Photo: dyobmit on flickr
Europe is renowned for gastronomical finesse. Sampling the specialties of the continent can be wonderful providing that proverbial party in your mouth.Sadly, not every dish can make it across the Atlantic in perfect form. There are rules, you see. Some of Europe’s most celebrated (or notorious) delicacies have to be modified before they reach American mouths. Other are banned completely.
There’s no doubt that if you dig hard enough you’ll be able to find some of this stuff in the U.S., but, nevertheless, here’s 10 European delicacies that face bans in America.
Sheep's heart, lungs and liver are minced, seasoned and boiled in a sheep's stomach. Haggis is traditionally eaten on Burns' Night, a celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns. It's usually served accompanied by bagpipes and a rendition of Burns' own 'Address to a Haggis.'
Authentic haggis is hard to come by in the U.S. due to a ban on sheep's lung. There was talk last year of the ban being lifted, but it came to nothing. It is available in a (completely unauthentic) vegetarian variety, if you're that way inclined. You can also use sheep's tongue as a lung substitute.
Originating out of Switzerland, this is another product that's available in the U.S. but with limited authenticity.
Previously hard to come by until 2007, there are still regulations on the highly alcoholic spirit. Branding it as 'Absinthe' is illegal (so many bottles just say 'Absinth' instead). There's also restrictions on how the bottles are decorated. Importantly, the spirit can't contain thujone the naturally occurring chemical that gives truly authentic absinthe its fabled hallucinogenic effect.
The controversial pate, made by force feeding geese via tube to fatten up their livers, was outlawed in Chicago in 2006, though it recently made a return to Chi-town's culinary scene.
That doesn't mean foie gras is off the hook though. The delicacie is due to be outlawed in California in 2012 though some chef's are saying they'll endure heavy fines to keep the dish on their menu.
This Greek appetizer is another dish that can't be served in the U.S. because it traditionally contains lung meat, usually of a lamb or goat.
The dish even came under threat in Europe in the late 1990s, when the EU tried to rule out the sale of animal parts not deemed fit for food.
In 2006 Iceland repealed a 20-year ban on commercial whaling and this sea mammal again appeared on Icelandic menus.
Despite reports of whale meat surfacing at high-end American sushi bars, whales are protected in the U.S. under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Selling a marine mammal product for an unauthorised purpose is also punishable under the same act.
In Alaska, nine indigenous groups can hunt whales, with restrictions, under the authority of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, but you shouldn't find whale meat on the mainland.
This Sardinian cheese would be no different to your typical pecorino if it wasn't for one little addition. As a ripening agent, the cheese maker adds maggots to the casu marzu to help it mature. It's a totally organic process, but we're sure there are some who would rather have an artificial additive replace the maggots.
Interestingly, the whole maggot thing has nothing to do with why it's banned it the U.S. The use of raw milk in the creation of the cheese means it's outlawed in 28 states.
This rare, and we're guessing tasty, tiny French bird is now even illegal to hunt in France, carrying a $10,000 fine.
A celebrated French delicacy, there are some who attempt to smuggle these little birds into the U.S. to enjoy an illegal feast.
Caviar derived from farmed Beluga sturgeon is still good, while American fisheries have benefitted by the gap in the market left from due to the protection of the species.
Hardly a delicacy but still banned, this little chocolate egg has caused some controversy of late.
Produced by Italian chocolate maker Ferrero in 1972, the humble Kinder Surprise is illegal in the U.S. due to the fact it contains a toy in the middle of its chocolate casing.
Yet, despite the efforts of customs officials to prevent an infestation of these chocolate eggs into the country, they somehow found their way on to the shelves of candy stores.
What happened next? The Feds raided. As Easter approached this year, officials demanded stores in New York City hand over their supplies.
Let's preface this by stating that the U.S. consumes more lutefisk, a Nordic dried fish soaked in poisonous lye, than any other nation, including all of Scandinavia.
So, the exclusion of this fermented canned herring should be taken quite seriously. There's no official ban, but it'll take some serious digging to find it anywhere. Not that an official ban is even really needed.
To start with, you can't bring this stuff on aeroplanes. It was banned in 2006 by airlines for its potent smell (described as being like garbage left out in the sun) and for the fact that increased pressure could cause the cans to explode.
Then there's the fact that this stuff contains too much dioxin pollution for the EU to deem it safe for human consumption. The only thing holding back a ban is a cultural exemption which is about to expire. Soon this may not even be legal in its homeland.
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