Sunday, August 10, 2008

Endangered Species

I brought some delicious Bamsemums back from the Oslo Duty Free Shop - lovely Norwegian marshmallow bears covered in rather classy chocolate. According to wikipedia, it's also Norwegian slang for tourists who are eaten by polar bears, but I'm not convinced. Don't be put off by seeing "Skum" on the packet - it's Norwegian for "marshmallow".

I never knew that Norway even had a confectionery industry. It reminded me of an article I read a number of years ago describing how European countries were going to become more specialized. For example, all cars would come from France, Germany or Italy - all chocolate from Belgium - all mobile phones from Finland etc. All cannabis from Holland probably. The point is that in future, competitive forces would mean that not every country would be able to support all types of industry; I believe the article was predicting the demise of the British car industry.

I think that's a shame - it'd be a much duller world without quirky products from unexpected countries.

In addition to Norwegian chocolate, I'd propose the following should be given special protection :-

* Dutch airplanes - Fokker went bankrupt in 1996; I think the "little Fokkers" were really fine aircraft

* Slovak beer - dwarfed by their Czech neighbours but if there's a better lager than Zlaty Bazant (Golden Pheasant) out there, I have yet to taste it

* Spanish cinema - Almadovar, Bunuel etc. The French and Germans aren't the only Europeans who know how to point a camera.

* German bacon - the Danes do it so well, but sometimes you crave German "Speck".

* Spanish cars - OK so the oily bits on a Seat come from VW, but their designs aren't the BMW/Audi/Merc wie gewohnlich. Look at their Bocanegra concept car

Any more endangered species you can suggest ? And what does Britain do well exactly ?

1 comment:

Kenny said...

Britain educates British people so they can be exported. I wish I was joking.