Go Figure

I’m in the middle of leading a week-long Paris chocolate tour with Mort Rosenblum.

So far, we’ve been enjoying…

…the buttery-smooth caramels of Jacques Genin, studded with exotic Iranian pistachio nuts…

…fluffy, bittersweet chocolate-covered marshmallows from Pierre Marcolini…

…a delicious grande aïoli at Susan Loomis’ country home…

…almond-rich, tender financiers from Eric Kayser…

…briny oysters and cool rosé at La Coupole…

…and Patrick Roger’s luscious chocolates filled with salted butter caramel.

But you know what’s gotten some folks the most excited?

lays.jpg

The roast chicken-flavored potato chips I found at the autoroute rest stop boutique.

Go figure.

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19 comments

  • Beyond sad.

    Incidentally, I once heard that one reason the French have so much contempt for the U.S. is because of all the (European) countries, they most resemble us. I have no idea if this is true and it somehow clashes with my own experience. What do you think?

  • Ohhh…like the Chicken in a Biscuit crackers, only crunchier. I am very envious of the chocolate adventures and I hope you are all having a grand time and making good friends.

  • Roast CHICKEN!?!?!? Woooohoooo! I’m so stocking up on this when I get there this month. Not going to bother with the Pierre Hermes and the Bourgogne!

  • I’m holding out for the Saveur Confit de Canard… ;-)

  • There’s an International Flavor selection of potato chips now all from those crazy folks at Lays: spicy crab, shrimp, roast chicken, wasabi and seaweed, etc. I took some photos of them last year just to prove to friends that they were available locally.

  • What was particularly odd when one of the ingredients was ‘chicken powder’.

    What the heck is chicken powder?

    Gary: I don’t know if the French are the world leaders in having contempt for the US. But more than many other European countries, I think the French guard their ‘Frenchness’ more than others.

    (Although that doesn’t really explain the explosive popularity of McDonald’s and Starbucks around here.)

    The struggle in France now is how to retain their cultural identity in the face of globalization, which is something that is perhaps happening in the US as well.

    I see a certain amount of envy between the two countries: both are fascinated with each other. Americans flock here in droves to sample the cuisine and enjoy the culture, while many French have told me how much they love to visit America and like American things.

    One friend who runs a terribly-chic art gallery in Paris told he how much he…“…loves those little warm egg sandwiches they serve at McDonald’s. They are so good!”

    I think the US could take a few cues from the excellent French health care system and the French could take a few cues from our easy-access banking system.

    But I think the chicken chips should stay on this side of the Atlantic.

  • David.. that is why you are such a great guide.. showing people what is so FRENCH!

    not just what people think is french.

  • Yes, I have people come here and stock up on Kinder Eggs!! :)

  • I’m in the UK where Walkers and others have been making chicken, beef and onion, salt and vinegar, prawn cocktail, Marmite, etc. crisps (sic) since I was a child.

    I suspect ‘chicken powder’ is ground up ‘chicken everythings’, all the stuff that McD doesn’t put in its nuggets. And for that reason, since BSE, I haven’t touched the ‘beef’ varieties.

    Gimme Marmite crisps!

    Anyone in the UK remember hedgehog flavoured crisps (1970s, I think)?

  • On the basis of limited sampling, I’d agree that crisps/chips are a weak link in French snacking culture. Here the English–or at least the producers of Kettle Crisps, there are also some appalling mass-market varieties with prawn flavoring–may have the edge.

  • Flavoured chips perplex,
    Chemical aromas – Blech!
    I prefer mine plain.

  • this is so ripped off from the Brits who have valiantly provided every possible flavour of potato chip or crisp since long before the beginning of time. Or thyme?

    And of course I remember hedgehog crisps. See.

    BTW We made one of your ice cream recipes at Tante Maries last night and it was darned good I am going to get you down the alter yesterday.

    I will answer your email now, promise.

  • this is so ripped off from the Brits who have valiantly provided every possible flavour of potato chip or crisp since long before the beginning of time. Or thyme?

    And of course I remember hedgehog crisps. See.

    BTW We made one of your ice cream recipes at Tante Maries last night and it was darned good I am going to get you down the alter yesterday.

    I will answer your email now, promise.

  • I’ll never understand what the French see in the almighty American MUFFIN! Those chips are Brit.

  • I have to say that when I went to Taiwan, I spent several minutes browsing the 7-11 there. So interesting to see tea eggs, bao, rice balls, and dozens of tea drinks where Americans would have hot dogs, doughnuts, and slurpees… I would never eat that stuff but gladly made lunch out of Taiwanese convenience food.

  • CHICKEN flavored chips? That’s amazing. I am moving to France.

  • When I was in Greece I fell really hard for the oregano potato chips — but I dunno if I could handle roast chicken flavored ones!

  • I have to echo what somebody above said – I suspect those came from across the channel in Britain where we have truly made every flavour of crisp known to man. My favourite (now discontinued) was a Thai green curry crisp – just yum. Really.