A row of pain au chocolat, also called "chocolatine" in the Gascony region, is displayed in a bakery in Bordeaux, France. Picture: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Paris - It may be among the few words of French that many tourists can muster, but if some French lawmakers get their way, the phrase books will have to erase the term "pain au chocolat" from the food chapter.

Their amendment is one of thousands holding up the passage of a new French food law. The lawmakers from Gascony, better known for its rugby, bull running and duck-meat delicacies, say the sweet pastry originates from their region - where it is called "chocolatine".

Aurelien Pradie and other right-wing MPs from the area say the law should be more supportive of local gastronomy, including "a pastry whose name historically draws on origins in the Gascony region and which is the pride of the south of France".

Little matter that most of the children across the rest of France who traditionally get a pain au chocolat at the end of their school day would struggle to recognise the term.

But Amendment 2064's chances of making it into law may anyway be slim, as it competes for debating time with weightier proposals on improving food safety or banning pesticides.