available in the U.S. before you buy it? TIA!

                                  2. re: jen kalb
                                    PBSF RE: jen kalb Jul 20, 2012 11:42 PM

                                    There are two common brands of bigoli available at all the supermarkets as well as most alimentari in Venice. Bigoli Nobili Mori is the premium brand; the name of the more common and less expensive brand escapes me right now. Supermarkets such as Billa carry so many types of pasta that it can get lost in the shelves. They are indeed darker than semolina pasta.

                                    1. re: PBSF
                                      a
                                      allende RE: PBSF Jul 21, 2012 03:31 AM

                                      Dried bigoli? Dark in color? Strange.
                                      The only bigoli I've ever eaten in Italy is that which is freshly extruded from a torchio and not dark in color.

                                      1. re: allende
                                        jen kalb RE: allende Jul 21, 2012 05:36 AM

                                        the traditional bigoli in the veneto was buckwheat. For example, the recipe in Veronelli's Venetian cookbook (from Fiascheteria Toscana), specifies buckwheat. Bugialli says in his pasta book that in the 20th century the government began to require that certified commercial pasta be made only from durum wheat flour, and soon even in the home whole wheat flour came to replace the buckwheat.

                                        Of course since bigoli is not defined primarily by the grain used, not all bigoli will be bigoli scuri.

                                        1. re: jen kalb
                                          a
                                          allende RE: jen kalb Jul 21, 2012 06:21 AM

                                          But is bigoli defined by fresh or dried?

                                          1. re: allende
                                            PBSF RE: allende Jul 21, 2012 07:26 AM

                                            The traditional bigoli is made fresh with a bigolaro. I have only seen the commercial dried form sold in Venice. They are made with whole wheat flour rather than the buckwheat that jen kalb referred to. The color is darker than the commercially made with semolina.

                                            1. re: PBSF
                                              a
                                              allende RE: PBSF Jul 21, 2012 08:00 AM

                                              In southern Lombardia, around Mantova, the traditional bigoli is made with a torchio, where the bigoli come out on the horizontal, not the vertical. It is made with 00 flour (not whole wheat), and is always fresh, not dried. Sauced with everything from duck to sardelle.

                                              I've never had dried bigoli, but it sounds like a very poor imitation.

                                              1. re: allende
                                                j
                                                jinx RE: allende Jul 21, 2012 10:49 AM

                                                I'm looking at the package I bought. The brand is Borella and its called Bigoli de Bassan, in a very attractive red and yellow package. Made for export no doubt (it does have the text in four languages.) Ingredients just say hard drum wheat semolina. I'm sure its a poor imitation of the fresh but nonetheless its a nice reminder of Veneto and something I've not seen in the states (although perhaps Eataly here in NYC has a version, they have a huge pasta selection.)

                                                found a photo:

                                                http://www.pastaborella.it/en/Prodott...

                                                1. re: jinx
                                                  a
                                                  allende RE: jinx Jul 21, 2012 10:52 AM

                                                  Is that Borella or Barilla?

                                                  1. re: allende
                                                    o
                                                    Octavian RE: allende Jul 21, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                    Edited: Just saw that Jinx added the photo.

                                                  2. re: jinx
                                                    PBSF RE: jinx Jul 21, 2012 01:12 PM

                                                    That is the brand that just about every supermarket and alimentari in Venice carries; and only the spaghetti length size. It is imported and can be ordered through the internet but I have not seen it in any San Francisco Bay Area stores

                                                  3. re: allende
                                                    PBSF RE: allende Jul 21, 2012 01:16 PM

                                                    Thank you for the information regarding bigoli and southern Lombardia. I had thought that bigoli was primary in the Veneto. Since, I have never eaten fresh bigoli, therefore, I don't know if the dried product is a poor imitation. I have cooked dried bigoli quite a bit and eaten it in simple trattorie/osterie when I am in Venice.

                                    2. sweetteach RE: lynnlato Jul 22, 2012 02:30 AM

                                      I bring back (and I live in Germany):

                                      Olive Oil from a delightful farm near Pisa.
                                      Bottled crema di balsamico
                                      Crema di Limoncello
                                      biscotti
                                      several chunks of parmesan
                                      dried capers
                                      dried tomatores
                                      tubes of anchovy paste - perfect for making caesar dressing

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: sweetteach
                                        a
                                        allende RE: sweetteach Jul 22, 2012 03:55 AM

                                        What is crema di balsamico?

                                        1. re: allende
                                          sweetteach RE: allende Jul 22, 2012 05:12 AM

                                          It is a very thick balsamico perfect for dipping strawberries...and my child loves to dip crusty bread in this too!

