May 3, 2007

Hello Everyone!

Today I started with an appointment with the owner of Bread and Roses, an upscale boulanger/patissierie/deli located in the 6th arrondissement. The business is about 3 years old, and is thriving in its very luxurious address. Located a block away from the Luxembourg Gardens, it caters to a fairly wealthy clientele. The owner, Phil Tailleur, is an outgoing businessman who doesn’t have a background in baking. Nonetheless, he is striving to provide serious bread. His bread is all organic and he uses the highest quality of ingredients.

Phil let me tour the kitchen to observe the bread baking. They use state of the art equipment (below), including a mixer that is supposed to really preserve the quality of the dough through very sensitive motion.


I also met the first and only female boulanger (Rebecca) in my travels – she deserves a shout out because she is truly a rare bird. Check out flickr for more photos of the equipment.


My conversation with Phil included a lot of his interesting observations into the business life of a french person. He expressed real frustration with the french system of taxes and labor laws that provide enormous protection for workers but very little incentives to business. He has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into his business, and is selling exponentially more every year, but is strangled financially because the cost of employment plus random fines. He wants to expand his business into an international franchise, but is working on how to create a system that will ensure that the quality remains consistent.

I tried one piece of bread – an organic raisin ficille – and it was delicious. Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of pictures of the bread, nor did I taste enough- so I plan to return next week and do it more justice. But here are a couple of photographs I did get-fruit-bread-at-bread-and-rosesjpg.jpgpain-bread-and-rosesjpg.jpg
Some of the highlights today included a visit to Paul – a patisserie/boulangerie in the 6th arrondissment (St. Germain des Pres) that also sells a lot of prepared foods. Their bread selections were really impressive.dead-dough-display-at-pauljpg.jpgdead-dough-display-at-pauljpg_1.jpgdead-dough-display-at-pauljpg_2.jpgpain-display-at-pauljpg_1.jpg

Gerard Mulot, a similar model of business to Paul – with more emphasis on pastry – was also a highlight. Located a block away from Paul, both businesses were rocking. I took a lot of photos – check out flickr for a complete rundown. His speciality is the pain de compagna – he uses a natural levain and no commercial yeast.


I did get to two very famous patisseries – the first is called Dallayou. I had probably one the best desserts I have ever had – it was called a Frivolite and it was described as a creme citron, fraise biscuit breton and guicuauve(?) a la violette. It was to die for. Can we make this at Bouchon?


I also visited a boulangerie called Le Boulanger des Invalides. This little place is owned by a young man named David Hernandez, and the breads are awesome. I am scheduled to spend Wednesday with them – hopefully I can get my hands on some dough!


Another stunning day in Paris – I can’t wait for tomorrow. I am up at the crack of dawn to spend time at a bolulangerie owned by Thierry Dubois. I also I have a tour of Poilane! (check out flickr for more cool photos!)


May 2, 2007

Greetings from Paris everyone! I arrived without any problems and I am so thrilled to be here! This blog is intended to give you brief updates on how my trip is going. I plan to give you the highlights, but feel free to go to the flickr link for a more extended photo collection.

I woke up to the most fabulous sun-drenched morning. I can’t believe how gorgeous this city is! It seems that everywhere I turn is a picture postcard. I spent today exploring the boulangeries in my neighborhood – which is the 7th arrondissement. For those not familiar with Paris it is located in the Left Bank, and includes the Eiffel Tower, the Hotel des Invalides (below), and many gorgeous buildings with thriving local businesses.


Some of the most impressive boulangeries today included Secco, but is known for its famous former owner Poujauran. I could take photos of the outside of the shop (below), but they wouldn’t allow me to photograph inside – which was really disappointing because the bakery is adorable and the offer a splendid array of breads and pastries. This business saw non-stop customers – people clearly love it.


I bought the mother lode, however, so you can get a sense of what they had to offer. From clockwise, pain napoleon, figues noix, mini complet, seigle apricot, and bricohe with candied orange and raisins. My favorites out of these were the fig noix – its a really dense flavorful dark bread, and the brioche with orange was delicious too.


I also purchased a flute 7 cereales, which was great – it had an abundance of poppy seed which was unexpected – and it had a really nice crust. (below)


Another highlight of the day was Boulangerie Julien, a very busy boulangerie located about one block from Secc0/Poujauran. This establish was much more picture friendly – so you will get a better idea of what they had to offer.


Le Moulin de la Vierge, owned by the famous Basil Kamir, has a location in my neighborhood. The pastries are absolutely gorgeous (refer to flickr for more photos), and while they did not have an extensive selection of bread (I guess the wrong time of day), what they had looked great. I’m headed there tomorrow to get a better look.


This by no means covers everything, but I hope it gives you an inkling of what the boulangeries are like. It’s really incredible how many there are, you can’t walk a block without bumping into one. Certainly not all are great, but everyone seems to have one thing different to offer – at least to my eyes. There are a wide variety of shaping techniques, and I have a list of names of breads that I have never heard of before.

Write to you tomorrow!

I’m going to Paris!

I’m headed to Paris to study artisanal bread-breaking in May. I’m going to use this blog to keep you updated on the highlights of my trip, so come back often!