So, a week in France makes it pretty obvious how different cultures are, even if only looking at superficial and simple things. Where the Portuguese culture is calm and non bragging, the French culture is majestic and imperialistic.
Just take the bread offering in your typical hotel breakfast. In Portugal there’d be a variety to choose from, also the bakeries have tens and twenties of shelf meters of different sorts of flour and shapes and toppings. Sure they’re all white breads except for the occasional cereal option, but there are many of them. In France you have the baguette. Full stop. Ok, maybe also the dark baguette. And of course the croissant. But that’s basically it. Cause why would you ever need anything else but the baguette and the croissant? They’re delicious. And French. And everybody knows that.
Moving on to the cheese table in your typical buffet arrangement the Portuguese one comes again with an impressive amount of variants. The Portuguese are real proud of their cheeses and they appear on all lunch or dinner tables. Also the French boast with a lot of cheeses and they love their cheese. That’s not the difference. The real difference is the fact that I recognize many of the French cheeses, either from looks or name, or I guess smell. The Brie, the Camembert, the Chèvre. I realize now, even the spelling program knows them! But as a matter of fact, on a Portuguese cheese table, I don’t even know what to think. I have no frame of reference whatsoever.
Wine you say? Well there we go again for the same story. As for the Portuguese wines, not only the wine houses but the grapes themselves are different (except for the Port, that was marketed by the British.) The French grapes are world standard and many wine houses are well known on a popular scale and highly aspirational for a high end home dining experience.
Its highly interesting isn’t it, how the one country’s basic offerings are so well known to a larger than the country audience, whereas the other’s seem to nearly be a well kept secret, however intended or not.
And I’d say the theory pretty much applies to personalities as well. Some are loud and boasting and others quiet and withdrawn. I can’t help but think how important it is that we actually take control of our own brand message, what are we sending and is that message that we want to be sending? Am I loud because I want to be or because I happen to be? Is the way I come across always in my best interest?
Do you know for yourself? And what’s more – can you or I actually take control and decide what it’s gonna be?