Pain au Chocolat vs Chocolatine

When I lived in Paris, I would walk into my local boulangerie and order un pain au chocolat. During my year in Toulouse, I always asked for une chocolatine. Pourquoi cette différence?

As you probably know, we are talking about chocolate croissants. Pain au chocolat is the generic term in French. So why, as soon as you enter the southwest of France, does one say chocolatine?

source: culinaryescapades.com

source: culinaryescapades.com

According to one source, we have the English to thank for this. During the 15th century when the English controlled part of France, they would enter bakeries and, not speaking French, ask for “chocolate in bread please!” The French, trying to understand, retained the “chocolate in” portion, which became “chocolatine.” This term is also used in Quebec, possibly because of the region’s proximity to English speakers.

Another source asserts that chocolatine comes from a word belonging to the regional language occitan, chicolatina. Which story is correct? What do you think?

If you understand French, please see this blog post from Adrien VH. His article goes in-depth about the regions that use each term.

If you are a music fan, check out this classic French song by Joe Dassin, “Pain au chocolat”

What is your preference: pain au chocolat or chocolatine? Pourquoi?

© Jessica’s Franglais 2015

8 thoughts on “Pain au Chocolat vs Chocolatine

  1. Giovanna Gordon

    Hi Jessica, I have the same experience. I have lived in the north of France for several years, and now in Toulouse. There is no difference, it is just the way the call it. Toulousains also said une poche meaning un sac in the Paris. That’s they way they speak, but it means the same thing.

    Reply
    1. jessicalpasa@gmail.com Post author

      Merci Giovanna!
      Do you have a preference for one of the names? I have a soft spot for “chocolatine” as I frequented a charming little boulangerie in Toulouse where the boulangère called all the ladies “ma belle.” How do you like living in la ville rose?

      Reply
  2. Giovanna Gordon

    Hi Jessica; Chocolatina sounds very cute, and soft as you say. Toulousains, with their accent from the south, and La Ville Rose, are so charming. I love this city.

    Reply
  3. Jean-Marc

    Hi Jessica,

    I’m from an area that uses “pain au chocolat”, and I always use this term, but actually I prefer “chocolatine”, because to me it sounds nicer/sweeter and also because “pain au chocolat” is not “pain” at all…
    To be confirmed but I believe they use chocolatine in Quebec.
    Talking about chocalate “viennoiseries”, did you try the “choco suisse”? 🙂
    Cheers

    Reply
    1. jessicalpasa@gmail.com Post author

      Bonjour Jean-Marc,
      Yes, I read that they say “chocolatine” in Quebec as well. Have you been there? I would love to visit someday soon. Maybe they say chocolatine because it is part of old French? I have never tried a “choco suisse,” qu’est-ce que c’est?

      Reply
  4. Joanna Bunker

    I am from Bordeaux and grew up on the Bassin d’Arcachon and we also say chocolatine and yes poche instead of sac . Each region have they on variations – it is like food – each have their “specialite” 🙂

    Reply
    1. jessicalpasa@gmail.com Post author

      Merci Joanna!
      I would love to visit Bordeaux some day soon. Do you have any recommendations on places to see in or around Bordeaux?

      Reply

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