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Posts Tagged ‘la Tranche sur Mer’

La Tranche Sur Mer, on the Atlantic Coast of France, is one of those typically Euro beach destinations: lots of camping grounds, men who think it’s okay to terrify the female public by strutting around in a pair of form-revealing speedos, kids dragging giant inflatable animal-shaped float-aids along the street and lots and lots of ice cream shops. I can’t actually work out how all the different ice cream shops make any money because there are so many of them, but practicalities aside, they are skilled in the art of displaying their products in ways that make you not just want ice cream but physically NEED it.

The vendors accessorise their ice cream to show what taste you’ll be licking off the cone. In the top picture, the nutella ice cream was indicated by a whole jar of nutella stuck into the top of its vat. In the picture above, strawberries show that the red ice cream is strawberry flavoured. That’s what I call ingenious ice cream merchandising.  Then below we have limes showing lime ice cream and flowers to indicate… what exactly? It can’t be flower ice cream.  Perhaps it’s almond. Those flower petals look suspiciously like dragées and some couples give sugared almond flowers to the guests on their wedding day.

The shot below isn’t great but I have yet to work out what Arlequin ice cream is. Hundreds and thousands sprinkled over the top… all different colours… could be tutti frutti, I guess. I’ve googled and still can’t work it out. If you read this and know what Arlequin ice cream tastes like, please let me know!

Monsieur and I didn’t even glance at the dessert card at the restaurant where we’d dined that evening. We paid the bill, walked out onto the still-busy street, found an ice cream stand where the ‘accessorising’ was particularly good, and ordered. I had a two scoop cup with coconut and guimauve.

“How do you translate guimauve into English?” I asked Monsieur.

“I don’t really know.” Came his reply.

Qu’est-ce que c’est, la guimauve?” I asked the ice cream man.

La guimauve, c’est, euh, la guimauve!”

He gave a gallic shrug, throwing his hands up into the air. Monsieur and the ice cream man were of no help to me at all. Looking at the display, the guimauve ice cream was studded with multi-coloured marshmallow twists on sticks. I hoped that when I ordered guimauve flavour, the taste would indeed be marshmallow, and it was. That’s another reason why this sort of merchandising is so clever: it helps foreigners like me to understand what they’re eating…

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On Epicurienne I have made no secret of my dislike of children’s souvenir tees which say stupid things like “My Mom went to Vegas and all she bought me was this lousy tee-shirt”. (Honestly, people really do waste their money on silly things, but then they’re probably the same people who eat at McDonald’s in the middle of a diet, i.e. they make no sense.) These annoying tees come in teeny sizes indicating that the wearer cannot possibly read yet, let alone enunciate such things (turn away, now, Mensa children, we’re not talking about you). Anyway, when Monsieur and I were in France last week I spotted a French version of these tiny tourist tees:

It says

“My granny brought me back this pretty tee shirt from La Tranche sur Mer”

I have to admit that the design is sweet, and the cursive writing is très Frenchified, so the result isn’t as tacky as the Vegas versions, BUT isn’t it just a bit ironic that in the land that gave us Bonpoint, Petit Bateau, Absorba and other children’s fashion houses producing clothes so sweet they’re capable of converting the most determined child-free couple into the obsessively child-mad overnight, people would want to buy one of these? I remain unconvinced that the French would make their children wear such things. For ages, I’ve been scouring crowds of kids on trips to France for evidence that I might be wrong, but so far, it seems I’m right. Even the French supermarkets’ kids’ clothes have an almost edible quality of cute. The lousy tee-shirts must be intended solely for doof foreigners who think it’s chic to make their child wear a French-language top, even if they don’t know what it means.

On the other hand, I quite like this one, spotted in Grasse earlier this year:

“If you think I’m adorable, you should see my Mum!”

Now that’s what I call a compliment for a hard-working Maman. So much better…

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