Even if you already knew that the French take their food seriously, you have no idea how important this official competition is is; organised by the Paris city council, the winner becomes the official supplier to the President himself for a year! This year a boulangerie from Montmartre Au Levain d’Antan had won. We tell you how to get some of that oven baked crusty goodness for yourself …
Even with venerable baker Poilâne near La Belle Juliette and ultra stylish Eric Kayser and his very special breads to be found all over the Left Bank, our part of town doesn’t seem to have much luck with the great French classic, la baguette. For the last four years, the winners of the official prize have all come from the Montmartre area. Bah! Perhaps it’s something in the water 😉
So, this year, Pascal Barillon from the boulangerie Au Levain d’Antan (here) was chosen from 174 contestants, of which 20% were instantly disqualified for having too much salt (max. 18g), being of incorrect length (baguettes must be between 55cm and 70cm) or not being the right weight (between 240g and 310g). I told you this was serious. And with 136 baguettes left in the running, competition was tough.
However there is hope for those of us for don’t want to leave the Rive Gauche for a decent piece of bread. Why not try going to La Parisienne, rue Monge (here), 2nd place in last year’s contest, or Gosselin, boulevard Saint-Germain (here), 5th place in 2010.
Otherwise, parisbymouth.com, the rather wonderful English-language site for Paris-loving foodies, has prepared a map showing the location of all winners since 2008. Wherever you are in the city, you’re bound to be close to one of them. Hurrah!
And by the way, the baguette is not the be all and end all of Parisian bread. Perhaps you should try the amazing pain des amis too?
Bigger map here.
Paris by Mouth is here. It’s bang up to date and extremely useful for anyone visiting the city and looking for great food places.
Oh and The Guardian has written a ‘humorous’ article about the contest that you can read here.