Long ago, during an excursion to France, my Dear One and I discovered pâtes de fruit, lovely little fruit jellies in the most marvelous flavors. Not just strawberry and apricot, raspberry and pear, but coing (quince) and our most favorite, black currant.
These delicacies rank, in our estimation, above all other confiseries, even the finest chocolates of Paris or Belgium.
Pâtes de fruit are made in most every French sweet shop and most patisseries and when very fresh are ambrosial. They are available in the United States only as imports. Too costly for us and, besides, they never seem quite right after all that time in transit.
Gumdrops Are No Alternative
Here we have gumdrops of various descriptions. There are gumdrops, of course, and the old Chuckles candies. There are the fruit slices my Nannie use to put out at the Thanksgiving table and the Fruit Jellies that come in plump wedges. All, in fact, can still be gotten at the Vermont Country Store. The flavors are slightly to very artificial, however, and the textures dense and gummy. Not satisfactory.
There are the Gummis of various shapes from bears to worms. I like them as long as they are made by Haribo. But they aren’t pâtes de fruit.
Lidl Fruit Jellies
Quite some time ago we discovered that Lidl had bags of what they named Fruit Jellies, lemon, peach, mandarin orange and raspberry, each little rectangular block individually wrapped. They are delicious, delicately fruity and melt-in-your-mouth soft. Not sure how big the bag is but it is too big for two of us to eat in a single setting.
We snacked on them while watching television. Or reading. My Dear One found them a distracting pleasure during the hemodialysis treatments he undergoes four times a week.
Fruit jellies aren’t pâtes de fruit but they are little yummies that satisfy.
Our Local Lidl
The bags weigh eighteen grams or about six ounces. By way of comparison, a package of Chuckles weighs two ounces. Also by way of comparison, a package of Chuckles, if you can find them, costs about $1.80, the bag of fruit jellies was ninety-nine cents. I went from buying a couple bags at a time to about five bags at a time to eight. There were always four cartons Fruit Jellies on the middle shelf in the candy section: with the self-service cash registers, strictly grab-and-go.
Until they weren’t.
One day there were none at all.
Corporate Bean Counters
I asked a cashier about the empty shelves. Apparently, without warning, more than half the candy stock had simply disappeared. She gave me a corporate customer service number to call. The woman I reached was not particularly interested in serving this customer.
I also wrote two queries–there’s a form on on their website. Neither has elicited a response, or even an acknowledgement.
Profit margins determine what gets stocked and what doesn’t. There are always, however, loss leaders, those low-margin items that draw customers to the store, customers who then buy other stuff.
Lidl Let Us Down
The Fruit Jellies have not reappeared on the shelves, nor has much replaced the array of sweets summarily dumped.
The store itself isn’t a particularly useful store for us. If offers neither singular value nor foodstuffs we can’t get elsewhere.
Lidl let us down and now we have no reason to go in, locally or anywhere. Because they eliminated our faux pâtes de fruit, our bags of inexpensive and tasty Fruit Jellies.