The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Quick question

UPDATE (9/28): Thanks for...uh, more comments and recs and whatnot! Unfortunately the Florence recommendations were too late. :[ I didn't really go to Florence to stuff myself though, so I don't feel like I missed out on too much. Much happiness was had when Morten, Kåre and I got our juicy chunk-o Florentine steak. Too bad the Uffizi Gallery was closed. Haha! Ha!

There shall be a next time—I can feel it.

Oh, I didn't go to Grom. I had loads of chances. Hell, I didn't even know they had one in Bologna. But I went to the one in NYC and I figured that even though the one in Italy may taste a little better, I would rather go to gelaterias I could only go to in Italy. Makes sense?

I don't think I did well with the "bringing stuff back home from Italy" thing. Kinda overlooked all the olive oil. And other good things. Uh...I failed.

I'm home now. Kinda sucks. Sucks because I'm not in Italy and because I think I've only edited less than half of my photos and...oh god, don't get me started on the blog entries. I have about four completed out of a bucketload. I should have the first "real" entry up soon.

UPDATE (9/24): Thanks for your prompt replies! Damn, you're all awesome. Right now I'm in Florence killing time before Morten, Kare and I eat some DELICIOUS FAMOUS STEAK or something. Yeah. It'll be all kinds of awesome. You'll probably read about it in a month at the rate that I'm blogging. (I've so far written ONE complete entry. Kid you not. Just don't have the time, unfortunately, besides that I've edited less than half of my photos since there are piles and piles of them.)

I don't think I'll risk my lump of mortadella being seized; I'll more while I'm here. Yesterday I had a pizza with mortadella, mozzarella, mushrooms and rocket on it. Sweet jesus, that was good. And then I had flan. And gelato. And a tiny stomach explosion.

But you can read more about that laterrr. To sum up everyone's advice, meat is definitely not allowed but if you hide it well you might be able to sneak it in. Hard cheeses and wines are okay. I think I'll bring back chocolates, cookies, things in jars and the like (non-meats). I quite like the chocolate Stella cookie things I got at the grocery store. Yes...shall buy more of that...

Tina pointed out a very useful Chowhound thread about what you can or cannot bring into the US. Take a gander at it if this subject concerns you at all. YOU DON'T WANT TO INFECT US AGRICULTURE, DO YEW? Don't let the terrorists win.

As for mailing things to the US that you can't bring on the plane, you may be able to do this but I've heard that the Italian post office ships things just a hair faster than the Pony Express. This disturbs me, but I guess that's what UPS is for.

Okay, I have about 10 minutes left in this Internet center so I'm gonna skedaddle now. Thanks so much again for your advice!

------ORIGINAL ENTRY------

Still here!

Does anyone know what kind of food I can or cannot bring back from Italy? Like if I want to, can I bring back a huge thing of mortadella? :D :D :D

Thanks for any info you guys can give me. NOW I MUST GO EAT PIZZA.


wishniak / September 23, 2007 3:23 PM

no way mortadella. but i only got busted for bringing back schwarzwalder schinken because i admitted i told them i had a meat product in my bag (didnt know it was illegal!).

so you could try to sneak it in, but its risky.

eatyourheartout / September 23, 2007 3:30 PM

I was just talking about getting mortadella here and now I'm reading about you bringing some. I doubt you can sneak it in. I rather not get busted. Eat as much as you can and then you can dream of it when you come back.


Christina / September 23, 2007 4:49 PM

Unfortunately, I can't help as I've never been anywhere outside the States except to Canada. But I want to say hi and I hope you're having a great time!

maria~ / September 23, 2007 4:51 PM

*Drooooolz* Mortadella! I'm so jealous! And pizza to boot!

But anywayz, anything that's still "wet" is probably not allowed. But when I was in Rome, I was so tempted to bring back vacuum-packed wild boar meat. Unfortunately, I didn't tempt fate and just ended up eating it in Italy ...

Cindy / September 23, 2007 4:57 PM

Hi Robin:

I was in Bologna earlier this year, and went to Tamburini and had them package up beautiful mortadella, salsiccias, guanciale, parmaiggano and other cheeses. The USDA dogs sniffed them out even through the vacuum packs and all the meat was gone in exchange for a USDA form letter! They mercifully left me all the cheese, though. It was an expensive lesson. So, cheese is okay.

