Move to Belgium!simonm wrote: ↑Sun May 12, 2019 10:56 amBread, Beer, Milk, cheese, chocolate.
Bread throughout Europe has been replaced by factory produced bread-like objects that are re-heated to produced fluffy looking baguette like objects that turning into a sticky chewy mush when put in your mouth. Some "premium" versions has the added features of cutting strips out of the roof of your month and even mored exclusive variants additional burn you with too much salt.
The first sign in any country that bread is being eliminated is the introduction of the industrial bagel (I cannot deny that a few New Yorkers here have local bakers who still make real ones.) This is a chewy tasteless roll that soon seems like something interesting when compared to the fluffy sticky balloon goo on the other shelves in the supermarket. It still has a certain "body". People who like fat often extoll the virtues of bagels but the reason is that it has enough physical strength to carry the load of sour cream and other fats they load it up with. Once people accept the industrial bagel as "bread" then all is lost.
Beer is a mixed bag. What has happened in Europe is that the older decent brands have been bought up by the mega breweries or other large food concerns. Small brewers are forced to close as people believe advertising. The older brands are made more efficient with the taste being removed. The mega-brewers then introduced nationally or internationally available "craft-beers" (written on the bottle so it must be good) as premium beers costing 3 or more times as much as the true small brewery beers and all is well. So yes there is still a reasonable of chance of finding a decent beer almost anywhere, butt he production landscape has completely changed. Small local breweries whether traditional or new are in a very precarious position: they can be steam-rolled at any time by a new "craft beer" from one of the mega breweries who are perfectly capable of very good beers if they want.
Some people here haved experience milk fresh from the cow. Many others will have memories of milk in glass bottles where cream floated to the top and solidified enough that you could turn the bottle upside down with the lid off and the milk would not flow out. Yet others may be puzzled why cream is white but the colour "cream" is yellow. Others may be puzzled that not all milk comes chocolate flavored ....
Cheese ... there are a few bright spots to be honest. The french fortunately hold cheese in reverence. Industrial cheddar (insert name of any regional "hard" cheese) on the other hand has a texture like erasers for pencils and possible the same taste. I once was totally puzzled by some Irish "Kerrygold" cheddar in slices which I bought in Ireland. It has the EU mark on it for a Belgian Dairy. I was told that is was in fact Irish Cheddar but it was shipped to Belgium to be sliced and packed as the cutting and packing process required more investment that the producer wanted to expend. So you buy a "local" Irish cheese in Ireland that has travelled across the Irish sea, the UK, the English channel, through Belgium and then back and all that 100% above board.
"Premium Chocolate" versus real chocolate. It has unfortunately got to the stage where almost every single chocolate with a recognizable brand name regardless of the price and percentage of cocoa in it tastes mainly of sugar, salt and lecithin. Airports are a perfect place to confirm this. Every "duty free" shop on the planet has almost the exact same range of vastly overpriced "chocolate-like" products with international brand recognition. Price is proportion to colour - darker = more expensive. Smoothness (i.e. more chemicals ) is a synonymous with quality. Cloying sweetness pleases everyone so long as everything else is a taste free. Tiny exaggeration on the latter point - if sold as pralines then an appropriate range of alcohol or chemical fruit flavors is OK.
So what has gone extinct or is endangered in your food world? Tofu comes to mind as something that might have change over the years but I have 0 experience.
Not perfect, but you can find any of the lost products you mentioned. Agreed, you have to search a little for them, but even for cheese, I don't have to go to France (50 km from home... Most products - even good chocolate - are cheaper in France so I go regularly to France anyway).