racist pastries

racist pastries

Well, this takes the cake. Here’s what’s making headlines in today’s press – a baker in the South of France (Grasse) is accused of selling racist pastries. I’ve translated the article below.

If some clients seem to enjoy these little figures made of shortbread and chocolate mousse, others clearly see racist allusion. On Tuesday, the Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN) denounced in a statement the “obscene and offensive negroid caricatures that tap into the tradition of colonial racism.”

A charge that jolted Yannick Tavolaro, the baker responsible for the controversial cakes, which he calls “Gods” and “Goddesses”: “I do not understand why or how this controversy came about. This is not new. I’ve been making these pastries for 15 years and they’re sold in my three stores”, he argued.

For the craftsman, it is only a question of interpretation: “As far as I can see, the only logical complaint would be that they are made from dark chocolate. If it was white chocolate, nobody would be upset. But dark chocolate is easier to work with and takes better, that’s all,” says the baker, who denies any racism. “No one knows my story and people judge me on these pastries. I’m not racist, nor are my clients,” he added.

“I do not intend to withdraw these pastries from my window”.


Not sure that these explanations are sufficient to convince the CRAN, who believes that the pastries are comparable to “the vision of Tintin in the Congo, obscenity, and more.” The president of CRAN said “these treats are inspired colonial fantasies about blacks and ridicule African religions presenting these deities in a grotesque way just good enough to be eaten”. In its statement, the association “demands the immediate withdrawal of the racist pastries and reserves the right to sue for inciting racial hatred”….


And no question for the baker to bow to pressure from CRAN. “I will defend myself. I do not intend to remove the “Gods” and “Goddesses” from my window. I want to keep my freedom.”

A rally in support of the baker is planned on Friday at 10 am in front of his bakery.

There’s a phrase in the U.K. which is “to take the piss (out of someone)” which basically means to mock or take liberties at the expense of others.

I think that baker is taking the piss out of all of us.

The next day –

So I went to my local butcher today to buy some meat for my dinner.  I’m standing in line with the regulars – an older crowd – and the mood was quite jovial because one of the customers was teasing the junior butcher (there are two – a senior butcher and a junior butcher.)  “You should be jealous of him!” said the customer to the senior butcher, referring to the young butcher, “Look how masterfully he cuts that rack of lamb!”  And here’s what the senior butcher said –

“Je ne peux pas être jaloux d’un arabe, Monsieur !”  (I cannot be jealous of an Arab, Monsieur !).

Huh?  I was apparently the only one taken aback by this out-of-the-blue comment because everyone in the place burst out laughing (including the junior butcher who, we were on the brink of learning, is a Berber).

And then, as is customary in France, a spirited discussion ensued as to the origin of the young butcher (Kabyle) and that Kabyles are, in fact, not Arabs but Berbers. Native to the region of Kabylie in northern Algeria, they have their own language.  It was a long group discussion.

Sweet Jesus, I said to myself, stuck in the middle of the line.  All I want are my paupiettes de veau (stuffed veal cutlets), not a long-winded discourse on the ethnic groups of Algeria.  In France, a simple trip to the butcher – or the bakery – can end up full of surprises.


8 thoughts on “racist pastries

  1. A tempest in a teapot Tintin, Josephine Baker, Colonies – they are all a part of French history – once you throw away history and traditions you lose your own soul.

    Find something more serious to write about.


    • I don’t see the correlation between French history and the lewd caricaturization of black people in the form of pastries.

      once you throw away history and traditions you lose your own soul.

      If being racist is synonymous with having a soul, then I’d rather be soulless.

      As for writing about something more serious. Sure. Any suggestions?

  2. So what ? I am Black AND THIS WAS MY BIRTHDAY CAKE ! This was funny, not racist !

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