Here is your latest sign of how strange life has gotten in the past three months: French people now have to be begged to eat cheese.
Sacre bleu! How did this happen?
When France went into lockdown in mid-March, farmers and cheesemakers were exempt. They continued producing the fromage because they considered it their patriotic duty. For what is France without cheese (and baguettes)? But then they made a horrible discovery: nobody was buying it. “[People] changed their habits and turned to basic necessities,” Michel Lacoste, the president of the National Council of Appellations of Dairy Origin (CNAOL), told CNN. Since when is cheese not a basic necessity? What has happened to this world?
But numbers do not lie: cheese sales declined by 60% between March 17 and April 10. CNAOL claims that cheesemakers are stuck with 2,000 tons of surplus cheese, a number Lacoste estimates will grow to 5,000 tons by the end of the pandemic. Eighty percent of cheeses don’t have a shelf life beyond eight weeks, so either they get eaten now or they’ll go to waste.
So rise up, people of France! Listen to your cheese overlords. “Eat cheese,” Lacoste implores, “make a fair trade act to maintain the French culture, the French tradition, the French heritage, that we all share.”
After all, if the Belgians can eat frites twice a week to save their economy, you can surely find the strength to demolish a small wheel of brie.