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French 2008 RCIR, Menu No. 4

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:01 pm
by hOMEr_jAy
After browsing EBay for military rations I found a seller who sells French and British rations. At first I wanted to buy a Brit ration but a friend of mine who served in the Franco-German Brigade told me how good French rations are. Therefore I ordered the well-known RCIR to test for myself if our western neighbours not only have good looking women but also well-tasting combat rations.
So here is my review of the 2008 MENU No. 8.
Note that I haven´t eaten all of the stuff that came in the package so I´ll continue this thread and add more reviews when I´ve tried most of the food.

First look
The RCIR is a 24-hour ration similiar to the German EPA. It contains enough food and beverage bases to feed one soldier for one day. Unlike the Norwegian rations the main meals (2 hot meals per pack) come in tin cans which are meant to be heated with the included Esbit cooker. The pack contains also different beverage bases like tea, coffee, cocoa or milk, a big pack of crackers, a "hors d´ouvres" side meal, tissues, different sweets, soup and a dessert.
Here´s the RCIR next to an EPA and a MRE pack:

The RCIR comes in a plastic cover to protect it against rain. On top of it is a list with the constituents. Fortunately they´re not only in French but also in English, which makes reading easier. Here´s mine. As you can see the two main meals are "beef ravioli" and "bass filet, pasta and ratatouille".

The opened package:

As you can see there´s a heater included. Unlike the German soldier, the French soldier doesn´t seem to be issued with an Esbit cooker, so there´s always a one-time cooker and a few tablets in each RCIR. Here are the items, which come in the "cooker package": Foldable cooker, 6 Esbit tablets, a civilian pack of matches, a black waste bag, water purification tablets and a small tool that is supposed to help you lift the cans from the heater:

My first tastes of French combat rations

Because we already had a warm meal when the package arrived I first tried some of the sweets that come with the RCIR. First, I opened the caramels which come in a small white box. Each box contains 4 caramls á 10 gram. Not that much, but fortunately the caramels aren´t the only sweets in the RCIR. Here you can see both the box and two caramels:
Now the taste: Wow, they were incredibly delicious! A mix of vanilla and caramel taste and the drops just melted in my mouth. Soft, sweet and incredibly delicious! A really good and small treat, especially on a march. The taste stayed quite long but at the sime time I didn´t feel like I had glue in my mouth. Really, really good.

Fruit jelly bar
Another sweet treat which comes in the RCIR is the fruit jelly bar. It comes wrapped in a silver-foil and is one of my favourite sweets in the RCIR. It´s soft, the top seems to be covered in small sugar grains which crunch nicely when you bite off a piece of it and tastes just incredibly fruity. Really delicious!

The French chocolate comes also wrapped in silver-foil and is smaller than the EPA chocolate. It contains 60% cocoa and is therefore dark and more bitter than milk chocolate. It tastes just like the EPA chocolate, which is a good thing, atleast for me, because I really like dark chocolate. Delicious and a good small mood-lifter!

The next things I tried were the crackers. They come in a bigger container, which holds 6 smaller cracker packages, each holding 3 crackers. You get 3 sweet and 3 salty packs of crackers. Since there is no jam in the RCIR I guess you eat the crackers either with the chicken liver pate or without anything on top.
Here´s the box holding all crackers:

Salted crackers
First I ate a pack of salted crackers. They are harder than the MRE crackers, but not as hard as the infamous EPA "armour plates". Their taste is not really salty. Instead you rather taste a small hint of salt. All in all they´re better than the MRE crackers, but don´t really live up their name. I guess you´ve got to eat them with the "Hors d´ouvre".

Sweet crackers
Next were the sweet crackers. They have the same consistency as the salted crackers: Harder than MRE crackers, but not as hard as EPA crackers. They smell rather neutral but once you´ve got a good bite in your mouth they show their really taste. They really are sweet. Whereas the EPA crackers rather have a hint of sweetness they really are sweet. Of course no over-the-top sugar sweetness, but they really taste fine. I guess you can eat them together with a hot milk or chocolate as break-fast and you don´t necesarily need any jam or peanut butter on top of them. Add some chocolate or some fruit jelly bar and you´ve got a nice break fast.

That´s my first part of the RCIR review. I´ll add more in the coming days, when I will have recovered from that massive hang-over I´ll definately have tomorrow. So stay tuned for more! ;)

Re: French 2008 RCIR, Menu No. 4

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:16 am
by hOMEr_jAy
Alright, 2nd part of my review:
Milk and hot chocolate:
First I tried the hot chocolate. Just like the milk it´s quite easy to make. Just put some hot water into a cup, add the powder and stir.
The hot chocolate was atleast for my taste a bit watery and rather dull. I had to add some sugar in order to make it sweeter. Once I added the sugar it was alright. Not the best hot chocolate but also not the worst.

Same goes for the milk. I added some hot water and voila, you´ve got a hot milk ready. The consistency was good, it wasn´t watery at all and tasted just like hot milk is supposed to taste. Unfortunately I´m not such a fan of pure milk, so I had to cheat a little bit and added two spoons of honey. Yummy, that was good!

If you´ve got enough hot water I guess these two drinks are really a nice treat, especially in winter.

Here´s the whole content of the "breakfast beverage pack":
Hot chocolate, milk, 3 packs of coffee powder, salt, pepper, sugar and Litpon tea.

Hot meal No.1 and dessert
Since I´m alone at home today I decided to try the first of two hot meals. I had the choice between "beef tortellini" and "bass filet, pasta and ratatouille". I went for the tortellinis because I wanted to see how they compare to the EPA and MRE tortellini I already had. As dessert I had a "semolina pudding", which came in a nice looking little tin. As you´ve seen so far the RCIR contents are more "colourfull" than the EPA constituents. I guess the French DOD ordered bigger brands to produce the stuff and they kept the different layouts for that "feeling just like at home"-feeling.

Instead of "nuking" the entree in the microwave I followed mreheaters advice and put it into a bath of boiling water. It took me around 20 minutes to get the correct temperature. Well, here´s a photo of the French beef tortellini:
The whole tin was filled with little tortellinis (300g) and between them was some tomato sauce. The meal looked pretty good but once I had my first bite I was a bit disappointed. The taste was rather dull again. The sauce and the tortellini aswell had a rather weak flavour and it was all a bit oily. I had to cheat again and added some spices and some salt. Now the meal was alright. Not as good as I expected it to be, but edible. IMO the EPA and MRE tortellini are better. Maybe it´s because they contain more sauce, I don´t know.
Here´s the meal, stirred and with some spices:

After the main meal I opened the semolina pudding.
The taste was good, all in all not much to say. A nice little dessert. It looks like desserts are the RCIR´s strenght so far and that French soldiers are fond of sweets. Who isn´t? ^^

Alright, so that was the first meal I ate. It filled my right up, the size was good for one hot meal. I think I slowly understand now how RCIRs are supposed to be eaten. In the morning you eat some crackers, have a coffee/tea/milk/hot chocolate and some sweets. For lunch you eat the first entree with the dessert. During the day you have another hot beverage and some more sweets and in the evening you can eat the "hors d´ouvres" with some more crackers and even more sweets. I hope you enjoyed the 2nd part and I´ll soon review rest of the package.

Re: French 2008 RCIR, Menu No. 4

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:43 pm
First off, Thanks for good review! I found that around 09 they changed to these types of crackers:


The salty crackers, really are salty, not due to salt on top like a saltine, but in the dough itself. The sweet
crackers are good, with a nice dark chocolate taste.

Re: French 2008 RCIR, Menu No. 4

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:46 pm
by MrFahrenheit
Great review :D

There are a few of these types of rations on Ebay atm but I was not sure of them.

They seem like a good change though so I may well purchase some.