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Butter shortage chills patisserie-loving soul

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-16 07:53

PARIS - There can arguably be no greater threat to the French way of life than a lack of butter.

For months, France has been gripped by a slow burning panic that it is running out of the golden ambrosia, which is the base of croissants and pains au chocolate as well as the whole mouthwatering panoply of French patisseries.

Supermarket shelves have been emptied of butter as shoppers worry they will have nothing to put on their breakfast tartines of toasted baguette, while worried bakers fear a "croissant crisis" as prices spiral.

"We always loved butter, but we never knew how much," said sociologist Remy Lucas, who specializes in people's relationship with food.

"Now we realize how important it is in our daily lives. Obviously we can replace it nutritionally but the idea that we might be without it is really unbearable."

French people eat more butter per capita than anyone else in the world - three times more than US people - yet still have among the lowest obesity levels of developed countries.

Faced with mounting anxiety about having to go without butter, churn makers said that enquiries from city dwellers who clearly had no access to dairy cows had soared, while a spate of YouTube videos showing people how to make butter have been viewed tens of thousands of times within days of going online.

Wholesale prices for butter more than tripled over the past year driven by rising demand in Asia, with consumers in particular reportedly developing a weakness for flaky, butter-rich croissants.

With many French supermarkets refusing to pay higher prices because they tend to fix them annually, butter has gone abroad.

Agence France-presse

(China Daily 11/16/2017 page12)

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