samedi 15 mai 2010

Petit Ecolier chocolate biscuits

Petit Écolier chocolate biscuits 
by LU (Lefèvre-Utile)

Oops... I just ate half a packet of chocolate biscuits! Naughty me.

Yesterday I was at the supermarket browsing the biscuits aisle. I have not done so for at least a month as I generally like to eat healthily. I actually passed by the biscuits by accident.

Australian biscuits are generally pretty good. Chocolate Tim Tams are famous and everybody from overseas loves them too. Most things sold in our supermarkets are made in Australia. There are actually very few imported products so it was kind of a shock to see these and being French, I had to have them ;) They cost me around $3.50 for a packet of 12. A quick search on the internet tells me they sell for around 1,30-2€ in France (1,6€ is AUD$2.20).

There's an interesting and funny article here on Nice up of tea and a sit down about these biscuits:

"What happens when you take an unremarkable biscuit, slap a big old lump of chocolate on it and call it rather dubiously a 'small schoolboy'? Well, you get the flagship biscuit for leading French biscuit manufacturer LU. As Gallic as a three hour lunch break or a terrifyingly constructed road junction, the Petit Écolier is not a biscuit that I would expect to see in our shops anytime soon.

On first encountering the Petit Écolier it appears bizarre, having embossed onto its slab of chocolate an odd looking child carrying a basket. On further investigation it turns out that the lad in question is called Jacques, son of poster artist Firmin Bouisset and painted by him in 1897. The baker and biscuit maker LU was founded by the husband and wife team of Pauline Utile and Jean-Romain Lefèvre, in the Tourane region of France, their surnames giving rise to the company name. They adopted the image of the little school boy, originally pictured eating straight forward Petit Beurre, over the even madder image of a flying trumpeting laurel distributing angel type woman. Back in the 19th century the little chap must have thought Petit Beurres were cutting edge biscuit heaven. Nowadays they are ranked somewhat below balsa wood, charcoal briquettes and airline food in the league table of appetising things to eat.

As one might expect with such an elaborate biscuit, it ships in a little cardboard box with a tray insert, a dozen to a pack. Different versions exist, milk, plain chocolate, caramel flavoured, or hazelnut. All of these have their own elusive charm, but given the almost transitory nature of the biscuit and chocolate coupling, I can easily imagine other toppings replacing the chocolate, sardine or radish for example.

The chocolate is nice, soft and creamy but I feel that the biscuit is a little too dry. If it was just the biscuit by itself I don't think I'd like it very much (and feel the need to drink a lot) but together with the chocolate, it makes a great combo."

Information Nutritionnelle

I love reading the packaging of European foodstuffs because there are always so many languages on it.  One thing I noticed on my box of Petit Écolier is that there's a sticker with "Imported by Kraft Foods Limited" and they have 'translated' the ingredients and quantities.  On the box itself is the amount per serving (milligrams or grams) , and % of daily value, but the Australian way is to have amount per serving and amount per 100g. I prefer the amount per 100g column because it makes it easy to compare the ingredients of the same goods across different brands, and it is also the percentage, eg if this contains 24g fat per 100g it means it is 24% fat. I guess Europeans/other countries don't use this?

The strangest thing is that the amount per serving (25g or 2 biscuits) on the box is not the same as the sticker. eg sodium is 50mg on the box but 56mg on the sticker!

There are speciality supermarkets here that specialise in imported goods from all around the world and these are always fun to browse in, but even though I see a lot of Italian goods I rarely see French ones. Bizarre.

Oh, I just realised if one portion is 2 biscuits, I just ate 3 portions... oops! No more for me for a while.


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