Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

British cheeses that will pass U.S. Customs


Recommended Posts

Newt week, when on holiday in London, I will of course go to Neal's Yard Diary and Paxton & Whitfield. If unaged raw-milk cheeses are banned for import, does that mean I am limited to hard aged cheeses? What can I bring back? Or will the sales clerks at the shops be able and willing to tell me? Any specific cheese recommendations would be much appreciated, too. Much thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the great Enlglish cheeses are hard, so you should be ok with customs. In fact Jeffrey Steingarten had an amusing anecdote about this in his Q&A (I can't find the link just now.)

I would specifically suggest something like Double Gloucester, Stilton and then a more sour crumbly cheese of the Cheshire or Wensleydale type. There are more exotic variants of each of these types that might be interestiing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your responses. Sounds like most British cheeses will pass Customs. The thought of coming home with a round each of Montgomery's Cheddar and Colston Bassett Stilton has me unable to sleep at night. And the cheeses I have on my to-try list are Caerphilly, Stinking Bishop (the name intrigues me), and Wensleydale. I'm sure I'll find more I must try once I am in the shops!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i really want to take some home made truffles to the us next time i go but i worry about the best way to get them there.

There's actually a 60 day storage period at my house before these will clear customs. So, really, I don't fancy your chances.

Browniebaker - Usually I can't stand Stilton, but I had some at Neil's Yard just before Christmas that was, qualitatively, so beyond anything I'd had before, I thought I was dreaming. It was one of those moments where you had to realign your entire conception of a foodstuff if the best was really this good. Creamy instead of crumbly. Smooth and luxurious instead of harsh. I still don't believe it. Anyway, I don't know if it was a seasonal product, but it was extraordinary.

There are some incredible raw milk cheeses here, and young as well. You just have to see how brave you feel.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Browniebaker - Usually I can't stand Stilton, but I had some at Neil's Yard just before Christmas that was, qualitatively, so beyond anything I'd had before, I thought I was dreaming. It was one of those moments where you had to realign your entire conception of a foodstuff if the best was really this good. Creamy instead of crumbly. Smooth and luxurious instead of harsh. I still don't believe it. Anyway, I don't know if it was a seasonal product, but it was extraordinary.

Just to say, Moby, you are so right about that Christmas Colston Bassett. Creamy and wholly lacking in the acridity that sometimes characterises Stilton. I bought a huge amount and found it almost impossible to stop eating it. Caught myself stealing crumbs in the middle of the morning and last thing at night. I agreed with H that we had so much we could give some to some friends we were visiting after Christmas. When I discovered that he'd given them all we had left, I nearly cried. :laugh:

I've had somewhat less good CB since then, perhaps twice, but not bought at NY itself (La Fromagerie both times, I think).

clb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't need to worry about any of the English cheeses you'd be likely to bring back, and customs inspectors aren't geared up even to care about cheeses coming in from the UK, but you should in any case make certain you have the exact information about each cheese at hand in the event you get questioned by a customs inspector. Because most of the cheddars and such are cut from large wheels, they won't have label information, so you should write down the brand and how long it has been aged. This should do the trick even in a worst-case scenario.

At Paxton & Whitfield, of course, you will also have access to a huge array of soft, young French cheeses. These are the real problems. Unpasteurized cheeses that have been aged less than 60 days are forbidden, and under the current guidelines ALL soft French unpasteurized cheese of ANY age are forbidden. Not that most customs inspectors will know this or care.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

browniebaker: FYI, you might just want to get up to Islington for a visit to La Fromagerie. More French and Italian than English cheeses but it is a charming shop however a bit out of the way. Arsenal tube and then a bit of a walk. Or the 19 bus drops you off just down the street.

Did I see that they have opened a second shop?

kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

browniebaker:  FYI, you might just want to get up to Islington for a visit to La Fromagerie.  More French and Italian than English cheeses but it is a charming shop however a bit out of the way.  Arsenal tube and then a bit of a walk.  Or the 19 bus drops you off just down the street. 

Did I see that they have opened a second shop?

Yes, they've opened another, larger, more central shop in Moxon Street, just off Marylebone High Street.

