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Moving to Melbourne


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In a few months we will be leaving the US for Melbourne. We plan to stay for a while(7yrs +). We will be leaving our large appliances behind but I'd like to bring some small appliances, namely my KA mixer , Bamix stick blender and the espresso machine.

Is buying a transformer or converter a feasible option or should I sell these things and buy new when we arrive?

Also, what foods can we bring into the country? I hoping to bring some items with me.

Are there any recommendations of things to buy here and bring with me(unsweetened baking chocolate?, books? etc.)?

Thanks in advance :biggrin:

Kathryn

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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In a few months we will be leaving the US for Melbourne.  We plan to stay for a while(7yrs +).  We will be leaving our large appliances behind but I'd like to bring some small appliances, namely my KA mixer , Bamix stick blender and the espresso machine.

Is buying a transformer or converter a feasible option or should I sell these things and buy new when we arrive? 

Also, what foods can we bring into the country?  I hoping to bring some items with me. 

Are there any recommendations of things to buy here and bring with me(unsweetened baking chocolate?, books? etc.)?

Thanks in advance  :biggrin:

Kathryn

I think you will find it more sensible to leave your appliances behind.

With an outlay on transformers, etc. you are likely better off picking up what is needed when you are here.

Food into the Country: Australian customs will NOT ALLOW ANY food stuffs at all.

Have a look at nburgess@accucom.com.au

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Thanks for that.

When I typed in the address nothing was found. Am I missing something. I also tried adding the www preface but to no avail.

So, no sneaking in chocolate, eh? Oh well.

I also remember reading somewhere that aussie ovens are a bit smaller. Is this so?

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Hello Kathryn,

Firstly - lucky you! 7 years in one of the most liveable cities on the planet.

Do you have any idea what area of Melbourne you are moving to? I can't imagine that you will want for many foodstuffs as Melbourne is famous for the quality and diversity of both its restuarants and foodie shops.

I'd recommend you check the link below for information about what you can and cannot bring into the country. Notice that fines are severe!

Australian Quarantine Inspection Service Website

I have bought chocolate into the country before with ease. Books will be more expensive than you are used to - as will white goods. But I would still recommend purchasing them on arrival. Things I ship from country to country always seem to suffer in transit.

Good Luck!

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Food into the Country: Australian customs will NOT ALLOW ANY food stuffs at all.

That's incorrect. Quarantine restrictions exist primarily for plant, dairy and meat products. Most processed foods with low dairy content, and some treated plant products are permitted, but *no* meat products are permitted. Check the AQIS website for full details, as Portia_Smith suggested.

Edited by lamington (log)

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Quarantine restrictions exist primarily for plant, dairy and meat products. Most processed foods with low dairy content, and some treated plant products are permitted, but *no* meat products are permitted. Check the AQIS website for full details, as Portia_Smith suggested.

My dear MIL once came along with us for a holiday down under. Before going, I impressed upon her Australia's strict law on food. I was so embarassed when the customs pulled her aside (of course, we had to follow), because their X-ray picked up something in her luggage. Yup, she brought a container load of pickles and munchies. But, guess what? She was just asked to open up her bags to show what that was and was let off without any fuss. :angry: She got to keep her pickles and I got a smug look.

Edited by Tepee (log)

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I'm an American that lived in Melbourne for 11 years before leaving in December. I often brought back Ghiridelli choc chips in those giant Sams Club/Costco sort of bags. You can get choc chips here but those were always my fave. Hope you don't use Crisco too much because it's extremely hard to find in Au. I also brought in dried berries (ie blueberries, strawberries... they come in a mixed bag; can't remember the company) unsweetened chocolate, if you use that sort of thing.

You have to be careful of mixes with milk in them; they'll likely be confiscated but canned stuff is no problems and many commercial foods, but definitely not meat (ie jerky, sausages...).

I probably wouldn't bother too much with the small appliances, but having said that they are often more expensive in AU. I did bring my beloved Kitchenaid, a dehydrator, and a bread machine. I bought a transformer no problems.

Melbourne food and wine is wonderful, wonderful. You're gonna have such a terrific time!

Please feel free to PM me if you have any non food related questions too.