Bologna is also known for some great seasoned salts. The salts have herb flavors like thyme, rosemary, garlic etc. and are fantastic on grilled meats & vegetables, soups, stews, eggs, actually anything that you would put salt on, these salts complement. The salts are also a great inexpensive gift to bring back for friends.

Love your blog, it is my absolute favorite. Have fun the rest of your trip in Italy!

ms / September 23, 2007 11:13 PM

cheese and wine - no questions asked. generally, though, i think if its vacuum-sealed you're alright...give the moratdella a try. i just got bck from bologna in june after living there for 9 months...i am so in love with that city...if you are still at ristorante quindici. and gelatauro on via san vitale for gelato. their pistachio is the best in the universe. also their ginger. which is "zenzero" in italian. if you've moved on to another city, i hope bologna treated you well.

Alexa / September 24, 2007 8:11 AM

maybe you could post yourself some mortadella home from Italy, getting around the regulations that way?

Alexa / September 24, 2007 8:14 AM

maybe you could post yourself some mortadella home from Italy, getting around the regulations that way?

Tina / September 24, 2007 10:08 AM

Hey Robyn,
You can bring cheeses (the hard stuff like Parm) in a vacuum sealed packaging. Wine's cool though I know you don't like it...

Oh, I heard Italian pistachios are freakin' awesome! And waay cheaper than what we get in the States. Italian olive's a given.

This is a great link to read about what the US Customs seize or not on

Hannah / September 24, 2007 12:40 PM

I was just wondering the same thing, actually. I'm in France on a two-month academic exchange and was contemplating trying to get away with bringing back, if not cheese, at least dry sausage and mustard and other essentials. And candy, of course.

I realize I haven't actually given you any information, just affirmed my intention to mooch any information others might give you. :D

jennifer / September 24, 2007 12:46 PM

if you try to sneak it back in, be sure to bury it really deep in your suitcase. when i got back to LAX, everything in my suitcase was all jumbled up and my salami was missing, but i was in a hurry and just put it right on top of all my stuff. my friend really buried her prosciutto and it was still there!

Yuizaki / September 24, 2007 3:29 PM

The Vatican post office is good and fast...the regular Italian post sucks. lol. That's the word coming from an Italian friend too. xD

Boots in the Oven / September 24, 2007 8:15 PM


It's olio nuovo time RIGHT NOW! If you have room in your bag, you will really want to get a bottle of olio nuovo. It's really difficult if not impossible to find in the States.

Cheese is good, and if you get a harder cheese and they vacuum pack it it should be fine for a couple of weeks. A big hunk of really good parmigiano-reggiano, or some pecorino semi stagionato, is good.

There are also all sorts of delicious Italian liqueurs, but I know you're not much of a drinker.

I hope you make it to one of the copious harvet festivals going on right now in Tuscany! Boccacesca is GREAT, we went last year, and I think it's going on right now. Too bad you missed PizzaFest down in Naples.

And if you're still in Florence, I'd highly recommend eating lunch at either Mario (just outside the mercato centrale) or Nerbone (actually IN the mercato Centrale - famous for their panino bollito, with boiled beef and spicy sauce). And you can't leave Florence without trying their tripe sandwich - lampredotto or trippa - their whole identity is wrapped up in it!

Sorry, I've gone on long enough... have a great time!

Reid / September 26, 2007 5:45 AM


I AM SO JEALOUS! You have way too much free time on your hands. How else would it be possible for you to be on the road all the time.

I love Florence...I would love to go is too far from Hawaii...I almost died flying home from London! *sigh* I need to move back to the East Coast...SOON! :)

Mickjagger / September 27, 2007 10:26 PM

Even if you take 1 month to publish your notes, I am sure it's gonna be huge and funny, just by seeing the flickr!!
I slowly had the time to read all the entries I missed recently. Congratulations also for your editing job on Serious Eats, that's so cool, now you must open their Paris-bureau ;)
And I was also thinking "Whaaat?! You got a Macbook finally?!!"

Something random from the archives