You'd think I would have learned my lesson the first time, but no - I've fallen for this con twice now, and I'm sure it will happen again.

No language is perfect, I know that. English is certainly filled with confusing homonyms - you wouldn't want to order the wrong type of crane if you're slapping up a new building (see what I did there?), for instance. Equally, you wouldn't want to date yourself ahead of the date you've set for your date eating dates with a new date; they may suddenly find themselves otherwise engaged, though hopefully not engaged.

But, why on earth would you give two lactose products, which incidentally come in identical packaging, the same name? I'm a huge fan of Crème fraîche — as in the soured cream, distinct as it be from sour cream, not fresh cream (though that's alright too, in smaller quantities) — and buy it with alarming frequency and often in unsettling quantity.

I was first tricked by the deceptiveness of the French language within a few weeks of moving here, and ended up buying a couple of pots of Crème fraîche (fresh cream) when what I actually wanted was Crème fraîche (soured cream). Confused, disappointed, I found myself questioning whether I could continue living in a country where this may happen. If I can't even buy Crème fraîche, what other unknown pitfalls may lie ahead?

I persevered, and managed to avoid falling for this particular bit of trickery again... until a few days ago, over three years into my life in the GD, when again I went to stock up on Crème fraîche, only to find myself in the sudden and unexpected possession of fresh cream.

In all fairness, I should have looked more closely at the packaging. I should have looked at the picture on the packaging, not just the words. There is a quite large whisk right under the words 'Crème fraîche', which is an immediate giveaway — but the thing is, I have moved well beyond the need for pictures when I read. Not to be overly boastful, but I deliberately steer clear of book editions that have pictures in them. I accidentally ordered a copy of a Dark Tower-series (Stephen King) book with illustrations scattered throughout a few years back, and so confident was I in my ability to read, and create mental images from said reading, that I asked a friend to go through the book and scribble vigorously over every single picture so as to render them visually nonsensical.

It should also be said that it's not really Crème fraîche (fresh cream) that should undergo a bit of rebranding - it makes perfect sense for fresh cream to be called fresh cream. The real question, I suppose, is who thought it would be a good idea to call a high-fat soured cream "Crème fraîche" - surely soured would indicate the very opposite of fresh? Or is it named for its flavour, which one might subjectively consider more 'fresh' than that of its rather bland brother, fresh cream? If I had to decide which of the two was more like the Fresh Prince of Belair, a highly dubious undertaking to be sure, I would, I think, go with Crème fraîche (soured cream).

So, expat friends, let this serve as a warning. Not all Crème fraîche is Crème fraîche. Some of it is, in fact, Crème fraîche.

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