Charcoal baguette chalks up the sales

They may not look very appetising but these black baguettes are selling well in a Normandy bakery and with the bonus of the taste of traditional bread.

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Baker Benjamin Rose in Ver­non, Eure, said it was a classic 250g baguette de tradition where by law no chemical additives are allowed and to which he added the vegetable carbon charcoal to make it stand out.

“We have a problem where supermarkets can make bread so cheaply but it loses taste and we needed to do something to catch the eye and taste good.

“Here our Baguette au charbon végétal tastes like our traditional baguette and we make about 300 a week and hope to double sales.”

Mr Rose, of Boulangerie Rose, said a visit to Paris started his search and he went back to history to find a ‘new’ bread. He found black breads had been popular but mass production had cost character and flavour.

“Breads like pain de seigle (rye) no longer taste like they did 30 years ago and people are eating less bread... and more boulangeries are closing. So I decided to make a point.

“Most modern big-bakery baguettes contain about 14 additives and people want less of these and tastier bread. This €1.40 baguette provides both.

“I’ve checked the regulations and adding the charcoal is not a problem although I do not make the fanciful health claims that some people do.”

Activated carbon is said to help treat flatulence and bloating but such a claim would see his bread banned – and in Italy adding charcoal is forbidden.