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France laughs at UK chain’s new ‘straight’ croissants

The new "straight" croissants in the UK's Tesco supermarkets have prompted a baffled reaction from the French.

France laughs at UK chain's new 'straight' croissants
Photo: Claudio Brisighello/Flickr

It's hard to imagine how anyone could have a problem with the humble French croissant. But apparently the curved shape is causing many Brits difficulties, and they're struggling to spread butter onto their pastries.

To appease them, UK supermarket giant Tesco made a startling announcement: from now on, all its croissants will be curve-less.

Yes, you heard that right. The croissant, staple of French cuisine and thought to date back to at least the early 1800s, is being given an angular makeover – despite the fact that its name literally means ‘crescent’.

On a traditional French croissant, the two tips should  touch. Photo: Bex Walton/Flickr

Harry Jones, croissant buyer for the chain, attempted to justify the change. He told British newspaper the Guardian that 75 percent of customers “told us that they preferred straight ones”.

He blamed the “spreadability factor”, explaining that “with the crescent shaped croissants, it’s more fiddly and most people can take up to three attempts to achieve perfect coverage, which increases the potential for accidents involving sticky fingers and tables”.

The story was promptly picked up by a very tickled French media. 

“Is this the first taste of the Brexit?” asked the 20 Minutes newspaper, comparing the episode to a Monty Python sketch.

RTL called the move “completely absurd” (see below). 

Some French social media users were left baffled, with one tweeting: “We need to teach the English that you don't butter croissants in the first place…”

Another reacted by calling for Britain to be kicked out of the EU, while another called the idea “sheer lunacy”.

One said “If it's not curved, you simply can't call it a croissant”. Another declared war (see below).

To be fair, British social media also users had a field day with the news.

It’s not the first time the Brits have butchered French food in recent times.

Just last week, a photo of a pile of crepes with a slice cut out – as if they were an English sponge cake – provoked mass outrage. The act was labelled by French media as “barbaric” and even a “declaration of war”.

The Local's calls for comment from the National Confederation of French Boulangeries and Patisseries have gone unanswered.

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FOOD & DRINK

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Here are five must-visit venues of gastronomic delight for food lovers.

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Plénitude – Paris

It’s only been open seven months, but the Paris restaurant – on the first floor of Cheval Blanc Paris – now has three stars, awarded to chef Arnaud Donckele in Cognac on Tuesday. Picking up three stars all at once is almost unheard of – only Yannick Alléno achieved the same feat in 2015 with the Pavillon Ledoyen in the 8th arrondissement.

Broths, vinaigrettes, creams, veloutés, juices are at the heart of the cuisine at Plénitude. A seasonal six-course Symphony Menu costs €395, while the Sail Away Together menu of three savoury dishes and one sweet is €320.

La Villa Madie – Cassis, Bouches-du-Rhône

Another new three-star venue listed in this year’s guide came as something of a surprise, by all accounts. Dimitri and Marielle Droisneau’s restaurant in the south of France overlooks the Mediterranean.

“We took this house nine years ago. We had a baby, we have a second one now. We live in the villa. We work in a paradise,” chef Dimitri said at the ceremony in Cognac.

The cuisine follows the seasons, and uses carefully selected local produce. As such, the menu changes daily according to what’s available. The Menu Anse de Corton – a starter, a fish course, a meat course, and a sweet treat – costs €130, while the six-course Menu Espasado “Cap Canaille” is €180.

Plaza Athénée – Paris

Top Chef series three winner Jean Imbert was one of a number of former contestants on the show to win a star for his restaurant in the palace le Plaza Athénée – with the jury praising his “impressive revival of the greatest classics of French gastronomy”.

Guillaume Pape – a finalist in series 10, also picked up his first star for  L’Ebrum, in Brest; as did series nine finalist Victor Mercier, for FIEF in the ninth arrondissement, honoured for producing “empowering cuisine, made exclusively using French produce”. Mercier was also named Young Chef of the Year.

The self-titled Menu de Jean at Plaza Athénée costs €296

Villa La Coste – Bouches-du-Rhône

Continuing the Top Chef theme, judge Hélène Darroze – who already runs the three-star Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in London – was awarded a star for her restaurant in the south of France, as was fellow-judge Philippe Etchebest for his latest venture in Bordeaux.

Local vegetables and fruit are the stars of the dining show at Villa La Coste, with meat and fish playing an accompanying role. A three-course lunch menu is €75, while a full dinner menu is €155.

Domaine Riberach: La Coopérative – Bélesta, Ariège 

One of six new restaurants to be awarded a Green Star for its seasonal food and it’s determined approach to ‘sustainable gastronomy’. This year’s six Green Star winners join 81 establishments which received the award last year in France.

“Slow food” is the order of the day, with menus created based – as is often the case – on the seasons, the market and chef Julien Montassié’s instinct. The chief rule is that food must be local – “0 km is our motto”, boasts the website.

The six-course Menu Latitude is €85 without wine. A three-course Menu Km0 is €49 – and a children’s two-course menu is €18.

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