Willing to pay more for Roquefort . . .

. . . and other imported European delights?

In January, the United States trade office announced a new set of tariffs to go into effect in March 2009. Their goal is to make the European market accept hormone-modified beef that has been banned from import from the United States.

If the tariffs pass, you can expect to pay more for any of the following imports:

  • Cured meats including hams and sausages

  • Lingonberry and raspberry jams

  • Peach and pear products

  • Fresh or chilled truffles

  • Oats

  • Italian mineral water

  • French chestnuts

  • Chocolate – including cocoa, blocks, slabs and filled bars

  • and of course, Roquefort cheese

The last one on the list seems to be causing the biggest stink, if you’ll excuse the pun. Already at a 100 percent tariff, Roquefort’s tariff would increase to 300 percent. That’s a lot for a stinky blue cheese that would be priced for at least $60 per pound.

While the change is causing an uproar in Europe and at specialty shops throughout the states, the cheese makers at the heart of the problem have already developed a ‘new’ cheese called Bleu des Basques Brebis. Apparently, it tastes just like Roquefort, comes from the same region, but somehow evades the tariff to be exported at a third of the cost.

But what about homegrown blue cheeses? Some of our ‘local’ favorites include:

Moldy blue cheese, high-priced truffles and imported Italian waters aside, what’s going on with the chocolate? Cheese we can find substitutes for – but a good, French dark chocolate, uh-uh.

-GE, 3/19/09 Leave a Comment
Gina Edwards is a cooking instructor and editor of andshecookstoo.com

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