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Luxury Snacks Imported from Europe

June 12, 2012

French Cheese. Image source: hesomagazine.com

Next time you've had a challenging professional or personal day, don't lament. The (short-term) solution to your angst is likely only as far away as the nearest deli or the specialty food aisle of your local grocery store. Why not treat yourself to a luxury snack imported from Europe - a snack, sourced straight from the place on the globe that makes it best?

Because as much as we hate to break the news, the mozzarella you just peeled out of a plastic wrapper probably isn't the best you can do. And we won't let you stand for it! Why not whip up a nice spinach salad, for instance, with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil from Italy?

There are slight regional variances in the taste and production of both products, but fear not: it's hard to go wrong if it was made in Italy. Our favorites, however, are Tuscany's Gemini extra virgin olive oil and Emilio-Romagnia's Mussini balsamic. The employees at your specialty shop should be able to direct you to the best they offer, and, surprisingly, you can even order both from Amazon.com. 

French cheese is also a savory and restorative luxury snack choice. While Camembert, Roquefort, and Munster are all delicious (especially when paired with the right wine or fruit), it's always good to try some lesser-known, but no less extraordinary, tastes. Hailing from the French Alps, Reblochon is an excellent creamy cheese with a nutty aftertaste.

Enjoy it with a fruity red wine and spread over bread or crackers. Époisses, from the Côte d'Or, is a strong, salty cheese with a pungent smell. Pair Époisses with raisin bread for an extra luxurious breakfast treat. Spain's jamón ibérico, a cured ham, is made specifically from black Iberian pigs found in the south and southwest of the country.

The best finished products come from Jabugo and Guijuelo - but since authentic jamón ibérico is difficult to procure in the US (ham pun intended), it's not necessary to purchase from sources here alone. If there's such a thing as prestigious ham, this is it. Happy snacking!





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