                                          1. re: allende
                                            Gio RE: allende Jul 22, 2012 05:22 AM

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665021

                                            1. re: Gio
                                              lynnlato RE: Gio Aug 4, 2012 03:37 PM

                                              Gio! Where have you been? I haven't seen you post in a long, long time. Perhaps it is me who has not been around the Home Cooking board in a long while. In any event, it's nice to see you are still around. :)

                                              1. re: lynnlato
                                                Gio RE: lynnlato Aug 5, 2012 04:04 AM

                                                What a sweetheart you are, Lynn. I'm still fogging up a mirror but doing most of my posting on the Home Cooking board... mostly COTMs. I lurk on the Italy board so I can reminisce about my past travels and see what's going on now.

                                                1. re: Gio
                                                  lynnlato RE: Gio Aug 5, 2012 07:31 AM

                                                  Well, since this is my first trip and you've already been... if you have any recs or tips or ideas, send em my way my friend! Good to "see" you. :)

                                        2. gmcguireinrome RE: lynnlato Jul 24, 2012 02:33 PM

                                          When I go go back to US from Rome I get get requests for:
                                          pocket coffee (summer edition - with the tiny straw)
                                          kinder eggs for kids
                                          Antonio Mattei biscotti (in the pretty blue bags)
                                          Leone candy in tins
                                          pasta from Gragnano
                                          Purgatory beans
                                          coffee - usually from Sant' Eustacchio

                                          www.gillianslists.com

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: gmcguireinrome
                                            lynnlato RE: gmcguireinrome Aug 4, 2012 03:42 PM

                                            OMG, I just googled pocket coffee summer and I think it was love at first site! I need to have these. Thanks for the heads up!

                                            1. re: gmcguireinrome
                                              a
                                              atcpa RE: gmcguireinrome Aug 7, 2012 07:44 AM

                                              Oh my! I am now in need of a friend in Italy who can get some of those cute pocket coffees for me! I can't believe I've never heard of them!

                                            2. j
                                              jmatturr RE: lynnlato Aug 4, 2012 02:10 PM

                                              Mostarda Veneta from Venice. Preferably not the kind that comes in bottles but the cheaper and hotter version in plastic tubs that is found in Billa supermarkets -- never saw it elsewhere -- in the Fall. Chocolate pocket coffee less urgent as it now can be seasonally found in the US.

                                              1. i
                                                IrishPotato RE: lynnlato Aug 4, 2012 04:06 PM

                                                This may not be a food item, but getting several tosta panes for use and gifts has served me well on our trips. They are nearly impossible to find in the US.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: IrishPotato
                                                  lynnlato RE: IrishPotato Aug 5, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                  What a neat idea for gifts!

                                                2. r
                                                  Ricardo Malocchio RE: lynnlato Aug 7, 2012 08:36 AM

                                                  Of the many items my wife and I returned with last time, the one that gave us most pleasure was an enormous chunk of Guanciale.

                                                  For some reason, it's very hard to come by (at least in Boston, though pancetta is ubiquitous) and the local stuff simply doesn't compare.

                                                  We forgot to include this on our customs declaration, something I note because we've since been told that meat products like this aren't actually allowed in the US and we're fortunate it wasn't confiscated. I have no idea if this is correct - would certainly like to know!

                                                  Another item we WISH we'd returned with - as there is only one West Coast retailer at present - is stemware by Zalto Denk'Art. Roscioli uses these stems and we were quite impressed (they're actually Austrian), paid a bit too handsomely for a set upon our return, and wondering if we could have found better prices back in Italy?

                                                  15 Replies
                                                  1. re: Ricardo Malocchio
                                                    a
                                                    atcpa RE: Ricardo Malocchio Aug 7, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                    The meat definitely would have been confiscated. On our return last year (one year ago yesterday...sigh) my brother had a few things from a deli in Parma that were taken. That was a real heartbreak!

                                                    1. re: atcpa
                                                      k
                                                      klc137 RE: atcpa Aug 7, 2012 01:58 PM

                                                      Not always. I have brought back meat many times. Get things shrink wrapped and they are harder to detect.

                                                      1. re: klc137
                                                        r
                                                        Ricardo Malocchio RE: klc137 Aug 7, 2012 02:14 PM

                                                        The guanciale was vacuum sealed - but still not allowable, only harder to detect?

