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Sacré Buerre! How rumours of a shortage caused a French run on butter

In the food halls of Galeries Lafayette I saw a Chinese man in the checkout queue buying 15 or more packets of the fanciest Le Bordier butter

Sitting in a crêperie on the Brittany coast, high blue winter day, mussels on the rocks at low tide, half way through a mouthful of crispy buttery crêpe complète, the classic buckwheat crêpe folded over ham, cheese and a fried egg.

“It’s a great crisis!” said my friend Laurent, explaining how the specialities of Brittany—Kouign-amann, sablé biscuits, the very crêpes we were eating—were under threat. “There is a shortage of butter in France! It’s a catastrophe!”

In October the French press was full of alarmist headlines and pictures of empty butter…

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