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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Foodie Exchange

It started with an innocuous little food parcel exchange between two mail-loving food bloggers - Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz and Natalie from Natalie's Killer Cuisine - and now a beautiful Foodie Exchange Group has blossomed! Combining the joy of discovering new food with the excitement of receiving a parcel in the mail, what could be better? As desribed on the group page, "this is a group for foodies from all over the world who wish to be matched up with other foodies to exchange local food related items in the form of a 'care package'".

I actually met Evelyne when I was living in Montreal last year, when I attended a couple of her Dinner Group meet-ups. We randomly met up again in the food-blogosphere a few months ago through Foodbuzz (yes, it is a small world after all...sorry, I'm sure the song won't stay in your head for too many days) so I was very keen to do a foodie exchange with her and get some Quebecois treats!

My Quebecois goodies from Evelyne

And oh... what treats she sent me. The most amazing smell wafted out when I opened the parcel (seconds after retrieving it from the post office), and I was so excited to find a package of wild mushrooms inside! I was actually a little surprised they were allowed through quarantine, but my god I'm glad they did. The package of dried Boletus edulis has some French writing on the back, which Evelyne was kind enough to translate for me - "They have been appreciated since Roman times. In their dehydrated state, they are richer in protein than any other vegetable, except for hazelnuts. The entire mushroom is comestible. This is the most sold wild mushroom in the world. Soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour and will quadruple in weight. They are delicious in soups or as a side dish. Fry in a pan with garlic, salt and pepper." I am so looking forward to eating these... I think perhaps a risotto is on the cards..? In the meantime however I'll just keep sniffing the bag like a crazed mushroom fiend. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Also in the parcel was a lovely card, some Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider, bonbons covered in pistachio and sesame seeds, and........... some St Hubert Poutine Sauce Mix!! Yay, it's poutine time! I wrote about poutine recently, and now shall begin my quest to find fresh cheese curds in Perth, or make my own, or come up with a suitable alternative. Oh, and plan a big night on the booze in readyness for the poutine magic :D

Thanks so much Evelyne, it really was a fantastic exchange parcel! If you want to see what Evelyne received from me, visit her post here.

All the way from Arizona

I followed up my Quebecois exchange with an Arizona one with Felice from Felice in the Kitchen. My good run with Australian Quarantine was not to continue, and when I saw the big yellow and blue Quarantine stickers on the parcel I suspected the worst. Following the sticker's instruction to "open immediately as quarantine documents are enclosed", I discovered that some "Smokin' hot microwave popcorn" had been seized. Yep, unpopped popcorn is a big no-no when entering or posting into Australia, and Quarantine decided I was not allowed to enjoy some smokin' hot action in case I instead decided to plant the popcorn in my garden and allow the country to become overrun with smokin' hot corn plants.

The Quarantine documentation informed me that I could choose to pay $42.50 to have the popcorn returned to Felice, or I could take no action and it would be destroyed. I hope they destroy it by some sort of heating method.

Luckily I was allowed to keep my other Arizona goodies - Taco Sauce spice mix, and Texas Wildfire Dip Mix. So although I won't be having a smokin' hot time, I'll at least be able to enjoy some wildfire.

Thanks very much Felice! I'll let you know how I go with the heat! If you want to see what I sent to Felice, see her blog post here.

And if you would like to get involved in the Foodie Exchange Group, check out the page here.


mademoiselle délicieuse November 11, 2009 at 4:23 PM  

Wow, I'm surprised the cepes made it past customs as well! I assumed there'd be issues regarding spores or similar, but LOL at the possible incineration of 'Smokin' Hot Popcorn'!

Food lover November 11, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

this is such a good idea! love the food exchange - look forward to seeing a post on the mushroom risotto you'll make with the mushrooms!

Karine November 11, 2009 at 8:56 PM  

Ah un sachet de poutine! So Quebecois...Actually I don't even know if I could one one in Ontario. I know you talked about curd cheese, but is it something you can easily find in Australia? In Quebec, you find it everywhere, but even in Ontario it is hard to find it. From what I recall, they don't have it in the US.

I am sorry for your popcorn :( .

Felice in the Kitchen. November 11, 2009 at 8:58 PM  

i think we should check what can and can not be sent to be sure that stuff doesnt get wasted - like i know meat is not allowed in az...

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 11, 2009 at 9:10 PM  

mademoiselle délicieuse - yeah, I still can't believe it! Hopefully they won't read my blog and come confiscate it ;)

Food lover - such a good idea isn't it! Hopefully the risotto isn't too far away. Mmmmmm I'll just keep sniffing the mushrooms in the meantime :D

Karine - I think it is going to be a tough task to find some so I'll need to get a little creative with finding or making a substitute. Might get asking around the farmers market this weekend!

Felice - yes, good idea. I'm sorry your hard work was wasted! I just have to imagine how good it was :)

Evelyne@Cheap Ethnic Eatz November 12, 2009 at 3:21 AM  

I am so glad you love the mushrooms so much...and that they made it through. Wow Australia is really strict. I mean, hello,l eveyrone know that smoking hot popcorn turns into Australian eating monsters! Enjoy and share your recipes!

Iron Chef Shellie November 12, 2009 at 8:59 PM  

ooooo presents!! how exciting!
I'm surprised Australian quarantine didn't hold back those mushroom-anoom-anooms too!

Pam November 13, 2009 at 12:00 AM  

How fun! There is nothing better than getting treats in the mail.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 13, 2009 at 8:34 AM  

Evelyne - Yeah we're super strict here, with the whole island-nation thing. Sometimes you get lucky though :)

Iron Chef Shellie - I know! Yay! Haha, I can see myself getting sprung sniffing the mushrooms, and being asked what the hell I'm doing, and answering "just sniffing my mushroom-anoom-anooms" hehe

Pam - I know! It's like Christmas without the cleaning up!

Rilsta @ My Food Trail November 13, 2009 at 2:05 PM  

What an awesome idea! Too bad about the popcorn being confiscated - at least the mushrooms weren't! I love your comment about you hoping they would destroy the popcorn in heat!! Haha, that would be so funny!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 13, 2009 at 6:28 PM  

Rilsta - They could destroy the contraband weed and popcorn by fire at the same time, and have a grand old time ;)

NOELLE November 13, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

What a neat idea! I want to join in, sounds like so much fun! Too bad about the restrictions up in Canada.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite November 13, 2009 at 11:59 PM  

Boo to Australian customs. I was surprised my parcel got to Arizona and Louise's arrived in Canada since Canadian customs are pretty tough too... I wanna do an exchange with you but you're prob sick of Canadian goods now, right?

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 14, 2009 at 12:16 AM  

NOELLE - you should join in! You'll be receiving exciting parcels before you know it :)

Mardi - I know :( luck of the draw, methinks. I'd love to do an exchange with you! Hard to get sick of Canadian goods :)

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About Me

My love of cooking is surpassed only by my love of eating, though I never quite recovered from the beef I was served at college. I'll try almost anything once, but it takes a very special piece of offal or beef to get me to try it again.

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