Bye-Bye, Baguette?

Much has been made about the slimming effects of the French diet, but one thing it’s not is easily digestible: so many hunks of baguette topped with fatty meats and cheeses, so little fiber. The nutritionally nul (if often tasty) bread has become a national symbol—but now the head of one of France’s most celebrated baking “dynasties” is urging her countrymen to lay off the baguettes and turn to whole-grain loaves instead.

As the Australian reports (via the Food Section), Apollonia Poilane, the wunderkind CEO of the Poilane bakery (made famous by her late father, Lionel), argues that the iconic French bread was actually “imported from Austria in the late 19th century.” The true bread of France is the traditional Gallic loaf, she says; that was made with whole-grain or “gray” flour.

And of course it so happens that her bakery peddles exactly that—crusty, artisanal gray-flour bread—refusing since its inception to bend to the whims of the baguette-hungry masses.

Sure, the 23-year-old Harvard Business School–trained French bread queen might just be capitalizing on a growing public health-consciousness to increase sales here. But her bakery’s specialty—a round loaf “made from grey flour, sea salt and dough left over from the previous batch,” as the Australian describes it—is better than any baguette I had during the entire year I lived in France, not to mention any I’ve eaten elsewhere in the world. So maybe a little antibaguette backlash wouldn’t be such a bad thing.