France’s baguette obsession: the rules of the baguettiquette
Here is something that is quintessentially French: bread. Just like wine and cheese, the baguette is an unofficial symbol of France. When you think about the stereotypical French person you picture them with a stripy top and a baguette under their arm. Bread is an integral part of the French diet and French people take their bread very seriously. As a matter of fact, they are ready to go out of their way for a good baguette.
What is the origin of the French baguette?
Surprising as it may be, the origin of the baguette is actually unknown. However, there are competing theories of where it originated.
One most popular story is that the baguette was born during the Napoleonic wars because at the time soldiers carried around round bread, which last longer, but it was not practical to carry. So they invented the longer baguette so that they could just stuff it in their bags. whats interesting about baguettes, is like all national treasures are protected by law. in 1993 the government passed something called the Le “décret pain“” which sets some ground rules. For instance, the traditional baguette – which runs a little more expensive because it takes a little more work to make – has to be made on the premises where it is sold and can only be made with 4 ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water and yeast, and they can’t be frozen, and can’t at any point contain additives or preservatives.
However, the quality of baguettes can vary significantly.
So how do you chose that perfect baguette?
French people will tell you that a good baguette needs to be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, but it’s a lot more than how it feels and how it tastes. It also actually depends on how it sounds!
The crunch of the baguette
Some French bakers say with the perfect crunch the baguette sounds like there is life inside, like it’s singing, it’s telling a story. And each baker is proud of their baguette. There’s a lot to say about the passion bakers have in their voices.
Of course, you can buy bread in the supermarket, however, French people, on the whole, would rather pay a little bit more and get that nice baguette with the perfect crunch.
Is the notion that artisan baguette is tastier than supermarket baguette?
And the answer is hands down yes! Bakers make their bread with love, and that love goes both ways.
In France a lot of people consider bakers to be artists and they have a lot of respect for their work. Only in France could one conceive such a romantic image of a heroic Boulanger (baker) working hard through the night to us the perfect bread.
However French breads are not just about baguettes, there is a whole different variety of breads in the country.
What other types of bread do we have in France?
If you step into any bakery you will be hit by a wide variety of selections, there is something for everyone.
French people do tend to eat less bread than before though. eating habits are really changing. At the beginning of the last century (1900) French people ate 1 kilo (2.2lbs) of bread per day; these days however people tend to eat closer to 120g of bread per day.
Why is bread losing its popularity?
There is a wide range of reasons for the decline, some of them include health, weight, how busy people are, and cost (24 percent increase in the last 10 years because the price of wheat has increased).
But still French people eat about 30 million baguettes per day – that’s 300 baguettes per second!
How to eat a baguette?
French people rarely use a knife to cut baguettes, they’d rather break the bread. They also rarely eat between meals, but they will give themselves the permission to have a little bite. a little nibble of the oh so yummy baguette.
We would love to hear from you! How do you eat your baguette? Drop us a comment below!