The Laughing Cow
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|La Vache qui Rit (The Laughing Cow)|
|Other names||Laughing Cow Cheese|
|Country of origin||France
|Source of milk||Cows|
|Aging time||Made from aged cheeses,
but not aged itself
|Certification||Trademarked brand name|
The Laughing Cow (French: La vache qui rit) is a brand of processed cheese products made by Fromageries Bel since 1865, and in particular refers to the brand's most popular product, the spreadable wedge.
The cheese is a blend of cream, milk and fresh and aged cheeses, particularly comté, which are pasteurized to stop the ripening process. Versatile and portable because of its pasteurization process, Laughing Cow can remain unrefrigerated for a limited length of time. The archetypal Laughing Cow cheese comes wrapped in the individual serving-sized foiled wedges, and they are packaged in a round, flat box. Consumers have to pull a little red thread around the box to open it, and the foil packaging also features a red tab for opening. The company was founded in 1921. The Laughing Cow is available in these formats in different worldwide markets:
- Triangles, squares or rectangles
- Spreadable tubs
- The Laughing Cow Dip & Crunch, previously named Cheez Dippers (or Pik & Croq in mainland Europe), which are snacks consisting of breadsticks and cheese spread, and these come in four varieties; original, light, hazelnut and pizza
- Ma P'tite Vache Qui Rit, pods of cheese spread to be eaten out of the pod with a spoon, especially for younger children
- Toastinette processed cheese slices, similar to Kraft Singles
- Bite-sized cubes, in various flavours and designed to be served as aperitifs at cocktail parties - which are called Cheez & Fun in many European countries, and also Apéricube in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, PartyCubes in Canada, Mini Cubes in Australia and New Zealand, and Belcube in Japan and South Korea. They are produced in 24- or 48-cube boxes of one flavour, e.g. bleu, ham, salmon, chili pepper and olive, or they are produced in 24- or 48-cube boxes of a particular theme, e.g., Cocktails du Monde, Petites Recettes, Tex-Mex and Indian.
Discontinued formats of The Laughing Cow include:
- Giggles/Blop processed cheese pods for younger children
- Squeezy bottles
- Big Cheez Dipper (a larger version of Cheez Dippers)
- Cheez Double Dippers (which contained crispy bacon flavour bits in addition to breadsticks and cheese spread).
The Laughing Cow USA introduced a TV commercial in 2009 where the company introduced a new slogan, Have you laughed today? In 2010 they updated the brand's website to include cheese recipes.
Laughing Cow cheese is available in its original flavor, a light version with 7% fat, and an ultra-light version with 3% fat. In addition, flavored versions of the cheese (such as ham, gruyère, garlic, paprika, mushroom, chèvre, bleu, hazelnut, pizza and onion) are also available in various markets worldwide.
Evolution of the brand
The Laughing Cow is red and white and jovial, and is almost always depicted wearing earrings that look like the round boxes the cheese comes in. On April 16, 1921, Léon Bel trademarked his brand, called "La Vache qui rit," in France. In the trademark, the cow is said to have a hilarious expression. Bel had made the original drawing himself, after seeing a travelling meat wagon during World War I called "La Wachkyrie," a play on the word for Valkyrie. In the beginning she wasn't laughing, she wasn't red and she didn't wear earrings. This patent was the very first branded cheese product registered in France. In 1924, Benjamin Rabier, a famous illustrator, edited the drawing into something more like the image that prevails today. The blue and white stripes around the box date from 1955. Since 1976 both earring-boxes have been shown with the top-side visible. Before that year consumers were shown a top and bottom side. The current logo uses a Droste effect.
It has long been popular in the United Kingdom and Canada as a children's snack. The cheese has also been a constant, but hardly popular, product in the United States for a number of years. However, demand for the triangular wedges has skyrocketed recently, since the light version of the product was suggested as a viable menu item to followers of the South Beach Diet. The question asked by the French, "Pourquoi La Vache Qui Rit rit?" ("Why is The Laughing Cow laughing?") has become synonymous with the product.
The product is localized by name nearly everywhere it is sold:
- The Laughing Cow in English-speaking countries
- Die lachende Kuh in German-speaking countries except Switzerland where it's known as La vache qui rit
- البقرة الضاحكة (Al-Baqara Ad-Dahika) in Arabic-speaking countries (It is also often sold under the French name, La vache qui rit)
- Veselá kráva in the Czech Republic
- Krówka Śmieszka in Poland
- Nevető tehén in Hungary
- La vaca que ríe in Spanish-speaking countries
- A vaca que ri in Portuguese-speaking countries
- Văcuța veselă in Romania
- Весела Корівка in (Vesela Korivka) in Ukraine
- Весёлая Бурёнка (Vessiolaia Bourionka) in Russia
- Den Skrattande Kon in Sweden
- Den leende ko in Denmark
- La vache qui rit in France, Canada, Switzerland, Greece, the Netherlands and Belgium
- Η Αγελάδα που Γελά (I Agelada pou Gela) in Cyprus
- La vache qui rit, Gülen İnek in Turkey
- 乐芝牛 in China
- 笑牛牌 in Hong Kong
- Ilay omby vavy mifaly in Madagascar
- ラフィングカウ (Rafingu Kau) in Japan
- La Mucca che ride in Italy
- Con Bò Cười in Vietnam
- Sapi Ceria in Indonesia
- The product name and indicia were adopted by the crew of World War II German submarine U-69, whose sinking of the SS Robin Moor was significant to US entry into World War II.
- "La Vache qui Rit" is the name of an EP by late 1980s Washington, D.C., punk band Rain with connection to Dischord Records.
- Le Vache qui Rit is the name of a 1982 EP by UK Anarchist Punk band Zounds.
- "La Vache Qui Rit" is the name of a finishing move in the 1994 video game Primal Rage. The character Vertigo will move up to an opponent and transform them into a cow, which makes a disconcerted "moo" as it runs away.
- Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is often jokingly referred to as 'La Vache qui Rit' because of his supposed resemblance to the cheese's logo.
- La vache qui lit ("The reading cow") is the children's book prize of the city of Zürich, and a children's book program in the Auvergne region of France.
- Emmi AG - manufacturer of Swiss Knight brand of spreadable cheese wedges
- "Bel cheese manufacturers open CAD 18.17 million factory in Syria". Business News (October/November 2005) - Syria. Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada). Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- German submarine U-69 (1940)#Emblem
- Mohamed Hasseinein Heikel: The wise man of the Middle East By Robert Fisk Apr 9, 2007, 05:58
- The Laughing Cow at The Bel Group's web site
- The Laughing Cow Brand site features cheese recipes and snack cheese information
- La Vache qui rit official site (French)