By Iron Chef Leftovers
Europe is very well known for its tasty, salted pig parts – ham, sausages, cured meats, pates , the list goes on. Thanks to the wisdom of the USDA, most of those delicious items are not available in the US, and those that are need to be processed in USDA regulated facilities in Europe, which sometimes means that what you get in the US is not nearly as good as what you have in Europe. Why this is the case is a tirade for another time.
Needless to say, this has led to a smuggling ring run by your everyday citizens travelling to and from Europe. I know people who have smuggled in ham, salami, cheese (in a diaper bag, which was odd since they didn’t have any kids) and all manner of seeds and mushrooms (Iron Chef Leftovers may or may not have been guilty of doing one or more of these things in the past). Saveur.com recently posted an article about this practice. While there is always the risk of getting caught and having your contraband confiscated (and possibly a fine levied), I personally think it is worth the risk for any cured meat product or cheese. Fruits, veggies, seeds and raw meats, well, those actually do pose a risk to be imported into the country illegally, so I do have some issues with those.
Not that I am encouraging this practice, but if you find yourself in Vancouver, B.C. stop by Oyama Sausage Company in the Granville Island Market and you may change your mind about breaking the law. If you do happen to go, please pick me up some of their phenomenal dried Spanish chorizo. It is far and away the best I have had in North America.