I purchased some wonderful smoked salmon to bring to our German hosts then realized that it may be confiscated. anyone know, or know how to find out?
It is very rare to encounter customs checks when entering Europe. The check points are almost always unmanned no matter what airport/country you enter. I would just "go for it".
Customs was unmanned at the Frankfurt Airport as of July 15, 2007.
We went through customs when arriving in Amsterdam. They did not go through our luggage which I thought was strange. They waived us through. Others they were checking in luggage.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should sneak in items that are not legal to import. There are very good reasons for NOT bringing in certain items. Meats are generally a no-no, but not sure about smoked salmon.
Customs over here often appear to be unmanned, but that doesn't mean they actually are. Also, with the Foot & Mouth outbreak here in the UK, customs in all European countries are likely to be much, much more vigilant in the near future because they don't want to take any risks. Which means more checks and probably sniffer dogs around.
Salmon may well be legal (it wouldn't be to bring back to the US), but check and don't bring it if it's not. There are plenty of legal, and fun gift ideas.
The U.S. allows you to bring in salmon from overseas as long as it is smoked and vacuum-packed (http://stockholm.usembassy.gov/Consulate/acs4.html)
I know that you were asking the question for the other direction and I don't know if the rule for going to the Germany is similar. You might try contacting the nearest German embassy to see if they can let you know of the customs regulations for salmon.
If they do let you bring this, you will probably need to put it in your checked bag.