Visiting a hypermarket is a treat for foodies, as there’s plenty to see and you never know what you’ll find aside from the staples that are seen in regular supermarkets. Hence, on a beautiful day in the Lion City’s downtown area, I made my way to the Giant hypermarket in Suntec City to seek potential new members for my snack stash.
Strolling along my favorite aisles (i.e. anything related to snacks, chocolates and baked goods), I realized that quite a number of these items are available in the regular supermarkets I tend to visit. The part that possessed some mystery to me was the international section, which is a row filled with eats from a handful of places around the world. I don’t recall spotting some of these exact items in my local shops, which made me all the more intrigued. And this is where my shopping expedition became a success!
While I am generally acquainted with many of the goodies in this aisle, I was drawn to a range of food items from a French supermarket that I had heard of, but had yet to discover any of their products here on the island. When it comes to French supermarkets, I am familiar with Carrefour (fun fact: there was a large Carrefour in Suntec City many years ago), but Casino Supermarché is quite new to me. From pesto to blocks of chocolate, a small range of Casino’s house-brand finds are available for a taste of France.
Naturally, the boxes of Casino’s biscuits were calling my name. Between the two options of regular butter biscuits and dark chocolate-topped butter biscuits, the latter received an instant oui from me. I was especially enthusiastic about tasting chocolate biscuits from France for a little French flair at teatime! Plus, as someone who enjoys the experience of tasting supermarket-branded cookies, bakes and confections from various places purely out of curiosity, I wanted to add these biscuits to my collection of foodie adventures.
Looking at the box, I began wondering about the biscuits’ backstory. To learn a little more about my newest snack stash member, I slipped into my sleuthing boots and took a metaphoric step into the French biscuit realm.
The Biscuit Trail
The chocolate cookie’s existence goes all the way back to its butter biscuit roots. Before becoming the chocolatey delight that the world has embraced, the biscuit is originally the classic petit beurre – a shortbread-like butter biscuit. It is a biscuit that fits the quintessential concept of teatime to a ‘T’, no pun intended.
Petit beurre originates from Nantes in the Pays de la Loire region, which borders Brittany and is a roughly 2-hour train ride from Paris. While Nantes is known for a huge mechanical elephant, chateaus and museums, it is especially renowned by foodies for its contribution to the French biscuit realm through the petit beurre. The butter biscuit is most commonly known as a creation by a brand called LU. Today, other French brands and bakers have added the beloved petit beurre to their biscuit ranges too.
The original petit beurre biscuit has its own spinoffs, with the chocolate-topped one being a famous pick. This chocolate version goes by various names including petit ecolier (named by LU) and petit beurre chocolat.
Each brand places its own stamp through the chocolate layer, which tends to feature a design. The entire biscuit kind of looks like a piece of edible chocolatey art, with the butter biscuit being a ‘frame’ for the chocolate artwork. Thinking of everything I learnt while sleuthing, I reached for my box of biscuits.
The Biscuit Experience
The name of Casino’s dark chocolate biscuits is rather mysterious. Instead of choosing something along the lines of “petit beurre au chocolat noir”, the words “mention bien” are, well, mentioned. ‘Mention bien’ is a French academic ‘honors’ classification. This is rather fascinating. How is this theme related to the biscuits? There’s only one way to investigate: they need to be unboxed for further inspection and, perhaps most importantly, eventual munching!
Upon looking at the actual biscuits for the first time, they certainly have an academic “with honors” feeling through the design on the chocolate, whereby a seemingly ‘unscrolled’ document possesses the words “mention bien” in the center of the ‘certificate’. Scrutinizing a piece, I realized that not only would these biscuits be a fabulous souvenir from France for snackers, it would make a fun gift for chocoholics who are graduating from school/university, or even for those who are beginning a new journey and season in life.
It’s time to taste! Taking a bite into one of the edges, I’m pretty impressed with the quality of the supermarket’s biscuits from the get-go. The dark chocolate isn’t too bitter, much to the joy of my taste buds that have begun appreciating the richer cocoa note that dark chocolate brings.
The dark chocolate layer on top is smooth and creamy, and it is firmer and denser than the delicate-ish chocolate creams that tend to appear in biscuits. The chocolate-to-biscuit ratio is excellent in my chocoholic eyes. Cocoa’s taste takes the lead in this biscuit-munching experience, and the biscuit adds a wonderful crunch.
The butter biscuit base is delicious too. It is ‘just nice’ on my butter biscuit scale, as it is well-balanced and isn’t overly buttery for anyone who isn’t into ultra-buttery butter biscuits. Hence, it is a great canvas to feature the chocolatey goodness. Texture-wise, this butter biscuit is crisp and crumbly. It is a lovely contrast to the dark chocolate layer.
All in all, I loved munching on this biscuit. I’m definitely returning to the hypermarket to grab another box!