Take a seat at a small bistro tucked away in the heart of Paris, ordering a chocolate croissant and a cup of serré, staring out at the Eiffel Tower just down the road.
The expectations are that the chocolate croissant is fresh, especially because France is known as the world capital of gastronomy, but it isn’t. The croissant was actually heated in the oven, originating from a box of 500 frozen other croissants, partially prepared by industrial food giants.
Industrial food giants are very common in the United States, mostly present at chain food restaurants, but an authentic croissant from France is not an expected common practice of reheating frozen premade items.
The New York Times reported that the use of industrial food giants is a growing global practice.
The French have taken matters into their own hands in fixing the presence of industrial food sources, present in most touristy restaurants, by implementing a consumer protection law.
Now, all restaurants must indicate on a menu if an item is prepared fresh, mostly indicated by the words “fait maison,” meaning made in-house or homemade. If an item on the menu is not labeled as “fait maison,” then it is quite possible that the item was prepared by an industrial food giant, frozen and reheated for consumption.
A key indicator that industrial food giants have prepared menu items at restaurants is the length of the menu. The more the restaurant offers, the larger the kitchen needs to be. Most kitchens do not have the space to create such a large menu selection.
For Minnesotans seeking that true authentic French cuisine, fear not. Many metropolitan restaurants take pride in their small menu selections, offering fresh, prepared in-house, cuisines for all diners to enjoy.