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23 May, 2024
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Doughnut diplomacy as Krispy Kreme invades Paris sparking croissant crisis

French pastry pride crumbles as Krispy Kreme’s sweet onslaught takes Paris by storm leaving croissants in the dust

Source: The New York Times

France, renowned for its culinary artistry, especially in the realm of patisserie, has recently found itself caught in the irresistible allure of the American doughnut, courtesy of Krispy Kreme.

According to a report in the New York Times, the iconic American chain opened its first outlet in a central Paris shopping center, prompting a response that could only be described as unexpected - 400 eager enthusiasts formed an orderly queue, some even camping out overnight in anticipation.

As a mechanical production line, straight from the heart of North Carolina, churned out a steady stream of white-glazed doughnuts, the spectacle outside unfolded like scenes from the first day of sales or the release of the latest iPhone. The first ten individuals in the queue were treated to a box of 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts every week for a year, while the next 100 received a monthly box for a year.

Alexandre Maizoué, Krispy Kreme's director general in France, expressed his surprise at the overwhelming response, saying, "By the time we opened, there were 400 people waiting to come in, and when I shut the doors at 10 pm I honestly thought people were going to kill me. They were tapping on the glass, wanting me to open up again. I went out with a tray of doughnuts to placate them, and there were people running up from all directions."

In a country where patisserie is deemed part of the culinary "cultural exception," the influx of Krispy Kreme doughnut fans reflects the evolving tastes of younger generations influenced by American pop culture icons like The Simpsons, The Kardashians, and even fictional detectives with a penchant for doughnuts.

The doughnut phenomenon operates from 8 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, producing approximately 42,000 Krispy Kreme doughnuts in 13 flavors at its Les Halles shopping precinct location. This spot was previously occupied by one of the Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse's restaurants. A red neon "Hot Now" sign announces the arrival of a fresh batch of doughnuts off the production line, creating a spectacle reminiscent of an American doughnut frenzy.

While traditionalists might scoff at the idea of embracing American fast food in the heart of French gastronomy, the enthusiasm for Krispy Kreme showcases a growing demand for something beyond the meticulously crafted French pastries. The doughnut experience has evidently become a nostalgic journey for some, reminiscent of past holidays or encounters with American culture.

As Krispy Kreme announced its grand entrance into France at the beginning of the year, an intensive marketing campaign ensued, including the distribution of over 100,000 free doughnuts across the French capital. A fly-poster campaign, despite raising eyebrows at city hall, playfully featured a play on French president Emmanuel Macron's name - "macaron demission" (macaron resign).

In the broader context of American fast food making inroads into France over the last decade, with the likes of McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King establishing a presence, Krispy Kreme's success appears to be another chapter in this culinary crossover. Krispy Kreme plans to extend its reach, with upcoming locations in supermarkets and strategic spots like railway stations in the city, promising more delightful moments for doughnut enthusiasts. Alexandre Maizoué summed up the sentiment, saying, "We have brought a little bit of American pop culture to France. We’re adding something to France, not taking anything away."

Cyprus  |  France  |  donuts  |  food

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