1. Willy
    February 4, 2015 @ 6:36 am

    I have been coming to Germany for over 30 yrs and now live here permanently. Perhaps the only item that I have never found, that I enjoy, is Grape Jelly! Of course they have AWESOME jellies and Jams,,, so there is no problem to find a replacement!
    When my wife and I travel to the USA, we usually make a Walmart run the night before our flight. NOT that we are getting something that we can’t get in Germany, but simply for the price. (We don’t have any Walmarts in Germany!)

  2. Annie
    December 17, 2014 @ 6:50 am

    I send things to my German friends sometimes. They request Lifesaver Gummies. This is also something you can get in the U.S., but not in Germany.

  3. Nicole
    April 22, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

    As you suspected, your blog turned up at the top of my search list for things/foods you can’t get in Germany. I am a German living in the US and planning a trip home. I was trying to think of something unique to bring my family and friends. After living here for 20 years it’s hard to evaluate what that might be, hence my search.
    I was thinking about bringing stuff to make Rice Crispie Treats and Smores. I would imagine that while the ingredients for those things may be available, the treats made with them are probably not as common?

    • Andrew
      April 23, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

      I get this question every so often. I don’t have really any general guidelines. It comes down to specific types of things and specific brands of things.
      I have seen Rice Krispie treats in stories here, but the packaged ones, so if you made homemade ones that could be nice. We definitely get Rice Krispies at Rewe, so you probably just need the marshmallow cream for those.
      S’mores are a really good idea. Chocolate is no problem and Marshmallows in whole form are common enough as well. What I still cannot find is Graham Crackers, so maybe those would be an idea.
      You know your friends and family and their tastes. Think about what they might like specifically. I am sure they will appreciate anything you think to bring.

  4. Tammy
    March 6, 2013 @ 2:10 am

    im going to mail my old high school bf a surprise package, shes from pittsburgh, and has been in germany for over 20 years.
    whats something I can safely mail ot her that she may be longing for
    were 50, so anything retro like tea tree gum, or lifesavers or steelers stuff?
    any thing she may get a kick out of that she may like? or baking needs? she once told me that you cannot get calamine lotion in germany.
    any ideas?

    • Andrew
      March 7, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

      I honestly have no idea. What we are missing is not likely to be the same as what your friend is missing.
      I also don’t really know Pittsburgh.

      Food usually is the thing that is local enough not to get imported to Germany. A friend was staying with us at Christmas and his mother sent cookies. It was awesome. German cookies are not really that sweet, and I missed the American style of unhealthiness.

      I haven’t gone looking for calamine lotion, but there are pharmacies on every corner. I imagine there is something similar.

      Try talking to your friend. As for “safely”, avoid expensive things that might end up with a customs charge.

      • tam
        March 7, 2013 @ 9:49 pm

        is food able to be shipped safely to germany? I thought i would surprise her so i cannot ask.
        thought i would simply get an assortment of snack size candy bars and cookies we liked as kids, some smuckers grape jelly samples we get at resturaunts here, and a few small tea light candles from yankee candle company. id get maple syrup, but thats in glass and quite heavy, may set off the alarms, id like my package to arrrive neatly wrapped in the pretty wrapping paper i want to use, not have the customs office tear it all up looking inside.

        • Andrew
          March 10, 2013 @ 9:28 am

          I have gotten cookies and candies shipped to me no problem. I expect packaged stuff is less likely to cause problems than fresh fruit where they might be worried about bugs. I might even try to avoid glass. You never know how bashed around a package might be in transit and if the glass could break, that could be a mess (though a nice smelling one if it was maple syrup). You definitely can get it here too.

          As for the neatly wrapped. Dunno. If they decide not to open it at all, it might be ok, but if they decide they need to look inside the wrapping will be opened. That is kind of just a risk you have to take.

          Let me know how it all works out.

    • Willy
      February 4, 2015 @ 6:44 am

      Agree with the comment: A bag of assorited candy bars. We don’t have Hershys bars, or with Almonds or even Mr. Goodbars. Also the comment about Grape jelly and Maple surup! Tea candles are at every dollor store, but Special candles are a huge hot over here. Some of my friends ask for Beef jerky,, spicy ones as they are not overly spicy over here.
      Not adding much,,, mainly wanted to confirm the other idea’s.

  5. Janelle
    March 2, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

    Choice is a matter of what is important in a particular country. I live in Bulgaria. While there may only be two types of peanut butter available, and none of those really that great, there are at least 50 different varieties of olives. Oh yes, we’re way beyond the choice between black and green that you see in the States. And the local feta cheese comes in a vast array of choices, something I always miss when I get to the States and have to make do with the poor quality and selection of feta available there.

    • Andrew
      March 7, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

      Indeed. The choice available is driven on the local demands and supplies.
      I’ve seen olive bars both in the US and in Germany, but not 50 kinds. Now a choice in Feta sounds really unique. Most expats have that issue when they try to go home, they miss things from their host country. It is part of what makes us unique. We miss things from both sides.