                                                        1. re: Ricardo Malocchio
                                                          jen kalb RE: Ricardo Malocchio Aug 7, 2012 02:32 PM

                                                          thats right. Only a very limited number of pork products from major manufacturers are currently allowed in. an inspector took pity on us and let us through with some bits and pieces leftover from our kitchen on one occasion. but short of disclosure and possible sympathy (not to be relied on) you would have to fill out the form incorrectly lie to the agent's face and sneak it in. There could be penalties if caught. since we can buy guanciale in US from several producers now (including salumeria biellese, la quercia in iowa and batali's dad on the west coast (I think), we are not event tempted any more.

                                                          1. re: jen kalb
                                                            k
                                                            klc137 RE: jen kalb Aug 8, 2012 09:00 AM

                                                            This recent trip was the only time I haven't brought some kind of salami back. I just never got around to it. I did bring olive oil and cheese and I bought them half way into a two week trip and completely forgot about them so I didn't put them on my form. No problems with them. But you never know. I found the one time I had a connection through DC to have the most visible enforcement with a lot of dogs, opening of suitcases etc.

                                                            1. re: klc137
                                                              jen kalb RE: klc137 Aug 8, 2012 09:23 AM

                                                              Personally, I dont see any percentage in committing a federal crime. but , being aware of the duty requirements and prohibitions after dozens of foreign trips, and relatively compulsive I try to be accurate to the best of my ability,. Im not going to forget that bottle of olive oil in my bag. I am also mostly not a good liar. Im going to leave the salami smuggling to the italian stores here in brooklyn who frequently seem to have a few imported pork items.

                                                              1. re: jen kalb
                                                                k
                                                                klc137 RE: jen kalb Aug 9, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                                Where in Brooklyn? I'd love to know. I do like one sopressata in particular that is made in the US and sold at Di Palo on Grand but other than that I find it hard to find what I like in stores. And to get that I had to ask the waiter in Maialino what it was and call the company to ask who sells their stuff.

                                                                1. re: klc137
                                                                  jen kalb RE: klc137 Aug 9, 2012 10:33 AM

                                                                  I find that Italian stores can be very close-mouthed about the sourcing of the sopressata they sell. for example, coluccio sells a good one but they have never told me who makes it. I think I had better not say where I have bought italian sourced salumi since it is mostly illegally here, and just crops up from time to time, but if you nose around through groceries catering to Italians or other specialty stores, you will see it occasionally. Coluccio has a Parmacotta Rosi italian sopressata in its cold case now but I think its legal - its also not real good, unfortunately. Salami has a limited life span.

                                                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                                                    k
                                                                    klc137 RE: jen kalb Aug 9, 2012 01:09 PM

                                                                    Ok. I don't know any Italian shops in Brooklyn so I guess I'll stick to Di Palo on Grand.

                                                                    1. re: klc137
                                                                      k
                                                                      klc137 RE: klc137 Aug 9, 2012 06:24 PM

                                                                      I brought a hunk of tricotta cheese back from Sicily this summer. Anyone know where to find it in New York? It was so good.

                                                                    2. re: jen kalb
                                                                      b
                                                                      bob96 RE: jen kalb Aug 10, 2012 12:50 AM

                                                                      Jen, there might be a reason for the closed-mouthedness, beyond protecting the occasional soppressata that gets through customs. I once asked Lou DiPalo about his salumi, since at one point years ago they made their own, and he sighed and said that state and city regs are so restrictive and demanding that it's not worth it to invest in plant, equipment, labor, etc. just to supply his own shop. He identified Alpi in Queens as a major supplier to even large shops like DiPalo and Alleva, and their products can be good. Calabria Pork Store in the Bronx makes all its own, of course, and I suspect Faicco and Bari do, but I'd bet Coluccio gets their domestic salumi from Alpi and other similar suppliers.

                                                                      1. re: bob96
                                                                        jen kalb RE: bob96 Aug 10, 2012 06:59 AM

                                                                        I agree and am sure that is the case (that they get it from one of the local sources) . I am not sure how many NY salumi-makers there are at this point.

                                                                        Its nice to be able to select the freshness/degree of dryness of the salami.in any event

                                                                        I didint nean to suggest that any of these places regurly offer salami from Italy (other than the mortadella, prosciutto etc that is coming in from large industrial sources) what Ive seen is smaller packaged salamis with italan labels that seem to be present randomly - I remember years and years ago some fabulous wild boar salami at Eagle provisions - never seen again, anywhere.

                                                                        1. re: jen kalb
                                                                          k
                                                                          klc137 RE: jen kalb Aug 10, 2012 07:19 AM

                                                                          Alps (it's not Alpi) is the company I was talking about. They provide a hot sopressata to Maialino that is pretty good. I called the company in Long Island City and they told me to go to Di Palo.

