The French may be known for their skinny loaves of crusty, simple bread, but the younger generations aren’t quite as keen on the baguette as their parents were. According to the Christian Science Monitor, only 25 percent of bread produced today in France are baguettes, which are traditionally made with salt, flour, water, and leavening. Still, France is trying to get back to its roots by celebrating the infamous bread at the 19th annual nationwide Bread Festival this week. The theme this year is the baguette, or suitably, “the tradition” as it’s known in bakeries.
“It’s not that there is a lack of love for French bread, but the new generations lead a different way of life,” Bernard Valluis, co-president of the Observatory of Bread, the lobby organization for bakers and millers told Christian Science Monitor.
French cuisine is in the middle of a culinary seismic shift, as American fast food, and other international influences invade the cobblestoned streets and butter-laden plates of France. As French restaurateur Bruno Verjus recently told Adam Platt, France is in a culinary revolution where you’re more likely to see food truck fare or fast casual restaurants than the traditional French cafes of yesteryear.
The lack of baguette love has gotten so bad that the Observatory of Bread started an advertising campaign last summer for French bread, similar to the American “Got Milk?” campaign, called “Coucou tu as pris le pain?” which means, “have you picked up the bread?”
But yet, Valluis says, you are more likely to see white bread concoctions invading stores, because it’s easier, and young people simply don’t care as much.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi