broadsideblog

Importing A Taste Of Home — Chiles, Chocolate, Cheerwine

In food, travel on August 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm
Turkish Delight I took this photo myself.
Turkish delight. Yum!!!Image via Wikipedia

No matter where I live — and it’s five countries so far — I miss Canadian candy: Big Turk, Crunchie, Aero, Oh Henry, Crispy Crunch, MacIntosh toffee, wine gums and liquorice allsorts. Yesterday I finished (sob!) the last of my wine gums, brought back from my recent trip to Vancouver.

They have nothing to do with wine and they are not gum. Think of something chewy, translucent jewel colors, in subtle flavors and different shapes.

But Big Turk is it! (Dark chocolate covered Turkish delight, soft, pink, chewy.)

One American friend won a whole new level of respect for his sophisticated palate when he begged me to bring some Big Turks back to New York with me. Most Americans have never heard of it, nor of Turkish delight. I can’t even explain the delights of Crunchie because it’s sponge toffee….which is orange and crunches and melts in your mouth.

Just try one.

Once you’ve developed a taste for something that reminds you of home, and something that just tastes amazing, you need a pipeline. From today’s New York Times:

Although Internet buying makes sense — why haul a treat through Customs if a computer click brings the same result? — plenty of purists favor lugging over logic. For them, a treat bought at its source and carried home by their own (or a loved one’s) hands is somehow more genuine, more delicious, more earned, than one secured in an easy, remote transaction on the Web. This is particularly true now, with the height of summer travel upon us. Food souvenirs are food, but they’re also souvenirs, and as such are evocative of people and places.

“The whole experience of getting it in its context is something you cannot duplicate if you’re not there,” said Michael Stern, a founder of Roadfood.com, a Web site about local restaurants and foods across America, and the co-author of many books on those subjects. Such food mementos are “appealing for the same reasons that anyone travels anywhere,” he continued. “We could all sit in our den with the windows closed and watch TV and see every corner of the world, but having the experience of breathing the air somewhere other than our living room — the whole, complete sensual experience — isn’t something you can replicate.”

Anna Sturgeon, 27, a movie content reviewer from Cincinnati, agrees. She is a big fan of Cheerwine soda, a drink that sounds sweet enough to make your teeth ache.

For my sweetie, it’s pozole, used to make soup. We keep a big bag of it in the freezer since it’s what he ate growing up in Santa Fe.

What’s the food that makes you homesick? Do you cart it back from trips? Ask others to bring it for you?

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  1. Homemade tortillas. Fresh salsa. Aguas frescas… I could go on about the Mexican food I miss. New Mexican cuisine just isn’t the same. I also miss alfajores from Argentina (dulce de leche sandwiched between tow cookies then covered in chocolate). Great. I barely finished my second breakfast and I’m getting hungry again.

  2. Cajeta! Churros! Sugus candies. Alfajores sound amazing, if caloric! We have, and hoard, great beer we bring back from Quebec.

  3. I’ve always wanted to try those Turkish Delights. I moved to Sweden 4 years ago and I would have to say some of the things I miss are the cereals. The only options here are bran flakes and other healthy options. The only ‘fun’ one they have here is Coco Puffs. I bring home a few boxes of Cookie Crisp when I go back home. ‘

    Oh, yeah, and Milano cookies. I LOVE those things!

  4. You must be able to find them on-line….? The links I included for Canadian candy were set up by someone who knew how much Canadians miss our favorites. Or, as we spell it, favourites.

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