…there’s this cookie in France. More of a cake-like thing, really. About the size of a Madeleine scallop, and made from a similar but less glorious yellow sponge cake, shaped like a bear. Where the paws are, there are dollops of chocolate. It’s called “Lulu l’ourson” – Lulu the bear. It’s nothing extraordinary – it’s for kids, and designed to appeal to them, and I guess it does, because Sasha the other day pleaded until we bought a box. It had been a stressful week, the week of la Rentrée (return to school), and I had been popping back and forth to Paris, missing a lot of it, leaving Mama to deal, so we caved to the targeted sugar high.
What we didn’t realize was what a future he has in advertising – a veritable Don Draper of the pre-school. Does he refer to them as “Lulu l’ourson”? No, he does not. He has his own name for them, and I ask you, whereas you may take a pass when someone offers you a ‘Lulu’, wouldn’t you be tempted by a…wait for it… “Tasty Chocolate Butter Bear”?
I mean, holy crap, that’s a Willie Wonka wet dream. I’m over 50, without a particular sweet tooth, and even I want a Tasty Chocolate Butter Bear.
And come to think of it, a TCBB might even inspire a few Proustian Madeleine memories…
French advertising can be interesting. By turns absolutely earnest and self-deprecating, but always, always enthusiastic.
In the UK, there’s a brand of biscuits – McVite’s – which are ubiquitous over there, and when I was a young and backpacking gypsy I pretty much survived on them. The flagship variety is the poorly named “Wholemeal Digestive”, but it’s really quite delicious, sort of a dense graham-crackery thing. When I returned to the states after traveling, I sought them out at specialty stores, paid a lot more for them, and indulged only rarely. Now, in France, they’re readily available, and almost cheaper than in the UK, so I gorge myself regularly. I noticed this bit of cultural illumination on the package the other day, sort of indicative of the relationship between Great Britain and France:
“It’s English, but it’s good!”
I particularly like the implied, “No, seriously…”
They carry it to a delightful extreme in a commerical:
English version here.
And then there’s the purely (purely) French products…
Couple of things here (this is a readily available Roquefort): the words in red are “cave saveur”, which basically translates as “cave flavor”. In the cheese world this is a good thing. But what caught my eye was the “150g de plaisir!”, or “150 grams of Pleasure!” Which, ya know, may or may not have been my nickname in college…