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Monday, 24 January 2011

Belgian "cheese dish girl" Lara Clette to change her name

Last November a report by a journalist from the French-language newspaper group Sud Presse caught the imagination of readers both in Belgium and abroad, especially after it had been picked up by one of France's national dailies.

It soon became something of a buzz in the French-speaking world and it concerned an eight-year-old girl and the name her parents had "lumbered" her with when she was born; Lara.

Nothing too horrendous about that, you might be thinking, and it certainly didn't strike the parents or the authorities who registered her birth and name when she was born as being too onerous, even though an official in the city of Namur had apparently "hesitated at the time".

The family's surname was Clette giving the girl the same name in French as the famous Swiss cheese dish.

Raclette cheese (from Wikipedia, author en:User:Grcampbell)

Lara's father insisted that neither he nor his wife had thought about the possible implications of the first name-surname combination when she was born and only realised when the grandfather came to visit while his wife was still in hospital after the birth.

"We thought about changing Lara's name but the nurses thought it was pretty and so did we, so we kept it," he told Sud Presse.

"When we thought about it a little more a couple of months later, I went to see the local authority to see whether we could have the surname changed and I was told that there would be little chance of the courts accepting it."

And so Lara remained a Clette, as did her six-year-old sister Yaël.

There weren't any difficulties at school, according to the father who, when interviewed added that, "If it becomes awkward when she's a teenager then we'll try again to change her surname."

That was back in November before the story was picked up by newspapers outside of Belgium such as the national French daily Aujourd'hui en France - Le Parisien, which asked in its headline " "Lara Clette, future ambassador of Swiss cheese?"

Or a reported invitation from the tourist office of canton Valais in Switzerland inviting Lara and the rest of her family to spend a week's holiday in the place where the cheese dish originates.

The buzz created was too much for the family, and the father has now confirmed that he has applied to the appropriate authorities to have the surname of both girls changed - taking on that of his wife's family "Deresteau".

"It had been at the back of our minds for the past couple of years," he repeated to Sud Presse last week.

"And after the jokes made (in foreign newspapers and on the Net) it just became too much for us and we found it hurtful and now we just want to turn over a new leaf."

As reports, a change in name may be "granted only in exceptional circumstances" and according to Belgian law, if nobody opposes the change within the next 60 days both girls will officially be allowed to change their surnames.


Anonymous said...

I though Raclette was a French cheese!

Anonymous said...

No, it has nothing to do with france. It is both Savoyard and Swiss, not french at all!

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