Sending food TO France

On my next trip across the pond, I'll be visiting a friend in France. I travel light but need to bring a gift for her and her two kids. The one thing she says she misses from the states are pancakes with maple syrup.

I want to send this to her as a gift. Does any one know if French customs will have a problem with me sending this to her?

Or does anyone know if I can buy maple syrup and pancake mix in London as that's where I'll be before FRance and I'm taking the train to the continent. Thanks.

Posted by Jenufa
London, UK
283 posts

Sending parcels can be expensive for the recipient if they have to pay duty.

You can buy maple syrup in supermarkets usually in the international foods section if you can't find it in the syrup section. Pancake mix will be trickier since you can't find mixes like the ones in the states. I've seen Bisquick but it is not quite the same.

If you are willing to go to Fortnum and Mason, Harrod's or Selfridges food halls you will have no problem finding American versions.

Don't forget the 3oz/100mls rule if you carry on.

Posted by Frank II
USA
4377 posts

Thanks Jenufa....I was going to ship only because I do carry on and 3 oz of maple syrup won't go far.

I don't mind spending a little more on purchasing syrup in London. I can carry a couple of boxes of pancake mix from the U.S. but not the syrup.

I figure a couple of boxes of pancake mix, a large bottle of maples syrup and a couple of Paddington Bears for her two little girls and I'll be all set.

I just need to make sure I can get "real" maple syrup in London--even at F & M or Harrods.

Posted by William
Rhineland-Platz Area, Germany
9 posts

What kind of pancake mix? You can find Bisquick is French grocery stores like Cora.

Also Canadian maple syrup is fairly common.

Sending or carrying food is generally not a problem if it is not meat or plant seed that could be planted.

Posted by Jenufa
London, UK
283 posts

You can find Bisquick in the UK supermarkets and Canadian Maple Syrup is very easy to find in the regular supermarkets too.

Posted by regina
la frette sur seine
448 posts

Unless your friend lives in a very tiny village...every supermarket has pancake mix and maple syrup in the foreign/exotic food section though the brand names won't be USA unless you go to a high priced speciality shop in Paris...so...buy in London if you want, but don't pay the outrageous postage from states..French customs won't care, but you could probably take the friend and kids out to a nice lunch in France for the price of mailing the mix and syrup.

Posted by regina
la frette sur seine
448 posts

How long has she been in France?
Did she cook a lot in the USA?Will she be in France for awhile?
...Anyone can make pancakes with the "local" ingredients as long as they have Mom's recipe...but i always bring back baking soda, baking powder to have what i'm famiar with...plus vanilla extract, brown sugar and Nestle's choc chips...can't do the cookies without. Also Old Bay Seasoning...Check with the kids to see what they miss...I always had a suitcase full of SpaghettiO's with meatballs and XtraCrunchy Crispy Cheetos

Posted by Jenufa
London, UK
283 posts

I am all for cooking from scratch but there are just somethings that cannot be replicated or simply has a special meaning to an expat. I had one friend that has Peet's coffee shipped over. Upon further discussion, simply because when they were first married they always went out and had coffee time together and this continued even through multiple moves just not in the coffee shop.

What do you mean French customs won't care? Are you saying that they do not charge import or custom duties? That is very interesting as I've never heard a country do this.

Posted by regina
la frette sur seine
448 posts

Jenufa..and customs...Items sent as gifts are rarely taxed...During my "several" years in France the customs have only twice asked for tax...these have been gifts well marked in english and french as such, and relatively small boxes..I feel that Customs just charges on whim. It's the same bringing the baggage in via the airport...VERY rare to have anything checked. "import tax" should only apply to someone bringing a life time supply of Bisquick...
And yes, i understand the needs of an "expat"..why else would i use baggage back to France space for Hellman's mayonnaise and Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (original)