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In France, Bucolic Bakers Cook Up Real Country Bread

Believe it or not, good bread can sometimes be hard to find in the French countryside. Some farmers are rising to the occasion, swapping their work gloves for baker’s mitts and offering customers some genuine country cooking.

French bakers are known for their bread making skills
French bakers are known for their bread making skills
Olivier Razemon

CAYRIECH/LOMBERS – The countryside is aglow after July's heavy rain. Farmers have just completed the harvest, and the promising golden wheat ears will soon be turned into flour – and then into crunchy bread. Only the bread isn't likely to be made – or even available – just here. In many of France's rural areas, wheat fields abound. But it is not uncommon for residents to drive 25 kilometers or more to buy decent bread.

The exception to the rule are the baguettes and round breads produced by farmer-bakers, who number about 500 nationwide and use a portion of their own wheat supply to bake and sell directly to customers. Regulations allow the farmer-bakers – most of whom got their start in the early 1990s – to use about 30 tons of flour per year. As everything is organic these days, most of them abide by organic farming rules and refuse to use synthetic products in their crops.

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In The News

War in Ukraine, Day 91: Kissinger v. Soros, Two Survivors Of World War II Clash On Ukraine

The two 90-something European-Americans spoke separately at the Davos summit this week, offering very different assessments of what the West should do in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Henry Kissinger (left) and George Soros (right)

Shaun Lavelle, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

The Davos summit was the setting for a heavyweight contrast of aging but still influential power brokers of another era. Henry Kissinger and George Soros, two Americans, born in pre-World War II Europe, offered very different takes on what to do about the war in Ukraine.

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 98, told a Davos audience that the way out of the conflict with Russia was for Kyiv to cede territory in eastern Ukraine. The Telegraph quoted him Tuesday as telling the annual meeting of business and political leaders: “Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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