The food in Japan is pretty delicious. And by that, I mean Japanese food.
Foreign food? Well, it’s a hit or miss. You can find delicious imported food for a quite hefty price. You can also find okay imported food for a hefty price (looking at you, “imported food stores in shopping malls,” you know who you are.) And you can also find “imported food” in regular supermarkets.
Unfortunately, one nation has been repeatedly disrespected and abused with this and it’s… France.
See, a lot of Japanese people, especially the more refined ones (understand the Japanese bourgeoisie, mostly) love French food… Wait, scratch that… A certain part of the Japanese population loves the idea of French food. They don’t know the first thing about French food and would probably hate most actual French food if they tried it.
They probably try it when they go to Paris… It just so happens that real Japanese restaurants in Paris are full of mainly two kinds of customers: French people who fantasize about Japan and Japanese tourists who have tried real French food.
Okay, time for a disclaimer before someone gets offended. “Not all Japanese people.” Of course, there are a few who actually love the real thing. I mean, I know. I wouldn’t have met my wife otherwise.
So, as many Japanese people love the idea of French food, but wouldn’t like the real thing, and the real thing is quite pricey when you import it (and that’s only for the parts that can actually travel to the other side of the planet), “fake French food” is quite popular and common in Japan. After all, what really matters is that there’s a French flag on the box, right?
And this brings us to my topic of the day.
Fake French Cheese in Japan
My supermarket has a whole section of its dairy aisle dedicated to it (there’s also some fake Italian cheese, but I’ll let an Italian write about them if you don’t mind).
If you follow me on social media, on the Good Place, you already have had a glimpse of it.
Alright, I’ll show you one that I published there first, and you get the exclusivity of the following one.
“Camembert in Cheese.”
Some wars have been started for less than that. It is by no means not even closely related to Camembert, and if you don’t already know, the main hint is the brand: Kraft. It’s an American brand (if you don’t know already, stay away from all American cheeses at all costs.) Let’s just say that this would be illegal in France. Not joking. It literally would be illegal to put the word “Camembert” on such a thing.
Which brings us to my finding of the day:
So it’s a… France Mini Cheese Set… I almost added “Starter Pack” by mistake.
And I’m not sure what to say.
Let’s see what’s inside.
- Mini Camembert: Hmmm… Mayyybeee… But no!
I mean, a “Mini Camembert” is not technically impossible, but… Well, I mentioned laws earlier. I’m pretty sure size is more or less part of the regulations of what defines a camembert. But I could be wrong… Maybe…
- Mini Brie: Take the few lines above, replace “Camembert” with “Brie” and you have my thoughts.
And this is now that it gets “interesting.”
- Cheese on Cracker: And here, people, is probably my number one pet peeve about silly clichés about France and its food. No. No. No. And one more time, NO! French people do not eat cheese on crackers. The first time I heard of French people eating cheese on crackers was in the US where people told me this is what French people do. The only people I have ever seen eat cheese on crackers are foreigners (mostly Americans) doing it in order to try to look French or something (they would have looked more French had they worn a beret if you’re asking me, although they would probably have worn it improperly).
Come on, people, crackers are not even a French thing!
If Japanese people don’t know that, it is excusable, but Anglos? Really?
I think it comes from the fact that French people do eat cheese on bread. We eat it on French bread, you know baguette and such. It turns out that the US doesn’t really have any edible sort of bread, so they took the next thing they could find, and that is crackers.
There’s also this silly idea that anything French has to be sexy and refined, and fresh baguette is not really sexy or refined. Eating baguette is messy! A slice has an irregular shape. There are crumbs everywhere. And it’s very difficult to eat one with your pinky up in the air.
I guess that crackers are sexy and refined, somehow? Come on! Eating cheese is not supposed to be sexy or refined! Most French cheeses stink for chrissake! And you won’t want to kiss anyone after they ate some. Jeez.
- Cream Cheese: What? Did I read this wrong? Is it a typo? c.r.e.a.m.space.c.h.e.e.s.e… Cream Cheese? Cream Cheese is not even French! It’s American! Or British! One of those! Once again, I had never heard of cream cheese before setting foot in the US.
Okay, who’s responsible for this starter pack? What is their name? Chesco? Come on Chesco! You’re not even trying here. One can’t find cream cheese in France! Except maybe in a shop for masochistic people. I’m not trying to kink shame anyone here, sorry.
Alright, I admit, cream cheese is not as gross as fake camembert, but are we even sure this is real cream cheese before getting excited?
Even if it is, why on earth has it ended up in a box of supposedly French cheese?
Some say that cream cheese is like crème fraîche. No, it’s not. Not at all. You don’t want to eat crème fraîche on bread or toast or even crackers. Crème fraîche is not supposed to be eaten like this. It’s an ingredient for cooking.
Oh goodness. We’re lucky there were only four things in this box.
Please Japanese and American people, stay away from French cheese. Please, do. Unless you’re in France. In that case, please, eat it.
Alright, I’m going to stop here for today, I could rant about foreigners disrespecting French cheese (and if you disrespect French cheese, you disrespect France) all night. None of us wants that, right?
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Disclaimer: Dear local supermarket, I took a picture in your facility despite the fact that there is a “no photo” sign on your front door. Yes, I saw it, and I still took a picture (more than one to be honest.) Please, don’t send me to jail, I did it for educational purposes. I want Japanese people to learn about real French cheese, and what you sell is definitely not that. No disrespect meant, I don’t want to go to jail.