Deprived? Who, me?

Deprived? Who, me?

One of the things that fascinated me about my workplace in the Silicon Valley was the very American profusion of food : the huge refrigerators in the kitchen were filled with every possible kind of soft drink (including those nasty nasty frappuccinos), the freezer was stocked with instant meals and frozen burritos (we’re talking engineer food here), and the cabinets and shelves looked like a movie theater snack stand : chips, nuts, beef jerky, microwave popcorn, crackers, cookies, chocolate bars and candy.

In the lobby, all screaming orange and blue with our cool 3D logo up on the wall, there was a bucket-sized bowl filled with mini peanut butter cups. I assumed these were for guests to nibble on while they waited, but I still picked up a few from time to time on my way out. At the first traffic light, I would unwrap the golden foil. At the second, I would start loosening the sides of the small ribbed paper cup, but very gently, so as not to lose too much chocolate into the creases. At the third, I would free the chocolate bite from its casing. And once on Highway 82, picking up speed, turning the music on louder, and checking the clock to see if carpool time was over, I would gobble up my mini-friend, letting it melt on my tongue, sweet milk chocolate, then soft, gooey peanut butter.

After my post about missing those little peanut butter cups, fellow Parisian food blogger Meg told me she was about to place an order on Expat Shopping, and kindly offered to throw in a couple of pb cup bags for me. I went to get them last Wednesday at her gorgeous appartment, and this was of course a great opportunity to meet her, and The Critic she mentions in her posts. Both were, as expected, super kind and friendly: we drank a little wine, I nosed around the kitchen – couldn’t help it – and I left their place light-hearted and happy, from the encounter and the bounty.

And now, our very own living-room boasts a big basket full of pb cups. We are gradually converting all our friends to the magic — if there are enough of us, perhaps we can start lobbying for a steady import stream.

As a sidenote for Parisians, the ground floor of the new Lafayette Maison has a cool selection of food items, including the large peanut butter cups. The package of two will cost you 1.55 euros, but sometimes you just have to have your shot of peanut butter and chocolate.

  • nattie

    Ah nostalgia! Oddly enough, not for the PB cups, though they’re gorgeous as well, but the random profusion of foods in the company kitchen that I remember from my sweetie’s time in SF as well. Hansen’s Natural Sodas, anyone? Mmmmmmm. You can get them here, but only at the cinema, and I usually forget as I’m usually in need of a big caffeine hit when I’m there. :-)

    Once more unto the breach, my friends – only a few more days on this paper and I’m DONE with this degree! (I hope…)

  • http://meglioranza.com Tom Meglioranza

    I wonder if you were in the states when they began to introduce all the PBC variations that are now available–white chocolate, dark chocolate, honey-nut, inside-out, crunchy, cookie-embedded. Though fun, hardly any of the variations improve upon the original EXCEPT the white chocolate. Definitely worth seeking out. Let me know if you can’t find it online.

  • Jennifer

    Yum. Peanut Butter Cups. I am lucky enough to be able to get them anytime I want, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the “convenience” store across the street from us sells them…probably only to me!

    If I ever come to Paris…I will bring you some, I promise. But in the mean time, I am trying a few recipes out that are supposed to taste quite similar…I’ll let you know if I come up with something worth while.

  • ROBERT

    Clotilde,
    Next time you are in the mood for a slew of brownies, try baking them in small cupcake tins and pressing a mini-peanut butter cup into the batter before baking. Gilding the junk food lily, to be sure, but so yummy!

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com Meg in Paris

    Clotilde, it really was our pleasure! It was lovely to finally meet you in the flesh (as opposed to cyber-space). And I’m so glad the cups are being used in such a charming way: a perpetual Halloween!

    I’m not sure all Americans are that generous, but I have to add that the American law office where I work in Paris supplies us with free cookies, juice, coffee and a *choice* of bottled waters. After working in a constantly under-budgeted organisation, it’s soooo nice…though not so good for the waistline!

  • jessica

    Gee – it takes you three traffic lights to eat your (mini) peanut butter cups? I usually scarf mine down before I get the car door shut!
    The larger Recese’s cups are much better than the mini’s (in my opinion). Eat all the chocolate around the edges and then pop the pnut center in your mouth…mmmmmm.
    ps – Loving your site here in Boston, MA, USA
    Jessica~

  • http://davesbeer.com/Weber_cam/blogger.html Dave

    I am quite obviously NOT in the right industry. We never have Reese’s samples lying about.

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com barrett

    I knew there was a reason I liked Meg (well, aside from the 18 years of friendship thing).

    I’ve banned Reese’s from our house because of the addiction problem. I can’t walk past them. Halloween is hell, with all the Reese’s mini-cups in the candy jars on everyone’s desk.

  • http://perso.wanadoo.fr/ethan.gilsdorf/parispostcard.html isabelle

    clotilde!

    thanks so much for the lafayette tip! will check it out — first thing tomorrow! currently suffering severe peanut butter cup withdrawl — haven’t been home in over a year!

    by the way, do you know about the shop “the real mc coy” ? small, but chock full of american goodies, at a price, of course. not sure if they have PB cups, though. they’re at 194 rue grenelle, in the 7th

    isabelle

  • Kellie

    So encouraging to hear somthing good being said about American food! Even more addicting than peanut butter cups (for me) are Peanut M&M’s. And since they are small, you can really trick yourself into chowing down on a huge handful, one at a time, or course. Happy eating…

  • Julie

    Clotilde, I’ve been lurking and reading and enjoying your blog for quite a while…just wanted to take the opportunity to tell you what a pleasure it is to read. Trés sympa!