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

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When I lived in Melbourne, around Thanksgiving, I would often hear mumblings from Americans I knew about problems finding fresh cranberries and canned pumpkin or sweet potato. This was 8 years ago so things might've changed.

If you're unsure about something and don't mind losing your food, you can always take a gamble. Just declare everything you bring, and see where the dice fall. If you haven't done something terribly egregious like bringing a live cow with BSE, usually the worst that can happen is confiscation.

From personal experience, honey and other bee products are definitely a nono. Preserved shrimp paste went through! :biggrin:

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They definitely don't have canned pumpkin. A friend of mine lives in Melbourne and after spending 3 years in Vancouver and falling in love with pumpkin pie, I heard many a cry about not being able to make one. She had never even heard of it, let alone tried it, before she lived here.

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They definitely don't have canned pumpkin. 

But when I was there I ate lots of sweet, roasted pumpkin - which you could cook up and puree for your pie.

Also be careful not to exceed weight limits on your luggage. They are very picky :angry:

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Thanks Portia for the link. I found it very helpful.

So I can bring chocolate( yay!) but not livestock. Got it.

We will be bringing our grill with us and I'm not sure I can separate from the KA mixer.

Thanks for the tip on luggage weight, I'll try not to overpack.

We are excited about living in Melbourne and look forward to discovering the food and life of Australia.

Thanks again everyone! If you think of anything else I'll be here.

Kathryn

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Bring measuring cups & spoons. Australian measurements are different from U.S., British, and metric.

The Australian Women's Weekly, BTW, publishes an excellent series of oversized paperback cookbooks (especially the older ones available on eBay). The backs of the books also give translations of Australian ingredients & terms into American English. Some of the ones I've noticed are:

AU biscuits = cookies

AU castor sugar = superfine sugar

AU chicken Maryland = chicken leg quarter

AU choc bits = chocolate chips

AU choc melts = discs of compounded chocolate (like Wilton products for candy-making)

AU cornflour = cornstarch

AU custard powder = pudding mix

AU demerara sugar = golden brown sugar

AU jelly crystals = flavored gelatin (Jell-O)

AU kumara = sweet potato

AU lamington pan = a rectangular baking pan (closest US measurement is 11 x 7")

AU plain flour = all-purpose flour

AU potato crisps = potato chips

AU punnet = a basket holding about 250g of fruit (berries)

AU rockmelon = cantaloupe

AU slice or slices = bar cookies or other food baked in a casserole and sliced

AU strong flour = bread flour

AU tasty cheese = cheddar cheese

AU tomato puree = tomato sauce

AU tomato sauce = ketchup

AU wholemeal = wholewheat

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Bring measuring cups & spoons. Australian measurements are different from U.S., British, and metric.

The Australian Women's Weekly, BTW, publishes an excellent series of oversized paperback cookbooks (especially the older ones available on eBay). The backs of the books also give translations of Australian ingredients & terms into American English. Some of the ones I've noticed are:

AU biscuits = cookies

AU castor sugar = superfine sugar

AU chicken Maryland = chicken leg quarter

AU choc bits = chocolate chips

AU choc melts = discs of compounded chocolate (like Wilton products for candy-making)

AU cornflour = cornstarch

AU custard powder = pudding mix

AU demerara sugar = golden brown sugar

AU jelly crystals = flavored gelatin (Jell-O)

AU kumara = sweet potato

AU lamington pan = a rectangular baking pan (closest US measurement is 11 x 7")

AU plain flour = all-purpose flour

AU potato crisps = potato chips

AU punnet = a basket holding about 250g of fruit (berries)

AU rockmelon = cantaloupe

AU slice or slices = bar cookies or other food baked in a casserole and sliced

AU strong flour = bread flour

AU tasty cheese = cheddar cheese

AU tomato puree = tomato sauce

AU tomato sauce = ketchup

AU wholemeal = wholewheat

That's a good list. I don't think that custard powder is equivalent to pudding mix though.

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That's a good list. I don't think that custard powder is equivalent to pudding mix though.

Thanks, Syrah! That's what AWW says about custard powder. If I were to make a recipe calling for custard powder in the USA I'd probably pick up a package of Birds (which I can find in my local supermarket -- a lot of Australian "snowbirds" have second homes in Hawaii).

