Is there really a French dessert that is a secret code for swingers?

Is there really a French dessert that is a secret code for swingers?
Urban myth or secret sexual code? Photo: AFP
It's one of France's best-loved pastries and a staple of most patisserie windows - but does the strawberry tart really have a secret sexual meaning in France?

If invited round to a French person’s house for dinner it’s common to take a dessert with you, but turn up with a tarte aux fraises and you could be setting up quite the misunderstanding.

That’s because there’s an urban myth in France that offering a strawberry tart to a friend or neighbour indicates that you are in the market for a swingers evening (une soirée échangiste in French, just so you know what you’re signing up for).

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No-one knows how this started and as with all urban myths (remember the one in the UK about the pampas grass and the swingers?) no-one has reported that it happened to them, always to a friend-of-a-friend, or perhaps someone’s cousin.

And according to French newspaper 20 Minutes, real swingers do not use this code.

As part of the paper’s ongoing series on Légends Sexuelles (the broad-minded among our readers can click here) their reporter spoke to several representatives of French swinging clubs, who said they had never used the term or heard it being used.

Didier Menduni, editor of the explicit guide France Coquine, told 20 Minutes: “I live in the heart of the strawberry country, the famous gariguette of Périgord [in south west France]. And if every time I brought a strawberry tart, I had to offer my body too, I would have died of exhaustion a long time ago.”

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