September 18, 2017

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Weird Food for Sale in Venezuela But Nothing That Anyone Wants.

Walk into a Caracas bakery these days and you’ll find a wide variety of freshly-made breads on shelves that were barren a year ago. You can buy a fat, dense loaf called the gallego, or a soft sobado, or a campesino for sandwiches, even a sweet andino lined with guava jam or corn or fruit.

What you won’t find, though, is the one that Venezuelans actually want: the canilla, a soft, buttery take on the baguette that’s been the beloved bread of choice in this South American country for decades.

Why no canillas? Because its price, unlike for all those other loaves, is controlled by the government. And it is set at such a low level — 1,500 bolivars versus the 4,500 to 7,500 a gallego commands — that bakers complain it doesn’t come close to covering their costs. So they use new-found supplies of wheat in the country to bake every other kind of bread imaginable.

“Let them eat cake,” indeed.

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