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DEPARDIEU

Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’

Provocative French actor Gérard Dépardieu has revealed the extent of his love for the hard stuff, claiming to drink up to 14 bottles of wine, whisky and Champagne a day. Apparently just making vodka wasn't enough for the "Welcome to New York" star.

Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
Gerard Depardieu says he drinks 14 bottles of booze per day. Photo: John Macdougall/AFP

The infamous celebrity, who is as known for his steep bar tabs as he is for his impressive acting career, told French movie magazine So Film that he drinks up to 14 bottles a day, starting before 10 am.

“It starts at home with some Champagne or red wine… Then perhaps half a bottle of Pastis. Then there’s lunch, with two bottles of wine. In the afternoon, at around 5pm, it’s Champagne, beer, and some more Pastis to finish the bottle off. Later on, it’s vodka and/or whisky,” the star says, seemingly unconcerned about the heart bypass surgery he had 14 years ago, mainly due to his high cholesterol levels “and other stuff”.

“I have to be careful. But in any case I’m not going to die now,” he says, adding: “I’m never really drunk, just a bit of a pain in the neck. All you need is a ten minute siesta and, voila, a little rosé on that and you’re fresh as a daisy again.”

Depardieu, who keeps on making newspaper headlines around the world – ranging from drunken scooter driving in central Paris to getting Russian nationality in protest against French tax laws – recently announced plans to open distillery to make organic vodka.

Depardieu already owns several vineyards, restaurants, bistros and brasseries.

But as confirmed in the interview with So Film, the bon vivant is perhaps better known for his thirst for spirits than his expertise in making them.

He missed the premiere of his latest film, "Welcome To New York," in which he plays disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, at the Edinburgh Film Festival last month after spending an evening sampling local whiskies and "attacking a haggis" on Scotland's Isle of Syke.

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FOOD & DRINK

Let them eat bread: the origins of the French baguette

More than six billion baguettes are baked each year in France and UNESCO has now inscribed the tradition in its “intangible cultural heritage” list.

Let them eat bread: the origins of the French baguette

The French baguette – one of the country’s most abiding images – was given world heritage status by UNESCO on Wednesday, the organisation announced.

READ ALSO French baguette gets UNESCO world heritage status

Here are some of the more popular theories:

Napoleon’s Bread of War
The oldest tale has the baguette being kneaded by bakers in Napoleon’s army. Less bulky than a traditional loaf, the long slim shape of the baguette made it faster to bake in brick ovens hastily erected on the battlefield.

France’s most famous man of war was preoccupied with getting his men their daily bread.

During his Russian campaign in 1812, he toured the ovens daily to sample the day’s offering and ensure the crusty batons were being distributed regularly, according to historian Philippe de Segur.

He also had portable bread mills sent to occupied Moscow, but the setbacks suffered by the Grande Armee in one of the deadliest military campaigns in history ended his bid to export the doughy staple.

Viennese connection
Another theory has the baguette starting out in a Viennese bakery in central Paris in the late 1830s.

Artillery officer and entrepreneur August Zang brought Austria’s culinary savoir-faire to Paris in the form of the oval-shaped bread that were standard in his country at the time.

According to the Compagnonnage des boulangers et des patissiers, the French bakers’ network, Zang decided to make the loaves longer to make them easier for the city’s breadwomen to pluck from the big carts they pushed through the city’s streets.

Breaking bread
Another theory has the baguette being born at the same time as the metro for the 1900 Paris Exposition.

People from across France came to work on the underground and fights would often break out on site between labourers armed with knives, which they used to slice big round loaves of bread for lunch.

According to the herodote.net history site, to avoid bloodshed, one engineer had the idea of ordering longer loaves that could be broken by hand.

Early rising
In 1919, a new law aimed to improve the lives of bakers by banning them from working from 10 pm to 4 am.

The reform gave them less time to prepare the traditional sourdough loaf for the morning, marked the widespread transition to what was called at the
time the yeast-based “flute”, which rose faster and was out of the oven in under half an hour.

Standardised at 80 centimeters (30 inches) and 250 grams (eight ounces) with a fixed price until 1986, the baguette was initially the mainstay of wealthy metropolitans, but after World War II became the emblem of all French people.

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