If you time your visit for a Sunday morning, you can also visit the very good Marylebone Farmers' Market in the car park opposite the shop and the wonderful Ginger Pig butcher's shop next door.

I think I remember reading that a top quality greengrocer's is due to open soon in the vacant premises in the same block as the Ginger Pig and La Fromagerie.

clb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did I see that they have opened a second shop?

Patricia Michelson's main shop is now on Moxon Street just off Marylebone High Street in an area that is gradually becoming a focal center for fine food shops. She has expanded her operation to include a whole range of meats, condiments, wines, breads, and a dining area where you can sit down to a hot meal or just bread, cheese and wine. It's not just a shop, it's an experience. One look at her website and you're liable to plan your whole London trip around it.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Man, how did I miss this on my recent trip? Probably a good thing, considering the current US/UK exchange rate! Actually, I spent a lot of time at the Baker & Spice shops (Gail Stephens is a friend), particularly the new shop on Elizabeth Street where they too have a butcher with beautiful organic meats, in addition to their terrific pastries/breads/deli.

The Colston Basset Stilton I consumed while there was only the slightest bit crumbly at the edge but very creamy throughout the rest of the cheese. I only consumed half a kilo on my own. And no, not all in one sitting! I love it with the tangy sweetness of Sally Clarke's apricot bread.

kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, my. My, my. You all are wreaking havoc with my trip itinerary, and I leave in four days! The shops some of you have mentioned in these latter posts, I had not even heard of -- much thanks for the info. I am having to plan the trip around the interests of my husband and two small children (though the three-year-old is a budding caseophile and will be a joy to bring with me on cheese-shopping expeditions in London). But my consolation is that whatever shops I don't get to this time around, I will get to later this year or at least next year. (Planning the itinerary made me decide to start going ALONE to London each and every year.)

Fat Guy, I hadn't even thought about French cheeses, but now that you mention it . . . . Good advice on identifying cut cheeses for Customs -- thanks.

We'll see how "brave" I feel. My M.O. is always to declare. The stress of committing fraud is too much for me when I just want to have fun, and being fined would ruin the fun for me. I'm no goody-two-shoes, just chicken.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We'll see how "brave" I feel. My M.O. is always to declare. The stress of committing fraud is too much for me when I just want to have fun, and being fined would ruin the fun for me. I'm no goody-two-shoes, just chicken.

And trust me, customs officers have NO sense of humour. Even Canadian ones. I always declare....except I truly forgot this one time, and I got caught :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the cheeses I have on my to-try list are Caerphilly, Stinking Bishop (the name intrigues me), and Wensleydale.

Stinking Bishop truly stinky--the washed rind smells of old socks (a scientific term :biggrin: ). try it in London but I wouldn't recommend taking it on any trip. (didn't they ban epoisses on public transportation in paris? the bishop will be next!). Charles Martell, Dymock, Gloucestershire is the name to look for when buying the Bishop.

i hope a full report will follow when yo get back. I'll be in London end of May and definitely want to check out La Fromagerie's new branch!

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.

P.G. Wodehouse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am having to plan the trip around the interests of my husband and two small children (though the three-year-old is a budding caseophile and will be a joy to bring with me on cheese-shopping expeditions in London).

Last time I took my four year old to La F. in Moxon St, she was fed masses of sample pieces by the sweet French guy in the horn-rimmed glasses. She loves the place.

I should also tell you that there's quite a good playground at the end of Moxon St (3 minutes' walk from La F.) which has kept my husband and two small children happy for at least an hour and a half on many Sunday mornings... :cool:

clb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CAn I also add recommendations for a good lancashire (Mrs Kirkhams is usually a good bet) and blue shropshire?

And don't forget, the sign of a good cheese shop is when you walk out with something you have never heard of before.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eleventh-hour revisions to itinerary to add the cheeses mentioned in posts of the last two days! Thank you all for the abundance of specific cheese recommendations. They're all added to my list. Hadn't had plans to go as far up as Islington or even Marylebone, but will try to get to the Moxon Street branch of La Fromagerie in addition to the already-planned visits to Neal's Yard and Paxton & Whitfield. I leave in 35 hours. Wish me luck!

Edited by browniebaker (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...