Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A short and sweet one.

A kind (Russian) friend stopped by the other day and brought me a lovely baby gift, a card and a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

‘What is it with you guys and the chushka chocolates?’Husband questioned. 

I laughed, as he always says that about poor Ferrero chocolates. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they are, just like certain clothes or cars are as uncouth in the UK as they are posh back home.
Nobody local ever brought me Ferrero Rochers. But I still receive a box every now and again. Always from someone from an ex-Soviet country.
So, I tried to figure out what it is about Ferrero Rochers, or their lighter brother Rafaello that makes them chushkas. I mean, how can chocolates be chushka?
Husband could not answer the simple question. Maybe it is the advert, he said. The whole "Monsieur, with these Rocher, you're really spoiling us"? I googled it and came across the explanation on wikipedia: 

'In the United Kingdom the 1990s advertisement series based upon a party in a European ambassador's official residence has been repeatedly parodied in popular culture...and taken on a reputation for having limited artistic value.'

Perhaps, it is like that Baby Dior dress someone gave me for my first child when she was a baby. With Baby Dior letters carved into the material all over the little dress.. 

Or the typical New Russian must-have Louis Vuitton handbag, or the Rolex watches...

It all makes some sense to me. Too much money, too little style. But chocolates? Really?

PS There is a new law in the UK now, in case you have not heard. You don't have to be reported by the person you insult anymore. For example. You and I are sitting in an open plan office. I call you a chushka, and you laugh. You think it is okay to be called a chushka. However! Your colleague at the desk next to yours might be offended by that word. So he/she can go straight to HR and complain. Amazing, isn't it? So, should any of you get offended on behalf of Ferrero chocolates because I called them chushka, please feel free to complain. 


  1. In Peru, Ferrero Rocher is an expensive brand of chocolates. I'd be delighted if someone bought a package for me. Does that mean I'm chushka? Who knows? And I don't care, as long as I have some delicious chocolates for myself.
    It's always a pleasure to read you.

  2. Gabriela-
    well, i owe you some chocs!!! since i cant make any myself, like you did...maybe i could send you some rochers!!! send me your postal address

  3. Love Ferrero Rocher! Ha-ha-ha
    No. Not really :))

  4. I think it takes guts to stand out like that and eat whatever chocolate you like, to hell with the popular culture, it's a form of conformism anyway:)
    That said, I'm spoiled now, I only eat dark dark organic chocolate these days, but only because they taste good.
    P.S. this thing doesn't recognize me anymore, it doesn't show my account event after I sign in. hmmm

  5. And when Brits buy Cadbury chocolates for Belgians what do up call that? It's not like they 'understand' chocolate. As to watches, it's debatable which country has the biggest snobs. In London the tailor now asks gentlemen what kind of watches they wear to adjust the width of the shirt sleeve accordingly and give adequate exposure to their branded accessory.

  6. Whoa, *Gabriela* made those chocolates from before? That was a really nice present. I mean seriously, if people on the Internet think your homemade chocolates look yummy, you could make good money. (Scary Azeri take note: advertizing dollars may convince your husband to see your blog in a new light.)

  7. @Mark: Yes, she made those and sent them to me! and not only they looked yummy, they were very yummy indeed.

    As for advertising dollars....I wish, man...I soooo wish!!!! :-)

    How's the baby? and the wife? send hello from me.

  8. It's not just the advert. It is also the packaging. Lower end products signal luxury with gold, higher end ones with platinum or black. Just look at the biscuits shelf, next time you are in the supermarket. Or think credit cards.

    I must have cheap tastes, though, as I do like my Ferrero Rochers.

  9. These are the de-facto gift of ex-USSR people in America as well, and I haven't been able to figure out why. I think it's something about the fact that the name is French, connoting unestimable luxury, plus they are all fancy-looking, plus they are delicious, which means if you give this gift, you have remarkable good taste.

  10. Baby is very cute, wife is very sexy, older son is very annoying. We had a campfire yesterday to celebrate the solstice, and then another one tonight to eat the rest of the marshmallows. (Evidently, a well roasted marshmallow requires rotation for optimal squishiness.)

    I remember thinking there was something primordial about the scene when older son came through the smoke to eat marshmallows off the stick by the light of the fire - this is the way people have fed their annoying offspring since time immemorial. Granted that Cro Magnon didn't have lighters or marshmallows, but they must have had sticks and annoying children, at least.

  11. @Natalia: I actually never liked Belgian chocolates that much...However, I suspect we just dont get the right Belgian chocolates in this country. Perhaps,in Belgium itself I would find different stuff..However, I seem to remember when I travelled through Belgium on my way to France ( years and years ago) I did not like their chocs either. It clearly is a matter of personal taste. As for showing off their watch... There are chushkis everywhere, Natalia. Rich chushki are the worst.

  12. Interesting observation....23 June 2011 at 11:26

    Ok, so I have been following this blog for some time now, and I just have to leave a comment on this post!

    I am Georgian but I live in the U.S., and whenever I want to buy a present for someone, it's either wine.....or a Ferrero Rocher! Even whenever we visited friends in Europe I would always buy Ferrero Rocher for them...or Rafaelle. I think since the Soviet Union was closed off for so long, and European and American products were so hard to come by, they were very cherished and coveted gifts. Even today, it's hard for ex-USSR people to get visas, so gifts from Europe and America are considered one of the best since many want to live/travel/visit there but can't.

    Plus it's cultural- for us, the way something looks is very important (which is why women from ex-USSR countries tend to dress up more than American women), and Ferrero Rocher is always wrapped and packaged nicely. Plus it's French, which makes it classy to us, it tastes great, and it's the perfect size for tea by yourself or with guests! What's NOT to love?

    Great blog and congrats on the new baby!

  13. I'm a PCV in Azerbaijan, and whenever I get a care package from America, I save a lot of the Amerika-dan candy for when I go as a guest. I never would have thought that Starbursts or Hershey's Kisses would count as exotic, but they are now. Ferrero Rocher certainly blows either of those two out of the water.

  14. @Mark: Hmm..."Sexy" is the last word I would use to describe a woman who just gave birth..but hey...whatever turns you on, I guess. :-)

    @interesting observation: I think they are actually Italian, aren't they? OK,wikipedia reckons they are Italian. Not French. :-) I dont know if they taste that good. They have nutella filling, which is what my child has on her sandwich every morning.
    Speaking of us back home loving western products...I used to love Hershey's! :))

  15. @Bailey: Oh, I just posted my own comment and mentioned Hershey's! I should have said Hershey's Kisses,of course! I forgot those. I used to adore them!

  16. If only I knew what a chushka was...

  17. @Yuliya: You know, I used that word so often here and every time I explained what it was that I just assumed by now people would know. But it is a silly assumption, as not everyone has been here for long enough!
    Sorry about this. My post-natal brain!
    Chushka is a word we used in Baku to describe common people, with no taste, no manners etc.

  18. Xoş yazıdır. Bir şeyi əlavə etmək istəyirəm. Bəzilərimiz də bu qızılı rəngdəki qərb məmulatlarının sırş post-sosialist ölkələrdə məşhur olduğunu bildiyimizdən heç almırıq, bir növ inferior kompleksi demək olar. Utanırıq...