                                                                          There are a few good ones that you can buy at Salumeria Rossi on the UWS. I have yet to identify one I like at Eataly. Although there is one capicola that is pretty good there.

                                                                          The one I used to buy at Balducci's when it was still a family run business on 6th ave was my favorite and it must have been an import that is no longer allowed because I have never been able to find it.

                                                                          1. re: klc137
                                                                            jen kalb RE: klc137 Aug 10, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                            I wouldnt assume it was an import - there were just a lot more independent pork stores at an earlier period.. I like the Alps product too.

                                                                            1. re: jen kalb
                                                                              b
                                                                              bob96 RE: jen kalb Aug 10, 2012 08:00 AM

                                                                              Oops--it is Alps, of course. In a five to six block radius from my Union St and Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn home in the late 50s and 60s there were at least 3 independent salumerie, not counting a couple of latticini. The prosciutto was always Hormel or, in some places, a fancier Volpi brand from St. Louis. And "imported" meant Canada.

                                                    2. j
                                                      JeremyEG RE: lynnlato Aug 10, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                      Olive oil
                                                      Some pestos or truffle sauces
                                                      Wel wrapped prosciutto
                                                      Hard cheeses
                                                      Anchovies
                                                      Wife likes the cream from the grocery stores that doesn't need to be refrigerated (it reminds her of the pasta with that cream she used to eat when she lived there)
                                                      Always dried spice mixes and pepper flakes
                                                      Sun dried tomatoes
                                                      Wine if it's a special bottle
                                                      JeremyEG
                                                      HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                      1. m
                                                        Maximilien RE: lynnlato Aug 28, 2012 05:29 AM

                                                        What are the good Roman (Italian) "children" candies that would be fun to bring back ?

                                                        When going to France, I usually bring back a large bag of Carambar for my work colleagues; I'd like to bring something similar.

                                                        Any suggestions ?

                                                        Thanks.

                                                        1. n
                                                          nyc2italia RE: lynnlato Aug 28, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                          Salt. I have brought back salt in large crystals personally from Sicily, as well as my beloved Salamoia Bolognese. Although I think I have now seen it in NYC. I am sure, however, that it is much more expensive in NYC than in Italy.

                                                          Coffee. Also have brought back beans from Sant'Eustacchio from when I went to Rome

                                                          Cheese. Parma always makes a great gift, and definitely costs less than in the States. Plus, with the earthquakes, they were selling the "damaged" cheese at super low prices

                                                          Wine. I like to bring back inexpensive bottles, but of wine or grapes I haven't seen in the States. It is always appreciated at dinner parties or as gifts when they have never seen it before.

                                                          Digestivi. Such as Vecchia Romagna, one of my favorites. I once brought back Vecchio Amaro del Capo, which leaked into my luggage, and then the next week was at Otto, and saw it behind the bar. :(

                                                          1. m
                                                            Maximilien RE: lynnlato Oct 4, 2012 08:04 AM

                                                            I brought back "tons" of stuff...

                                                            3 bottles of wine.
                                                            1 Limoncello
                                                            1 kg of Pecorino Romano, 1 pack of chitarra pasta (both, because I did not use them in at the appartment )
                                                            2 jars of "Fichi Secchi, Miele e Tartufo Nero Savini Tartufi" (honey with dried figs and truffle)
                                                            2 jars "truffle salsa" (http://www.toscanacheproduce.it/tartu...
                                                            )1 jar of "parmesan spread" (don't know what I'm going to do with that yet)
                                                            Some "lazy" pasta mix at the airport to clear off some loose change.

                                                            :-)

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Maximilien
                                                              c
                                                              chattys82 RE: Maximilien Oct 4, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                              How does it work if you buy stuff in the beginning of the trip and want to bring it back with you at the end of a 10 day trip? I've heard they wrap it a certain way so that it stays good (but is that even the case with cheese and other perishables?). Obviously it would be easy to bring back aslt, chocolates, wines, and other bottled things, but I'm definitely thinking I want to bring back some cheese, etc too. Thanks!

                                                              1. re: chattys82
                                                                m
                                                                Maximilien RE: chattys82 Oct 4, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                                I rented an apartment with a fridge; so it was easy. :-)

                                                                If I had a simple hotel room, I would not have bought all of that; or would have bought them the last day and "pump up" in the the AC ( be as reasonable and responsible as possible!! ) in the room to keep it as fresh as possible for the last few hours.

