France issues scratch-and-sniff stamps with baguettes

Joining the ranks of screen goddess Brigitte Bardot and the Eiffel Tower, another French treasure is being celebrated with its own stamp: the baguette.

And that's scratch and sniff.

The latest showcase of French cultural heritage as Paris prepares to host millions of visitors for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, the new stamp features a cartoon image of a baguette wrapped in a tricolor ribbon.

It was inaugurated by the French post office on Thursday 16 May, the feast day of Saint Honoré, patron saint of bakers.

“The baguette, the bread of our daily life, the symbol of our gastronomy, the jewel of our culture,” praised the usually unobtrusive postal service in describing its new offering.

The stamp, intended to be used for international letters weighing up to 20 grams, or about 0.7 ounces, went on sale Friday at post offices and kiosks across the republic, with an initial circulation of 594,000 and a price of 1 .96 euros, or $2.14, each.

Thanks to scratch-and-sniff technology, it will also deliver “baking fragrances” to those lucky enough to receive a letter from France.

The baguette is one of the most talked about breads in the world, and certainly the most popular in its native France: six billion baguettes are produced every year, according to the postal service.

This culinary delight has also gained international recognition, including being added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List in 2022. At the time, an enthusiastic President Emmanuel Macron named the baguette – made with just four ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast – “the spirit of French know-how”.

And this month, bakers in Suresnes, a suburb of Paris, baked a 461-foot baguette in front of Guinness World Records judges, breaking a record held by Italy since 2019.

In Paris, the hottest competition is the annual “Grand Prix de la baguette” during which hundreds of baguettes compete to be named the best in the city. The jury is made up of professionals, a deputy mayor of Paris, five journalists and six members of the public, chosen at random.

This year, Xavier Netry beat out 172 other bakers to take home the prize, which includes a €4,000 prize, the opportunity to supply the French presidential palace for a year and bragging rights, plus long lines of customers. – forever.

The Postal Service hopes people will also line up to get the baguette stamp.

There was no word on when a croissant stamp might follow.

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