Fête du Pain – Paris
During 10 days in early May the forecourt of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris becomes transformed with the structure of a vast marquee housing the Paris Bread Festival. On our arrival in 2012 I was disappointed to see how the marquee spoiled the view of the magnificent Cathedral, but our accommodation was in Hotel Dieu, L’Hôtel Hospitel, 1 Place du Parvis Notre Dame and was entered from the square. I soon warmed to its presence, (and the presence of hundreds of people) when drawn daily to the aroma of freshly baked bread.
Bakers come from all over Paris to showcase their bread making skills and share the savoir-faire of artisan-boulangers. Visitors can walk around the expo and talk to the bakers who enjoy sharing what is involved in the profession and freely give information on how to be trained and qualified in the art. All can watch the making of authentic baguettes and croissants, from the kneading of the dough to the cooking in big modern ovens and, of course, when baking is finished, to the purchase of the finished product.
“2015 is the twentieth year of the competition to find Paris’s best baguette. A total of 187 were submitted for blind tasting, but 50 were rejected for not being the correct size (55-65 cm) or weight (250g-300g). The loaves must not contain more than 18 grams of salt per kilo of flour. Each is judged blind and marked on five criteria: appearance, crust, and the bread inside the crust, the smell and the taste. The texture of a good baguette should be moist, very slightly chewy and with a hint of a nutty flavour.” The winner for 2015 is Teixeira, aged 24. He starts work at 3 am and produces about 1,500 baguettes a day. He competed against nearly 200 rivals to take the prestigious award which was won by his father Antonio 16 years ago. It is the first time a Parisian boulangerie has won the title twice. The winning baker gets to deliver 40 baguettes to the Elysée presidential palace every morning for a year.
You may be thinking What has this to do with Flowers~Blumen~Fleurs? I was intrigued to watch the incredible skills needed to fashion decorative FLOWERS.
It was a privilege to have an amazing boulangerie continually baking baguettes and delicious pastries right at our front door. Each day, with the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral as a backdrop, we enjoyed freshly baked lunch (at a very small cost) before continuing to drink in the sounds and sights of this loved city.