    Yesterday I was on a NYC downtown bus with my boyfriend, on our way to the movies. In the seat in front of us, there was a little boy devouring what HAD to be a GIGANTIC version of a Reese’s cup. Since we had time before the movie, we hopped into the nearest Rite-Aid and scoured the aisles for this monstrosity. Didn’t see it, so I had to settle my jones by bringing the king-size 4-pack of regular medium-size Reese’s cups. These did make a tolerable accompaniment to “Kill Bill 2″. Some of us will do anything for novelty.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Nattie – These were grand times indeed!

    Tom – No, I never saw any of these variations in the store while in the US. I’m very curious though, and see what I can find online. Thanks for the offer!

    Jennifer – Oh yes, do let me know if you have a favorite recipe. Maki over at I Was Just Really Very Hungry made some recently, they looked great!

    Robert – Excellent suggestion! And thanks for teaching me the “gild the lily” expression, I *love* it! “Gilding the junk food lily”, that sounds so cool!

    Meg – Yes, the waistline thing is the downside of it, although I did find that all the food stopped tempting me after a while – apart from the PB Cups, of course!

    Jessica – I see what you mean about the large ones and the chocolate to PB ratio, but still prefer the mini ones, just because they’re so cute!

    Dave – Well, seeing as most of these companies barely exist now (though the one I used to work at still sort of does), it’s not much of an industry to be in anymore!

    Barrett – Aaah yes, Halloween! People would offload all their unwanted candy on the company kitchen table, to just get it out of their house!

    Isabelle – I’ve heard of that store, but have yet to visit it – for some reason I don’t find myself in the 7th too often, I’m more of a right bank kind of gal!

    Kellie – Oh yes, I do have plenty of good things to say about American food!

    Julie – Do report back if you lay your hands on one of those giant PB Cups, I am very much intrigued! What could the serving size on the label possibly say?

  • Mina

    I have been lurking for a bit myself, but when I saw a post about peanut butter cups, I had to post! lol As delicious as Reece’s are, I’m sorry to report that they were even better when I was a kid- the peanut butter was soft and gooey, and I used to scoop it out with my finger before devouring the rest of the chocolate. Yum! ….sigh. Can’t do that with the ones today. But I personally think the mini ones are tastier than the big ones- the filling is softer. (I guess that’s important to me! lol)
    But just to add on a chocolate-peanutbutter note, has anyone tried the Dreyers Dreamery chocolate ice cream with the mini-peanut butter cup chunks and peanut butter ribbons in it? It’s a good thing that it’s only sold in pints.
    Clotilde, I have been really enjoying reading your words…thank you!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Mina – I’ve never had a pb cup with gooey pb inside, but I have to say, I like the porous texture of today’s pb cups! And I need to get some of that Dreyer’s ice-cream! Now!

  • http://click.dontvisit.com caroline

    didnt read through the comments so someone probably already offered, but i’d be happy to send you a big load of pb cups or other american candies you’d be interested in getting (i could surprise you!). I wish it was just after easter, because all that stuff goes on sale after holidays.. either way, they are very inexpensive and they actually have an amazing shelf life (thanks hershey foods!) which is both good and disturbing.

    anyway, all it takes to receive some glorious package is to send me where you’d like them sent via email.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Caroline – Thanks a lot for the offer, I’ll send you an email…

  • http://www.thelongtriphome.com Jackie

    Living in Italy and loving those reese’s cups, I always either bring bags of them when I come from the states, or have my family and friends send them to me. The first time I introduced them to my italian friends, one actually put the whole thing in his mouth (not the foil, but that black paper that sticks to the chocolate) and said “hmm. good, but it’s kind of crunchy.” Oddly enough, this has since happened at least one other time, for our friends assume it is a dark chocolate coating. :) everyone does seem to like the mix of chocolate and peanut butter, though, since that’s a combination you rarely find here in Italia.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Jackie – Funny about eating the black wrapping paper, I’ve had someone close to me (won’t mention who, wouldn’t want to embarrass him/her!) do that same thing!

  • Julie

    I know I’m going back to an old post…but I just re-discovered something that I had to tell you about. I have to say these are kinda sorta almost BETTER than Reese’s cups. Have you ever had Newman’s Own Peanut Butter Cups? (made by Paul Newman and his daughter Nell). They make them both in milk and in DARK CHOCOLATE, mmmm, which does overwhelm the peanut butter a little but I love it anyway…and they also make dark chocolate mint cups which are quite delightful too. Anyway, the quality of the chocolate is fantastic…so it’s like a Reese’s cup except with good chocolate. If you can’t find them in France, let me know how to send you a package and I’ll send some to you!

    Julie

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Julie – Thanks for telling me about these, I’m sending you an email!

  • Sara

    I’m an American living in France, and your post made me drool from Reese’s cup withdrawal! I checked out the expatshopping.com website, and it seems they no longer ship American products. Waaaaaah!!! C’est vraiment pas juste! I’ll be begging my stateside friends to send me care packages while the weather’s still cold so the chocolate won’t melt!

  • howard wallach

    Can anyone tell me how to send bagels to a sick friend in the south of France?
    Merci,
    H. Wallach

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