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BRITAIN

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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POLITICS

Paris Agriculture show returns for 2022 event

The Paris farm show is back after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Set to be held one month before the presidential election, the 2022 event will be politically loaded.

French President Emmanuel Macron checks the quality of a cow during the Paris Agriculture show.
French President Emmanuel Macron checks the quality of a cow during the Paris Agriculture show. The event returns in late February after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. (Photo by Ludovic Marin / POOL / AFP)

The organisers of the Salon de l’agriculture, an annual farm show held in Paris, have announced that the 2022 event will be held from February 26th – March 6th.

The 2021 edition was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic – and the 2020 event was cut short – and there had been fears that this year would suffer the same fate. 

“This edition will not be like the others,” wrote the organisers in a statement, out of “respect for the health guidelines.” 

Mask-wearing rules, added ventilation inside exhibition tents and special measures to facilitate tastings during the pandemic will be implemented. Visitors will need to hold a valid health pass. 

The event falls just over one month before the first round of the presidential election, set for April 10th – and candidates will be sure to milk the opportunity to score political points. 

The event is the annual highlight of the agriculture sector – which employs about 759,000 people in France – and many more rely on the agricultural sector indirectly for employment. The sector was valued at €81.2 billion in 2021.

“This is a highly anticipated event, not just for the farming community, but also for citizens, political leaders and the media,” wrote the event organisers. 

Former President Jacques Chirac pioneered the use of the farm show as a political event, visiting almost every year from 1972- 2011. 

Former President Jacques Chirac inaugurates the 2007 Paris farm show.

Former President Jacques Chirac inaugurates the 2007 Paris farm show. (Photo by PATRICK KOVARIK / POOL / AFP)

In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron spent 14 hours strolling through the farm show, shaking hands and speaking with producers. This marathon visit set a new record for a sitting president. 

Previously, Francois Hollande is reported to have paid a 10 hour visit, Jacques Chirac 5.5 hours and Nicolas Sarkozy just four hours. 

The Local visited the show in 2020 to find out why it was so important for politicians to attend. 

READ MORE Why petting cows at the farm show is crucial for French politicians

The event, which is held at the Porte de Versailles in the south of Paris, isn’t just for farmers and politicians – it’s hugely popular with the public and thousands of people usually attend. 

The full ticket price is €15, for children between 6-12 it is €8 and children under six can go free. There are also group discounts available. 

Tickets can be bought online here and at the venue itself. 

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