  6. Jessica
    February 15, 2013 @ 9:12 am

    this is a very interesting article – I haven’t been to America yet, so I can’t compare but one thing I don’t like is that when you try to buy something from amazon.com in Germany they always take you to .de and the german site ever offers the same stuff or for the same prices.

    • Andrew
      February 17, 2013 @ 12:23 am

      There are shipping and customs things involved in not being able to buy direct from .com. I very often get stuff from co.uk without issues though. I have not really looked for food on Amazon, but maybe I will.

  7. JZ
    February 8, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

    Nice article!!!

    One thing about contact-lens fluid… What you find in german optician stores is usually top quality brands. It’s possible to get cheap no-brand contact-lens fluids in places like Müller. 250ml bottle could cost as cheap as 3€. I assume that a pack of 2 bottles of Alcon Opti-Free would cost around $20 in the US, just like here.

    • Andrew
      February 9, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it.
      We will have to check out Mueller soon. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Life Lessons of a Military Wife
    February 5, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

    Great article! Gonna share:-)

    • Andrew
      February 9, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

      Thanks. Feel free to add comment and add anything I might have missed. I can well imagine that different areas of Germany are different in this way too.

  9. Jeremy Branham
    February 4, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

    That’s too bad about the electronics. You would think those would be pretty good gifts. I would be very disappointed with no grape jelly. Guess they can’t waste good grapes in Europe on something as silly as jelly 🙂

    • Andrew
      February 4, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

      Yeah, that is about what we figure with the grapes. They are for wine or occasional table eating, not for any other form.

  10. Jan
    February 3, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

    Most expats I work with lament the lack of good Mexican food places. I think you are right, though–you can get most stuff, but you will pay for it! As a teacher in the U.S., I was used to seeing school supplies (packs of loose-leaf notebook paper, crayons, etc.) going for quarters a piece in August, so seeing the price of those items here blew my mind. Three Euros for 8 crayons??? They were in a nice case, but still, it was too much!

    • Andrew
      February 4, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

      Mexican is what Ali misses the most foodwise. I definitely could go for a tamale some days.

      The school supplies thing is interesting. I don’t buy so much, but I like notebooks to scribble in. I have noticed that they are much more expensive than I am used to in the US.

  11. Steven
    January 21, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

    You can’t get Sudafed here, or anything even remotely as effective. The closest I’ve seen is Sinupret, and it’s like a pale imitation of Sudafed.

    • Andrew
      February 2, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

      Yeah, the drugs are different here. I actually like Sinupret. I very often have sinus issues. I find the Sinupret helps without the drugged out feeling of Sudafed.

  12. Stephanie
    January 21, 2013 @ 3:01 am

    It seems like quite a curious question, from a European. Germany is one of the most efficent and develped counties in Europe. I love Rischart in Germany, massive cakes! 🙂

    • Andrew
      February 2, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

      It comes down to specifics. What things/brands/sizes you can’t find in Germany that might be commonplace in the US. It isn’t about whether Germany is developed or not, but whether the comforts that expats seek are here.
      I like cake, unfortunately the German cakes are not what I am used to from home. They are too solid and not fluffy or really even sweet enough.

    • Akhenaten
      February 5, 2013 @ 1:28 am

      I really don’t think it’s got anything to do with Germany being developed either. I assume it is more a question of demand and if companies think they can sell it here in Germany. For example, I don’t know many Germans who eat peanut butter on a regular basis, hence, you don’t get many different brands.

      Yet that doesn’t exactly explains why Coca-Cola started a huge campaign launching cherry coke back in the eighties, stopped selling it here in the nineties and relaunching it a few years ago.

      On the other hand why do you get for example Fanta with pineapple flavor in France yet it has never been sold in Germany. Do we Germans like pineapple less than the French? Obviously, Coca-Cola thinks so.

      And sometimes it just takes some time – sometimes a very long time – before some flavors or brands are sold here. I grew up in Kaiserslautern a city that had a lot of US army barracks. My father knew an American family and once in while they brought Froot Loops with them when they visited us which I loved and that could not be bought here for another 15 years.

      Btw. It never occurred to me that you don’t have mezzo mix in the US.

      @Andrew I really enjoy reading your blog.

      • Andrew
        February 9, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

        Yeah, I expect it is a version of demand. Meh, Coke is a different one. They have a market share for coke basic and are always trying to expand that. They also have the marketing budget to fail, so it isnt that big a deal to try things.

        Fanta is an interesting point. I only remember it as a grapefruit soda growing up in the US. Ali though only thought of it as orange, and here they have a number of different flavors. Now you are throwing pineapple into the mix?

        Being able to get stuff from the PX on a base would be great. I just don’t have those connections. I think the nearest base is Heidelberg or Stuttgart anyway.

        Most Americans that I have mentioned it to thought the concept of mezzo mix to be gross. Though even as a kid I was more than happy to mix whatever was in the fridge together and try it.

        Glad you enjoy the blog. Glad to see Germans dropping by and liking what I write.