While the name of the French cheese brand Kiri is perfectly innocent in French, it has for a long time been mocked in Iran, where "kiri" has two equally off-putting meanings. It's not only the common word for male genitalia, but has also evolved to describe something rotten or rank.
The famous French brand appeared in Iran in the 1970s. Imported from Dubai, the packaging retained its original name, and despite its unsavoury connotations, soon became popular. The company which produces the cheese even opened a branch in Iran in 2007. But the French name didn't survive the move, and has now been replaced with "Kibi" in Farsi.
The original name remains popular on the Iranian Web, however, shown here in this collection of videos sent to us by one of our Observers for Iran, Omid Habibinia.Video posted on YouTube par "Farshidcom".
The joy of discovering Kiri for Iranians
“Take a box of Kiri is to a party and that’s when the fun starts!”
Omid Habibinia is a blogger and journalist from Iran.
We love cheese in Iran, but the quality of local products is not great. So many Iranians prefer cheeses imported from abroad — Turkey and France for example. Kiri is a brand that's been well known for a long time here, not only for its name but also for its taste!
You really have to wonder how the importers originally let it through. The word kiri is used to describe something really, really bad. If a film's utter rubbish, we'll call it utter kiri. It's a word you wouldn't use in public.
In the end, its name helped it to gain notoriety. You see people cracking up when they order Kiri in the supermarket. Its new name, Kibi, doesn't mean anything and so people continue to use the old name. Take a box of Kiri to a party and that's when the fun starts!"
Boxes imported from Dubai
The new design