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What food related items do you tuck in to your luggage?

First time visiting this board and first time visiting Italy. Any special foodie items to tuck in to the luggage? Cheeses not available? Chocolate only in Rome? a pasta pot not to be missed or a bag of pasta to taste at home and remember Italy?
What's on your list.

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  1. There may well be posts on this subject on other boards such as cookware and not about food. I certainly travel with a few essentials, but it depends on the nature of your trip. I almost always take some kind of sharp knife, a thin plastic cutting-board and a corkscrew, in checked luggage.

    Don't worry about cheeses - obviously some won't be available there, but you won't miss them. You may well find the same pasta pot in your home country - things are so globalized now - Dry pasta is easy to take home and not subjected to any restrictions I know of, anywhere.

    Are you staying a hotel, a rental (self-catering) or something else?

    Some places where the food is very bland, I take along some hot sauce or spice paste, but there is so much flavour in Italian foods, even in the regions that are not "spicy", that I wouldn't do that.

    I lived in Italy for extended stays, studying and doing research. Food heaven. However, I need a bit of protein at breakfast, and Italians often just a tiny bite of carbs with the wonderful coffee in the morning, so be warned, and try to have some cheese, yoghourt or whatever.

    1 Reply
    1. Cheeese is available if vacuumpacked. I always bring home SALT from the area. If not a great sea salt then a Sale Grosso from supermarketo. Also I love to bring home beans epecially borlotti (cranberry). Definitely chocolate. Almost every area of Italy has their own. Pasta's are iffy as they can get smashed in luggage. The best thing I bought non-food related was a hair dryer. We've been to Italy many times and it has really come in handy. Any hardware store sells them. Have a great trip

      2 Replies
      1. re: drinda

        I would llike to see a citation that allows cheese, or not, based on whether or not it has been vacuum packed. I always thought this was a myth told by the vendors to assure nervous travelers. Seems like most cheeses are ok to bring into the US, with possible exception of fresh ones like ricotta.

        1. re: erica

          It's a myth. There's no requirement that cheese be vacuum packed on the US customs website. That said, it's probably better to vacuum pack it for travel so as not to make your luggage too cheesy.

          I always always keep a few gallon freezer bags in my luggage, which is great for packing food stuffs. On my last trip I got on the plane with call kinds of consumables, including local cheese, limoncello and grappa, panforte, risotto mix, specialty candies, and honey (I "collect" local honey when I travel). For nonconsumables, I usually bring home some cork stoppers with decorative ceramic tops that have pouring spouts -- they're small, pretty and make nice stocking stuffers.

      2. Here is a past thread on food items to bring home from Italy:


        1 Reply
        1. None sadly, I am subject to stringent Australian quarantine laws:((

          Having said that, if anything can tell me where I could buy some 'Nerone' brand balsamic condiment (I bought some from the factory in Modena in 2011) I will gladly line up in the 'something to declare line' and cry if they try to take it away from me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PixieM

            You mean the "balsamic condiment" sold at Acetaia Villa San Donnino? They sell it through their website. If they ship to Australia there's no need to declare anything. Just for the record, my wife likes Nerone better than their extravecchio balsamic vinegar.

            1. re: PixieM

              The Australian regs seem stringent in certain areas, but I dont see any references to stuff like oil and vinegar products, jams, honey, etc. http://www.daff.gov.au/biosecurity/tr...

              There should not be a biosecurity risk to these packaged products and I think your condiment is worth a try. You might check with your consulate.

              As you must know, there are lots of different products made with grape must/vinegar by the producers in E-R short of the aceto balsamico tradizionale . We like some of the balsamic vinegar condimenti quite a lot as an alternative to the higher priced item, so Im in sympathy with you.

            2. I always bring back a special bottle of Umbrian olive oil. If you are lucky enough to be in Italy late Oct-Dec (during the olive harvest), the olive oil is still considered new "olio nuovo" and has an extra tannic, grassy peppery flavor - it rarely gets exported to the states before Jan/Feb when its flavor starts to then mellow out.


              1. I always bring home at least one bottle of balsamic vinegar, sometimes olive oil and often some of the Italian dessert wines that are hard to find in the states and which cost a fraction of what they do here.

                1. I like to bring home a cookbook or linen item from places that I visit. Also salt from the region.

                  1. Lots of dried porcini mushrooms. So much cheaper in Italy than back home!

                    1. I am a sucker for flea markets and the resulting kitchen related goodies. Check out the appertif glasses. Any old copper pan is always a winner.

                      Although not food related, if you are going to Florence, get a copy of the statue of Hercules and Diomede wrestling. Always an attention getter.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        Ohhh. Flea markets! Any to recommend? And we will be in Florence. Thanks.

                      2. I pretty much live in Norceria Viola (Campo de Fiori) when I am in Rome, and every time I'm there, I really, really want to buy an entire slab of their superb guanciale.

                        Three problems:
                        1. What the hell would that thing cost?
                        2. I'd never get it past US inspectors and their cute beagles.
                        3. The thing is the size of a manhole cover.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: HandLikeAFist

                          1. not that expensive, 15-20 euros
                          2. most probably they would discover it and if they do, they take it away.
                          3. come on, it is not that big.

                          but if you are going to gamble: get a better one, from Roscioli for example, and not from Viola.

                          1. re: HandLikeAFist

                            We brought in a small piece of guanciale one year, left over from a cooking project - the inspector let it through. Ive felt less stress to buy this since la Quercia and others started producing it in the US.

                          2. I like to buy the truffle salt. It's small and not too expensive. I put it on my weekend scrambled eggs for the next few months to ease the pain of having left Italy.
                            Also--dried porcini.
                            I have been known to bring a salami in my suitcase too but that was years ago.