The thought of France sans croissants is as unimaginable as Australia without Vegemite on toast, but the threat is real as the European nation faces a severe butter shortage. Quelle horreur!
Over the past year, French butter prices have soared by a whopping 92 per cent, driven by a milk shortage across Europe as well as a spike in demand for full-fat French dairy goods and pastries in the UK, China and the Middle East.
As croissants, pain au chocolat and other French fancies weigh in at about 25 per cent butter, the shortage is a serious hit to a baker’s budget.
Matthieu Labbé, of the French baking industry body Federation des Entrepreneurs de la Boulangerie, told national newspaper Le Figaro, “Last April, we were paying €2,500 a tonne. Now it’s €5,300. At best, consumers are going to have to pay more. At worst, we may no longer be able to get butter.”
Ça y est. Le ciel est jaune en Bretagne UNE journée et y'a déjà plus de beurre salé. On voit ce qui est important pour la fin du monde. pic.twitter.com/1O3RlFJWKF— Fangh ? (@FanghGD) October 18, 2017
It’s not just patisseries that are getting hit hard. Shoppers across France have been greeted by empty shelves in the butter aisle, prompting Le Figaro to print a survival guide on cooking without butter. Suggestions include swapping grated zucchini or beetroot for butter in cakes, and using duck fat for roast potatoes (now that’s a substitution we can really get behind).
Australian food and travel writer Sarah Lewis refuses to queue for breakfast, which is just as well, as she’s rarely out of bed before midday on weekends. Instead, you’ll find her trawling Melbourne’s laneways for negronis and late-night ramen (often followed by a cheeky McDonald’s cheeseburger on the way home).