Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cross-cultural Easter candy landscape

Yet another cultural difference for the records.

I associate Easter with pastel-colored candies (like the iconic Peeps and mini-eggs), Cadbury creme eggs, and whole, solid-chocolate rabbits. Plus seasonal changes, religious mutterings, gradual warming, school holidays, snow melting, and ritually hiding tiny chocolate eggs in challenging locations (sometimes locating last year's outstandingly-secreted eggs at the same time).

The season is already quite warm here; rather, it never got cold enough to trigger my winter-detector. Early flowers have been blooming. The clever French staggered-national-school-break schedule means that my part of the "Easter" vacation is not proximate to the calendar date. (This is done so that "every family gets to take a skiing holiday", avoiding overcrowding schedule conflicts, I am told.)

The big difference --- from my perspective --- is the candy landscape. The various pastel-colored sugar atrocities deeply ingrained by my childhood are not available; the import supermarkets have creme eggs only.
Instead, the French* prefer elaborately crafted chocolate figures. Packaging is pastel-colored, but the edible itself seems to be mostly chocolate (albeit, often white "chocolate" which has been colored). These ornate figures are then whimsically arrayed.
Bunnies figure heavily, as do eggs. But also cats, fish, chickens and roosters (separately; chickens often roosting on an entirely-chocolate nest which itself contains chocolate eggs), pigs, and assorted other childhoodish livestock. (See above: cow, duck, etc.)
 Most unexpectedly, there is a resurgence in giant pyramids and transparent plastic bricks packed with Ferrero Rocher (overflowing its usual calendar-containment zone near Christmas).

This post's theme word is eidos, "the formal sum of a culture, its intellectual character, ideas, etc." The chocolate chicken is no French eidos, but in provides an interesting glimpse into celebratory childhood comestibles.

*or at least, Parisian; or at least, Parisian on-display-near-my-work-and-home-and-throughout-the-metro-area [standord blogging anecdata generalization disclaimer here]

No comments: