Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mon Dieu! True Croissants Dying Out in France

Sacré bleu! Fresh-baked croissants—long an iconic gastronomic symbol of France—are an endangered species, at least according to a new study that has the nation in an uproar.

It seems that in recent years more and more of the flaky, buttery crescent-shaped pastries sold in boulangeries—pastry shops—are frozen and then heated up on-site and sold to unwitting customers believing they are purchasing freshly made croissants. 

“Around one viennoiserie [croissants and other puff pastries or cakes] in two in our ‘traditional’ bakeries is now industrial,” Philippe Godard, spokesman for the French bakery and patisserie business federation told The Telegraph last week.

Apparently, there is a little French law loophole that has allowed this to happen stating that while boulangers can only call themselves such if they actually make their own bread,  no such rule applies for the viennoiseries they sell in their shops.

Gastronomic purists are certainly up-in-arms over the claims, as fresh baked goods are an important part of the unique and beautiful French culture. Now, bakeries who do make all of their pastries fresh are going out of their way to announce that all of their viennoiseries are fresh-baked every day on site. The baker's federation union of France is now devising a plan to print up and distribute "home-made viennoiseries” labels local bakers can stick on their shop windows to announce to their customers they sell only fresh-baked goods.

Other makers of true French croissants complain they cannot compete with the lower prices of industrially made croissants, which are sold at around 20 cents apiece in bakery catalogs and shipped frozen to the bakeries.

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