Help me mail a pie. To Canada.
February 3, 2010 6:04 AM   Subscribe

My romantic associate lives in Canada. I live in the US. He loves pie. I love baking. Help me make Valentine's Day a success.

I've sent Snickers bars and Tostitos to American junk food-deprived friends abroad, but I've never tried to send homemade baked goods across international lines. Is it legal? I'm assuming I should use a courier service like DHL to make sure the pie gets where it needs to go on time. Does anyone have experience with a specific company? Also: how should I pack it?

Anonymous because said romantic associate knows of my deep, abiding love for the green, and that would ruin the surprise.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Canada (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not to rain on your parade, but I don't know if pie will work here. It seems like if the box ever got turned over in transit, the filling would fall out. I don't know if you can get the "This Side Up" marking on a small box, or whether that instruction is even followed most of the time.

I have successfully shipped blondies and brownies before. They hold up well, I think. I generally wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and then seal them in a gallon ziplock bag, and pack it into the box with crumpled up newspaper.

Cobbler might ship better if you put it in a tupperware-like thing so that it couldn't spill or get smushed too much if it were inverted en route.

Good luck.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:32 AM on February 3, 2010

Any time I have returned to Canada from the US, the rule is that food must be commercially prepared, and in a sealed container. If customs decides to search your package, consider it gone.

Sending this and/or receiving it may, in fact, be illegal.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 6:35 AM on February 3, 2010

I think the best way to go would be to make either hand pies or a slab pie. Either of these pie formats is going to lend significantly more structural stability and overcome the issue of your box being tossed around while in transit.

If you go for a slab pie, put it on a piece of cardboard, wrap in foil, seal in a large zip-loc bag, and then package that in a box with crumpled newspaper above and below. If you go for hand pies, pack into a plastic container, and pack that into a cardboard box with newspaper on all sides. You want to make sure that the pie is snugly within the mailing container, with as little jiggling room as possible. Definitely go for an express delivery service.

I can't speak on the legalities of this in the slightest.
posted by amelioration at 6:49 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I forgot about this option, which might be best for surviving shipping: individual pies baked in jars.
posted by amelioration at 6:50 AM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have sent baked goods to Canada (as part of a Mefight Club baked goods exchange). I did not have any problem. Pie would be very difficult to send in the mail. Cookies or brownies work the best.

Help for cookies, and cakes. I mailed cookies and I wish I had seen this advice before I did.

If you REALLY want to send pie, all I can say is maybe mail the pie crust and filling separately? You can pack up the pie crust well in a box and mail, then make up the filling and freeze it and send it in an insulated container express mail.

I sent all my baked goods via international priority mail and they arrived in pretty good time (a few days to a week).

The only thing about customs is to make sure to use real butter, because it is illegal to mail margarine to Canada. Mostly kidding, I think it's OK if it's in a baked good. It is illegal to mail straight margarine to Canada, though. I filled out the customs form and I put cookies on it, they didn't blink an eye.
posted by jefeweiss at 6:58 AM on February 3, 2010

Definitely mini pies in jars. Cut hearts out of the top as vents, and they look quite Valentiney.
posted by illenion at 8:51 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Mailing the crust and filling separately probably isn't the best idea. I'm saying this because my parents once had cannoli sent to me by mail. They sent the filling and the shells separately and I found that I was not as good at filling the cannoli as people who actually knew what they were doing are, so I had these ugly-looking things.

They still tasted good, though.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:55 AM on February 3, 2010

to Canada from the US, the rule is that food must be commercially prepared, and in a sealed container.

I've counterfeited some pretty commercial looking packages to get around this, complete with ingredients and Nutritional Information. Shrink wrap the thing when done and it looks just like a shelf-product from Rokusan's Fine Deli Products Inc.

Of course, that's a lot of work if you're not the same sort of crazy person.
posted by rokusan at 9:14 AM on February 3, 2010

You don't get to bake it, but it's probably much easier to find a bakery in his city/town and have them deliver him some surprise pies. Like, every day for the week of the 14th?

If they don't offer delivery, call a courier in the same city. Send them to the bakery. And so on.
posted by rokusan at 9:16 AM on February 3, 2010

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