Worried by the fact that 85 percent of croissants sold in bakeries are now industrially manufactured, Frederic Roy is fighting back.
In order to stop what he sees as the decreasing quality of croissants and even pain au chocolat (made with the same dough), the Nicoise baker is asking the French government to create an official status for the 'traditional' French croissant.
“I simply want to protect the croissant. This new category would help create a noble, true and 100 percent natural pastry,” Roy told The Local.
According to Roy's criteria, to be considered a truly 'traditional' croissant, the pastry should be made by the baker themselves, made with traditional flour – and that means without additives – and made with real French butter.
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Frederic Roy / Photo: BFM TV
“Today the customer can't know if the croissant has been made at the boulangerie itself and this is why I want to create this status.”
His demand is not without precedence.
In 1993 the government passed a “bread decree” that led to the creation of the now hugely popular “baguette tradition” which has to be made according to, you guessed it, traditional methods and using only four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water. That's opposed to the ordinary French baguette where the rules are less tight.
“It's been done for the baguette so it should be easy to do for the croissant too,” Roy said.
So far, Roy's campaign has succeeded in garnering the government's attention.
Photo: You As A Machine/Flickr
After writing to the prime minister, his request to give the feted pastry has since been transferred to the office of French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire and MP for the Alpes-Maritime Eric Ciotti has voiced his support for the move on his own Facebook page.
“I've got a little boy who is just two. I want future generations to savour the taste of a traditional croissant just like previous generations,” he told The Local.
On top of this, the new category would allow bakeries making their own croissants to increase their prices.
This would no doubt come as a welcome relief to bakers across France due to the increased pressure the profession is facing as a result of a price-hike which has seen the cost of butter rise by 172 percent in the past 20 months.
This has resulted in bakers who make their own croissants having to up their prices while those using industrially made pastries can keep costs low.
Indeed, Roy blames the butter price-hike for bakeries using the cheaper option, with the price of his own croissants rising by a massive 50 percent this year, to €1.
Even though the croissant and indeed the pain au chocolat hail from Austria (hence the name viennoiserie), the pastries are now more commonly identified with French culture…and they're quite protective of their adopted cuisine, to say the least.
In August, The Local reported on the Gallic outrage in response to the British invention of the 'sausage croissant', which saw croissants stuffed with bacon and sausages before being covered in eggs and cream and baked in the oven.
And in 2016, the British provoked an equally disdainful shrug from across the Channel following the “straight” croissants hitting the shelves of UK's Tesco supermarkets.