For lovers of good taste (like us), the Mon Chéri are a bit to Christmas sweets what George Harrison was to Beatles, Sansa to the Stark family of
Game of Thrones, Hufflepuffs to Harry Potter or Benjamin Pavard to the France team: clearly the member too many, the little ball frankly not phew that we agree to struggle because the others shine enough to compensate for his faults. We thought that this opinion was unanimous, but by dint of seeing these cherry sweets squat the shelves of our supermarkets at Christmas, we had to face the facts: there are human beings who consume Mon Chéri and who are even willing to pay for it.
Ferrero confirms this impression to us with a few figures that smack of success: Mon Chéri represents four million buyers in France, or 14% of households in the country, and weighs 50 million euros in annual turnover. By way of comparison, the end-of-year bulldozer, the Ferrero Rocher, make 140 million annual turnover, a little less than three times more « only ». Since it is Christmas, a period conducive to forgiveness and understanding of one’s neighbor, we set out to meet this brood. After all, who are we to judge, we big fans of oatmeal, 90% dark chocolate, licorice and car-en-sac Haribo (in real life, it’s really good, we maintain)?
« I prefer Mon Chéri to Ferrero Rocher »
We want to try to be understanding in the name of little Jesus and tolerance, but Mary, a 27-year-old stay-at-home mother, directly provokes herself by declaring « to prefer Mon Chéri to Ferrero Rocher ». Journalistic neutrality has rarely been so essential to us. The rest of her food tastes seem pretty normal though, since she doesn’t like cabbage, oysters and asparagus and likes pizza, melon and cheese like everyone else.
Valérie, a 59-year-old banker, loved Mon Chéri from her first bite, at 20 years old. She particularly appreciates « the alliance of chocolate with cherry alcohol », even if she recognizes an unpopular opinion, since those around her make « faces » when she confesses this guilty pleasure. Note, however, that the first names have not even been changed as is sometimes the case in papers containing embarrassing or intimate testimonies. Proof that everyone accepts it perfectly!
Is our palate the real problem?
Valérie took her first bite of Mon Chéri as an adult and that puts us on a track. What if we didn’t like Mon Chéri because we had tasted them too early, at an age when our palate was not ripe enough to like liqueur? A theory defended by Stéphanie de Ribou, customer director at TRND, a collaborative marketing community that allows brands to have their products tested in order to get feedback and better understand their core target. In an article on this subject for The echoes, the director explains: “The observation is that today consumers of our target – 50 years and over – are afraid to taste Mon Chéri again, because of the alcohol present inside. Like when you drink wine or coffee for the first time without appreciating the flavors. «
Why not ? So we went to buy Mon Chéri at the nearest supermarket ready to give them a second chance – we remained friends with our ex after all -, and to make them taste the quads, the more mature palates, forged by liters of cafes and the school of life. It also saves us the discomfort of being a stranger who offers candy to minors, which is always that less to manage at the end of the year.
Half-fig half-disdainful opinions
Despite the fact that we had more winds than in college, seven people agreed to taste our free Mon Chéri. The result is mixed: only three said they liked it. David, 42, finds it « strangely good, far from childhood memories », while Theophile, 63 years old, recognizes « an interesting alloy and less purely sweet than most classic confectionery ». The two maintain that they had bad memories of the product, proof that Stéphanie de Ribou’s theory works. As for Jacques, 71 years old, we rather preached a believer: he had already loved it for many Christmases, and just took the opportunity to extort a free Mon Chéri from us.
For Alexandre, Thibaut, Stéphanie and Nicole, the observation is less glorious: it is really not good. This experience – with multiple biases, see nothing scientific or exploitable – therefore ends with 57% of testers still not liking Mon Chéri, even 62% if we add to it. Yes, with an adventurous soul and a heart always open to experiences, we have tested such divisive confectionery ourselves. In truth, this little taste of … No, we are not going to lie to each other, we still do not like: Mon Chéri synthesizes all our disgust for 2021 in 42 small calories (in his defense, this is little for a chocolate).
Sociology of the Mon Chéri Eater
But it’s true that we’ve only just blown out our 30th birthday, and as bitter as adult life sometimes is, we’ve kept that innocent love for pure sugar crunched with our baby teeth. Let’s be modest, maybe we are too young to understand all the subtlety of Mon Chéri? « 80% of Mon Chéri buyers are over 50 and 70% of consumers are over 65, » agrees Camille Chipot, premium chocolate marketing director of Ferrero France. And to add: “It is a chocolate much less universal and consensual than the Ferrero Rocher. We offer it when we know the person and his tastes well. It’s a much more personal gift than the Ferrero Rocher. 50% of buyers offer it to each other, for the couple. «
If we have finally unraveled the secret of liqueur sweets, we still have thirty-five years to go (at least) before being finally ostracized by our relatives, mocked by popular opinion and quite simply misunderstood. Thirty-five years before finally becoming one of the worshipers of Mon Chéri. Still a little patience.