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What Classic French Cooking Products Should I Bring Home to the US?

Hi Chow Hounds! My friend is returning from France in a few months and I've asked him to bring me some classic french packaged food products back to the US. This started because I was looking for Chestnut jam and couldn't find any - even in specialty stores! Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should ask him to bring back that can't be easily found in the US? Dijon mustards? Sauces? Baking products? Images of the products would be awesome! Just to note it can't be a meat, raw or dried, or fresh produce products due to US custom regulations. Thank you in advance!

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  1. Bonnat is still the best commercial chocolatier in France. Have your friend go to Lafayette Gourmet and get you its Chuao and Equateur varietals.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 75 percent cacao

      Excellent advice. Bonnat has a number of new single-origin chocolate bars that should absolutely be tried.

    2. He can bring unpasteurized young cheeses that we covet here, but can't be imported in commercial quantities. As much as he can carry. Make a mule out of him! Reblochon should be on the list, and Epoisses.

      1. Lucky you! I'd ask for Michel Cluizel chocolate (my favorite), and baking items such as flour and sugar just to experiment with to see how they differ from what's offered here. If you'll see him soon after he arrives back in the US, Laduree macarons would be another thing to ask for (still on my wishlist!)

        1. I just went to Paris for work in July and cited David Lebowitz' blog post about things to bring back from Paris:
          http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/09/.... The grey salt ended up to be the most commonly used in my kitchen + most different. I also got many different sampler sets of mustard and jams which we use almost daily :) Made a note of my favs and will get big bottles of those next time I'm back.

          I'm also a huge fan of all the different types of bouillon they have in Europe that they don't sell here. Mushroom, parsley/dill/basil (it's 1 cube with all 3, "bouquet garni" or something), veal, Maggi's Kub Or (http://www.coursesenfrance.com/compon...) which is great for adding to quinoa/pasta/whatever cooking water...

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobabear

            Oh and dried mushrooms of different varieties that are dirt cheap compared to the states! I have so many mushrooms...

            Since you mentioned packaged foods, my secret love are the powered sauces that aren't easily available here. Bernaise, chanterelle, etc... Really cheap and really fun to use on different things!

          2. Awesome suggestions so far! Definitely want to hear more! Has anyone tried any of the products from this website? http://www.yumsugar.com/Stocking-Fren...