                                                                Hard cheese can be vacuum packed, soft cheese, not so much; If the store cannot (for whatever reasons) vacuum pack it, just buy a roll of plastic wrap and just wrap it all out tightly.

                                                                If you are doing multiple cities/regions, it can be difficult buying stuff at the beginning of the trip and have to carry it all with you all the time;

                                                                Also, be careful, also if you fly with "cheap" airlines with really lower weight limits on luggage; be careful that you do not over pack, it will cost a lot in overcharge.

                                                                Good luck.

                                                                1. re: chattys82
                                                                  erica RE: chattys82 Oct 5, 2012 04:07 AM

                                                                  I would buy cheese toward the end of the trip, no matter how it's packed, unless you have access to a mini-bar or other frig.

                                                                  I know it's been said before, but do take extra care in packing. As of last week, my suitcase now bears the aroma of Taggiasca olives, from a broken jar, to meld with the scent of jarred Spanish tuna from a previous trip. Bring ample supplies of bubble wrap with you if you plan to buy items packed in glass!

                                                                  1. re: erica
                                                                    jen kalb RE: erica Oct 5, 2012 07:18 AM

                                                                    Dirty clothes work well to roll glass items in. I usually bring zip locks to hold jars
                                                                    Locks to hold jars

                                                              2. p
                                                                pemma RE: lynnlato Oct 5, 2012 07:23 AM

                                                                Chestnut flour. Shoule be able to get it in Lucca, if it is in season.

                                                                1. h
                                                                  HungryHeidi RE: lynnlato Oct 23, 2012 04:29 PM

                                                                  Hi, I'm off to Italy (from upstate NY) for the first time in years and was looking for some suggestions exactly along these lines. I have visited a dozen times since 1985 when I was an exchange student and the things I have brought back have changed over the years as the availability of Italian imports to the US has improved significantly during this time.

                                                                  Thanks for the ideas here. Some of my own (not yet mentioned) are:
                                                                  1) Nero di seppia (squid ink)
                                                                  2) Cio Bar (thick, pudding-like hot chocolate mix)
                                                                  3) An Italian brand of Toothpaste (not a food item but it gives good Italian memories weeks after I return)

                                                                  There are lots of mentions of honey here but I thought that was prohibited because of its ability to spread apian disease and the ongoing trouble with honeybee decline (CCD).

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: HungryHeidi
                                                                    jen kalb RE: HungryHeidi Oct 23, 2012 08:02 PM

                                                                    what be brought home this time - note an intermediate stop in London changed our plans so we werent comfortable bringing items needing refrigeration - corbezzolo and another sardinian honey from Volpetti in Rome, a bottle of ligurian olive oil from EVO in Genova, a bottle of Centerba 72, picked up in Rome, a couple bottles of Rossese di Dolceacqua, a very nice lighter red we had not had a chance to taste,canestrelli and lagaccio cookies from the Genova airport, 300 g of fresh dried funghi porcini,and a pandolce antica from Fratelli Kleinguti

                                                                  2. t
                                                                    tiram RE: lynnlato Nov 4, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                                    I'm Norwegian though.. but I buy:
                                                                    Local wine
                                                                    Limoncello
                                                                    Cheeses (mainly pecorino and parmesan)
                                                                    Cured meat/salami
                                                                    Honey
                                                                    Any sweets that look tasty and we don't have back home

                                                                    Also, if we're near an olive farm in the fall we'll buy olive oil as well

                                                                    1. o
                                                                      OlaMadonna RE: lynnlato Nov 6, 2012 05:38 AM

                                                                      Rio Mare tuna
                                                                      Oil infused with white truffle
                                                                      Powdered saffron

                                                                      1. h
                                                                        HungryHeidi RE: lynnlato Nov 28, 2012 06:14 AM

                                                                        Thanks for the suggestions from here, which I've added to some of my own favorites. Here is the haul from my recent trip.

                                                                         
                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: HungryHeidi
                                                                          lynnlato RE: HungryHeidi Nov 28, 2012 04:10 PM

                                                                          Great pic HH!!! I too brought back pocket coffees and tic tacs! Why don't we have these flavors of tic tacs in the U.S.? They had rosemary flavored Pringles too. Now, I don't eat snack chips, usually, but those rosemary pringles made me happy on a long car ride to the coast.

                                                                        2. foodieX2 RE: lynnlato Nov 28, 2012 04:14 PM

                                                                          Finocchiona!!!!! I can never find the real deal here is the states.

                                                                          if there is any room leftover pretty much all the usual suspects that everyone has already listed.

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