Friday, March 22, 2013

France - Cachou Lajaunie

One day in the supermarket I saw these on the shelf next to the cashier.

These look somewhat fancy, yet classic. I didn't know what it was, and I didn't have time to Google Translate it because I was on the line at the cashier, and it was my turn in 5 seconds after I saw this Cachou Lajaunie.

There's no English or Dutch translation on the packaging. Well, might as well try these. Recently I've been having troubles keeping myself focused for 1.5 hours non-stop in class. Delicious or horrible-tasting, this little peep will be useful.

I opened the package at home and gave these pastilles a try.

The flavour was so similar to what we call Pagoda Pastilles in Indonesia, with stronger cooling effect and perhaps less sugar. It's definitely licorice, but it's so different from the dropjes I had in the Netherlands, so there has to be something in it. My Italian friend really liked it. As for me, I' not really a big fan of these pastilles but these keep me awake in class.

Thanks to Wikipedia and Google Chrome's page translation function, I managed to find out the ingredients: licorice, sugar, starch, lactose, flavored gelatin powder, catechu, iris powder, mastic ressin, essence of peppermint.

Well, the peppermint explains the cooling effect. I'm not sure what iris powder tastes like by itself, but catechu? Cachou? Never heard of it before!

Thanks to this, I did a little research on cachou. Almost all professors who taught me said not to trust Wikipedia, but somehow my gut feeling says 95% of what's written on Wikipedia is correct. Well, it always never hurts to start from Wikipedia and then go on with a more refined research.

So, according to Wikipedia, cachou or catechu is an extract of Acacia that can be used as food additives to provide astringent sensation from tannin, or to provide colour. Catechu, in Indonesian, is also known as gambir. I don't think I've ever heard gambir used as food additives in Indonesia. More like it's a traditional cure for toothache.

I checked on Malaysian Wikipedia on gambir sarawak (still the same catechu) that catechu can also be used as anesthetics (which means eating this will result in less headache during calculation class for me? LOL). But apparently, in Malaysia and Indonesia, catechu is also a cure for early ejaculation. Actually, the moment I searched for gambir sarawak, the first few search results gave me "early ejaculation cure". Seems like this plant has a lot of functions.

By the way, I just realized how nice it is to understand a lot of languages. There are just search results you can read when you type the keywords in languages other than English :D


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