Pain au chocolat or chocolatine? The definitive map

Trying to settle a debate? Consult this official ‘chocolatine’ and ‘pain au chocolat’ map of France

Would you call this a ‘pain au chocolat’ or a ‘chocolatine’? Or something else entirely?
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It’s the most French of debates; should you call your chocolate-filled pastry a ‘pain au chocolat’ or ‘chocolatine’? 

A French linguist has even sought to settle the issue in his book, l'Atlas du Français de nos Régions (Atlas of the French of our Regions). Author Mathieu Avanzi is a specialist in regional French at the Catholic University of Louvain.

As part of his research process, he polled several thousand French people, and used the responses to draw up the ‘ultimate’ pastry map.

Overall, ‘pain au chocolat’ is used in most of France, except the south-west and fringes in the north and north-east. In contrast, ‘chocolatine’ is used in most of the south-west.

A map of France showing what people call a 'pain au chocolat' in different regions of the country

In defence of ‘chocolatine

And despite being the lesser-used name, ‘chocolatine’ appears to have gathered a cult following over the years, especially on social media, with people passionately fighting for their favourite term.

There is a ‘defence committee’ for the chocolatine on the social network Facebook, while in 2013, satirical website Le Gorafi wrote a deliberately ‘fake news’ article about a baker from Toulouse (a definite ‘chocolatine’ centre) who had beaten up a man who came into his boulangerie asking for a pain au chocolat.

In 2017, a group of lycée students from Montauban wrote to the president to ask for the word chocolatine to enter into the official dictionary, while the Toulouse rugby team Stade Toulousain has even joked about the difference during a match with Stade Français.

Similarly, when members of the public were asked to rename the French regions, internet users from what is now Occitanie (previously Midi-Pyrenees) suggested the name ‘Chocolatinie’ would be more apt.

The linguist map also revealed that the name battle is not confined to two sides. All hail the ‘couque au chocolat’ (Ardennes), ‘petit pain au chocolat’ (Hauts-de-France and Grand Est), and - possible sacrilege? - a ‘croissant au chocolat’ (Grand Est).