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Duvel

Random "culinary" souvenirs from the US

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I am about to embark on my first business trip to the US in (what feels like) ages. Naturally, I will use the opportunity to sample at least a bit of the local cuisine - in this case around Baton Rouge in Luisiana - but I am also interested in bringing some souvenirs home. This should be easy - given that I elsewise travel exclusively in Asia, with the odd Europe trip thrown in...

However, I am not overly familiar with the food culture in the US and I find it tricky to think of things I really "need" to buy because they are either tricky to source here or I want to sample them for the first time. So far - basically only triggered by this forum - I have on my list:

- Inner Beauty hot sauce

- Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuit mix

- a copy of Modernist Bread

- Peanut butter M&Ms

 

Any other "random" recommendations for interesting products I want to bring home to Hong Kong ?

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You must be bringing the BIG suitcase if you are taking Modernist Bread home!

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

You must be bringing the BIG suitcase if you are taking Modernist Bread home!

 

 

Not an issue ... I usually do a week trip with only hand luggage, so I potentially have two large suitcases with 32 kg each on top of that :D

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Since you will be in Louisiana I'd suggest Tabasco hot sauce. Pretty USA iconic.

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Definitely file' powder (sassafrass leaves ground into powder) for gumbo, a bottled Roux so you don't have make it (from scratch) a box of cafe dumond beignet mix. Just walk through the French market in BR.. You will find numerous treats. Bon Temps!


Edited by roger desmond Didn't make city clear (log)
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1 hour ago, heidih said:

Since you will be in Louisiana I'd suggest Tabasco hot sauce. Pretty USA iconic.

 

Look for the Family Reserve.  I have not tried it but I am tempted.  Suspect if you go out to Avery Island you may find some.

 

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I would buy canned fire roasted tomatoes.   But then we travel in a van.

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They won't travel well, but be sure to eat some meat pies while you're in Cajun country. 

 

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A suggestion: if you have the mailing address for the hotel where you'll be staying, you may be able to save a few bucks by ordering them from Amazon or elsewhere, to be delivered to your hotel.

 

I've never seen Inner Beauty hot sauce for sale around here. And a quick look at the manufacturer's website tells me that I'm not likely to. If you're in Cajun country, you aren't likely to, either. Order it and have it sent to your hotel.

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9 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Look for the Family Reserve.  I have not tried it but I am tempted.  Suspect if you go out to Avery Island you may find some.

 

 

I think the Tabasco Family Reserve is more complex and flavorful than their standard.  I got it at Avery Island.  If you have time you might find the self-guided tour interesting; I wrote about it here.  

 

Heck, you might want to take home a sampling of hot sauces: Tabasco's standard, family reserve, and green pepper (jalapeño); Inner Beauty, and Crystal, another hot sauce that's widely favored here on eGullet.  Have a hot sauce taste-off when you get home!

 

1 hour ago, Darienne said:

I would buy canned fire roasted tomatoes.   But then we travel in a van.

 

Canned fire-roasted tomatoes, yes...and Ro-tel tomatoes, a Texas favorite that's spread outward to other states.  Diced tomatoes with fiery diced chilis into the mix.  Those are two of our stock favorites for trailer travel.  @Duvel, is that the sort of thing you might like? They'd add quickly to the weight allotment. 

 

In the lighter-weight category: look for Zatarain's boxed dinner mixes.  We lean heavily on their Red Beans and Rice, with the addition of a sausage like the andouille that @gfweb noted. (I firmly support his recommendation for local sausages.) There are also mixes for jambalaya, dirty rice, and - well, you can see the full lineup here. They were my first exposure to Cajun and Creole cuisine.  I have no doubt that those dishes are better when they are made from scratch, but I still like 'em.

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The US pretty much dominates world almond production with my home state of California being at the top of the heap. Almonds come in all kinds of "flavors" these days, but you might consider trying the Blue Diamond Smokehouse ones; a very traditional gift here.  A small bag or container can be found in most markets and Walmart, Target and Costco have them in quantity.

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Also Canada and the NE U.S. are the "go to"  for maple syrup. There are various grades and flavor profiles. 

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Alo a recent Serious Eats podcast with former White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses brought up the devotion to Mounds bars - the original with dark chocolate and no nuts. Now owned by Hershey but has a great history.


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1 hour ago, heidih said:

The US pretty much dominates world almond production with my home state of California being at the top of the heap. Almonds come in all kinds of "flavors" these days, but you might consider trying the Blue Diamond Smokehouse ones; a very traditional gift here.  A small bag or container can be found in most markets and Walmart, Target and Costco have them in quantity.

 

Yes, yes!  These are wonderful.

 

I'd also suggest wild rice, but I've become so spoiled by the stuff harvested in northern Minnesota that I'm not sure what to recommend.  Nonetheless there may be varieties of true rice (wild rice is not) that you may wish to consider.  

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14 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I'd also suggest wild rice, but I've become so spoiled by the stuff harvested in northern Minnesota that I'm not sure what to recommend.  Nonetheless there may be varieties of true rice (wild rice is not) that you may wish to consider.  

 

14 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

 

Sorry bout the quote format...

 

Yes! Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills brought Carolina Gold back from the brink of extinction  http://ansonmills.com/products/23

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To add to the hot sauce collection, get some Pickapeppa. Not tremendously hot, but a marvelously complex blend of flavors. Probably my favorite hot sauce when I'm looking for anything other than just heat, and it does WONDERFUL things for a Bloody Mary.

 

Some Louisiana brand liquid crab and shrimp boil. Use twice what the label recommends for your given amount of seafood; the label directions were written for the mass market, which has no taste. Add a couple of halved lemons to the water. Boil your (shrimp, crabs, whatever) up with small redskin potatoes, corn on the cob, some chunks of Andouille sausage, and it's a fine, fine dinner. With homemade cocktail sauce: ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, hot sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, all to your taste.  Blend some of that and a bit of curry powder with mayonnaise for "Comeback Sauce," Mississippi's answer to remoulade.

 

Oh, and pralines! Do not miss pralines!

 

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It looks like there is Trader Joe in Baton Rouge.  They have a lot of interesting food stuff, there is a thread about it.  They current have maple syrup sampler.

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My only suggestions would all be Canadian things - unlikely to be found in Louisiana!

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

My only suggestions would all be Canadian things - unlikely to be found in Louisiana!

 

Wait, if I recall my history, the Cajuns came from Canada...Evangeline and all of that.

 

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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Wait, if I recall my history, the Cajuns came from Canada...Evangeline and all of that.

 

 

This is more or less true. Legend (though not biology) asserts that the crawfish (crawdad/crawdaddy) is the descendant of the North Atlantic lobster, just wore down by the trek from Nova Scotia to Louisiana.

 

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Dear all,

 

thank you all so much for the great suggestions - I am quite happy following most of them  and have started ordering a couple of things online (as I might not have the time for extensive shopping trips). I will post a full list and of course a picture of the spoils of war in due course ... And in the meantime - feel free to keep suggesting: I think I still have a couple of kg left in the check-in luggage :raz:

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One tiny request more: since I have been know to drink the occasional alcoholic beverage - what would make a nice liquor to bring home ?

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Sazerac Rye. Add a bottle of Peychaud's Bitters, and you're well on your way to a fine cocktail.

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