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Thanks Suzy! That helps me in the ingredient learning curve. Although the results of my future mistakes will be good for a laugh, I'm sure. Any other culinary terms that are different? And should I abandon my baking sheets in favor of buying smaller sheets once I'm there?

We will be in Clayton for the first few months. Once there, I'm certain I'll have newbie questions.

Thanks for the help everyone. :smile:

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Is an Australian Tablespoon = 4 teaspoons??

My sister lived in Melbourne - her oven was the same size as my North American one .... I don't know if that was abnormal though.

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I imagine ovens would be the same size as they have to fit under cooktops which are standardised.

I don't understand your point . Are you saying you can only buy one size cooktop in the entire country? Over here there are options in sizes.

Although, don't many apartments in AU have smaller apartment sized ovens (which you may need to consider if you'll be renting an apartment)?

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Thanks Suzy!  That helps me in the ingredient learning curve.  Although the results of my future mistakes will be good for a laugh, I'm sure.  Any other culinary terms that are different?  And should I abandon my baking sheets in favor of buying smaller sheets once I'm there? 

You're welcome! The ones that puzzled me most were "tasty cheese" and "chicken Maryland," until I asked someone whose wife grew up in New Zealand! :laugh:

I don't think most of the other cooking terms are different... I'm able to follow Australian recipes pretty well. Re: baking sheets & pans, you should be okay with the others you have. A half-inch difference between one and another won't alter recipes that much. The main one that's different seems to be the lamington pan, which is used like we'd use a an 8" or 9" square pan for brownies & such.

I've never been to Australia, BTW, but have a lot of Australian cookbooks, which I use often. They have a different take on cuisine than American cookbooks, and the food is just different enough to make it interesting. As I said, the AWW cookbooks are gems. Every recipe I've ever tried from them has turned out perfectly.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Glad the link was of help!

I'd like to heartily second the earlier recommendation about taking your US measuring cups/spoons and also purchasing Australian ones on arrival. I moved from Melbourne to Atlanta back in 1997 and couldn't understand why all my baked goods were suddenly miserable failures until someone explained to me that Australian Standard Metric measurements were verrrry different to what they used stateside.

I also wanted to comment on the dried fruit / pumpkin pie situation. I've not seen the new re-vamped David Jones foodhall in Melbourne, but I recall that the old foodhall did sell a small selection of american foodstuffs, including canned pumpkin and (weirdly) tins of Duncan Hines frosting. I would swear that with the size of the dried fruit industry in the country that you would be able to get dried strawberries and blueberries easily, although probably not the cranberries.

I'm not at all familiar with Clayton apart from 1 visit to Monash University a looong time ago - but I believe that there is a fairly sizeable Chinese-Australian community nearby and it's a great place for higher end authentic Chinese dining. My baby bro is in Caulfield, not a million miles away - I'll see if he has any recommendations for shopping/eating.

P

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I imagine ovens would be the same size as they have to fit under cooktops which are standardised.

I don't understand your point . Are you saying you can only buy one size cooktop in the entire country? Over here there are options in sizes.

Although, don't many apartments in AU have smaller apartment sized ovens (which you may need to consider if you'll be renting an apartment)?

No, I'm saying that you'll have the same option in sizes over here as you would in the states. The oven designed to fit under a 4 burner stove is going to be the same as in the US etc.

I've never seen mini-ovens, apartments with limited cooking facilities tend not to have ovens at all.

PS: I am a guy.

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That's a good list. I don't think that custard powder is equivalent to pudding mix though.

Thanks, Syrah! That's what AWW says about custard powder. If I were to make a recipe calling for custard powder in the USA I'd probably pick up a package of Birds (which I can find in my local supermarket -- a lot of Australian "snowbirds" have second homes in Hawaii).

It is probably the closest equivalent. We certainly did not have pudding mixes when I was growing up, but I believe they are now sparsely available. I don't tend to buy prepackaged items like that so honestly I don't really know for sure.

You are quite correct about AWW cookbooks BTW. They do work exceedingly well. I also have a Family Circle "Favourite Meat Recipes" circa about 1985 that my mum gave me. It does have a few gems! :-)

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