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The French Butter Shortage Putting Pastries at Risk

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Butter, the shining star French cuisine, is in short supply. Due to an increase of international interest in French pastries, the country is experiencing an unprecedented butter shortage.

The distress is real. Last week, French newspaper Le Monde published a guide to cooking without butter as supermarket dairy aisles began appearing worryingly sparse.

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The price of butter has, in fact, risen 60 percent in the past year and peaked at $7.90 a kilogram this August. The cause is twofold. On one hand, growing markets have an increased interest in french pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat: in an interview with the French radio station, RTL, Dominique Charge, the head of the national cooperative of dairy products, claims that butter is "more and more in demand in emerging economies like China and the Middle East." At the same time, European milk producers are witnessing an unprecedented dip in production. It’s the combination of these two that’s led some grocery stores to put up signs apologizing for their meager butter supply, or complete lack thereof.

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Manufacturers and bakers are feeling the increase, and fear an inability to meet the impending holiday demands. December staples like France’s iconic Yule Log Christmas cake could be at risk. No tangible fix has been adopted as of yet, so here’s to hoping that the French butter industry can find some sort of solution. In the meantime, is this the moment for margarine?

What's your butter-less approach? Let us know how you fare in the comments.

Tags: baking, french food, croissants, shortages