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How do you feel about American versions of European goods?

Last week when I mentioned that Queen Elizabeth's favorite cocktail involved Dubonnet
I had an ulterior motive --

The Dubonnet that we get here in the USA is made under license in Kentucky by a Bourbon distillery called Heaven Hill, and it has a different alcohol content than the Dubonnet produced in France. That distillery also makes American versions of Canadian whisky, rums, tequila, cognac, and so on. Of course the original Dubonnet in France was taken over by Pernod in the '70s, just as Guinness has gobbled up its former competitors.

A lot of products we buy here in the USA have the same name and nearly the same label as European favorites but are re-jiggered for the American market for one reason or another -- we have discussed here in the forum how cheeses that meet USDA requirements including pasteurization might have the same name as their kin in Italy or Germany but they are not really the real McCoy (looking at you, Taleggio!)

Does this affect your hunting for that special item when you get back from a trip? Do you favor special grocers or suppliers near home that bring in the good stuff? Or does it not matter so much to you if the Grand Marnier was hecho en Mexico?

Posted by
7374 posts

We have a lot of ethnic neighborhoods where The majority of the residents are Chinese, Korean, Polish, Mexican, East Indian. Those neighborhoods have mom and pop grocery stores where English is not the first language that import special stuff. The college town Champaign Urbana home of U of Illinois has a grocery store covering the whole world to serve international scholars and students. The biggest section is Chinese groceries.

Posted by
7528 posts

I think the most recent public surprise, was finding out that Stolichnaya vodka was made in Latvia, which has some relevance to current events.
Several years ago, In honor of an Australian visitor, I purchased a supply of Fosters Lager oilcans. He took a sip and said its not the same. I looked at the can and saw it was indeed made in Canada, thus allowing it to still carry the term "imported" on the label near the more visible kangaroo. That makes me look at labels more carefully, because yes it makes a difference to me.

We have Brit shops, an Irish grocery (Brownes Market - oldest Irish business outside of Ireland, 1887), Mideast, and East European shops. I've checked them all out. We find ALDI carries a lot of imported European stuff without making a show of it.

Does the EU or individual countries have rules about labeling and country of origin? I think not.

Posted by
2648 posts

I am so disappointed in the American version of many European chocolates. Even tho the candy may carry the European name brand, either the chocolate is made here, or the company is not allowed to use the same recipe as that sold in Europe. It's always a treat to find authentic European chocolate in the US.

Posted by
1841 posts

Ditto what pat said. 😊 “swiss” chocolate sold in the US is just not the same. For instance, the Lindt chocolate sold in the US is made in Stratham, New Hampshire. Although, I will say that I recently picked up some Lindt white peppermint chocolate balls from the grocery store and they were pretty darn good. 😊

Posted by
29683 posts

e.g all British clotted cream is considered pasteurized in the US and can be sold as is , but it is not considered pasteurized in the UK.


From the Roddas FAQ page:

Yes it is pasteurised and therefore is it safe for both children and pregnant women to eat and enjoy.

Roddas by far sell more clotted cream than anybody else. They'd know.

Posted by
1521 posts

I remember reading about some guy suing Godiva when he found out the products sold in the US are made in Pennsylvania and not Belgium 🙄

The chocolate at Aldi is probably the closest I have found to European chocolate.

Posted by
2223 posts

I don't want this thread to get sidetracked into the particular issue of pasteurization or the more general issue of how almost completely unreliable quoting Quora posts is when trying to find out matters of fact, but here is one of many many pages that comes up when you try comparing UHT and HTST methods, and like most pages it shows that UHT (European) is superior:

Let's stick with the post topic of American versions of European goods and whether they measure up.

We could also expand it to include the reverse -- when you try out American products in Europe do you get the same item or something better or something worse?
I don't just mean differences in packaging or advertising, I mean in the taste and quality of the product -- like McD french fries, for example.

Posted by
4290 posts

Does the EU or individual countries have rules about labeling and
country of origin? I think not.

In general, yes, the EU has strict rules about food labeling.

Posted by
60 posts

Here is what I know for sure, when Americans try to copy British shows they turn out to be rubbish. The stars don't have to be all Barbie and Ken like., they just have to know how to act.

Posted by
198 posts

It is the fruit/tomato story writ large. In Europe it about the taste. Here it is about appearance, durability, shipping, and most importantly, profit margin. That is nary a product in this world you can't squeeze the quality out of it for a better margin. Just buy the brand name and provide a borderline acceptable product.

Posted by
8733 posts

Twix candy bars are delicious in Europe… awful in the US.
Corn Flakes taste much better in Europe. And not just because i’m there instead of here, lol.

Posted by
14686 posts

Better than European versions of US products..... have you ever eaten European Catsup? Yuck.

Posted by
4906 posts

but here is one of many many pages that comes up when you try comparing UHT and HTST methods, and like most pages it shows that UHT (European) is superior:

Avirose, UHT milk is not necessarily superior. Reread the chart. UHT is inferior in terms of taste and nutritional value.

The reason many French cheeses (e.g., Brie, Epoisses, Camembert) taste different in France than in the U.S. is because they are made with raw (unpasteurized) milk in France. When those same cheeses are exported to the U.S., they must be made with pasteurized milk. The U.S. requires cheeses that are aged less than 60 days to be made with pasteurized milk. Thus a Brie in France will always taste different than a Brie in the U.S.

Posted by
3997 posts

Noting the video saying American milk has preservatives added is completely false.

Posted by
2223 posts

I have to mention that a bonus of this thread for me has been that after so many years of listening to Sandi Toksvig when she was hosting The News Quiz, the clip shared above is the first time I've seen her!

Small comment on condiments -- I remember when Pret a Manger first tried opening stores in the USA and an interview with one of the upper management was talking about how they had to adjust the tuna salad sandwiches because 'the British like a wetter sandwich than the Americans' -- those trimmed triangles in the wasteful snap-lid containers looked neat but were almost runny by American tastes. The Pret people were betting that there was an un-exploited niche in NYC for people who didn't want to wait for their number to be called so they could order a customized sandwich from the deli counter, when many people are happy with a standard sandwich so long as it's reasonably fresh. Hence Pret's business model.

My take on that model: I really hate having to pick the pickle chips out of a pre-made sandwich so I'm happy to wait longer if it means I can get the sandwich I want, sans lingering pickle juice. Blechhh!

Back to the main topic: Opinel sells a lot of knives in the north American market and the packaging and stamping are adjusted appropriately, but the goods are still produced in the same factories as the knives sold in France. I can still imagine someone wanting to collect particular Opinel items that aren't available in stores in the USA. (I can also imagine a French collector wanting to get American market versions, too.)

Posted by
7377 posts

Oreos and Snickers taste the same in US and UK.

Guinness tastes best in Eire. Passable in the States if poured properly.

In London, Cafe Nero, Costa, Harris and Hoole coffee far better than Starbucks could ever hope to be.

Posted by
12602 posts

Avirosemail...if you like Sandy Toksvig, you should check out "QI," a British quiz show where the panelists are all celebs.

Every season is devoted to a different letter of the alphabet. Stephen Fry hosted the first half of the alphabet and then Sandy Toksvig took over.

Almost all episodes are on Youtube.

Posted by
402 posts

Better than European versions of US products..... have you ever eaten European Catsup? Yuck.

In La Rioja Kraft Heinz has a large plant. The Ketchup (for me catsup was what Del Monte made) is the same. What gets me is that in my supermarket, when they have a sale on "local products" all the Heinz products are on sale.