In Paris, one of the most common trends you’ll see is people walking around with their baguette and fresh produce from the market. In an attempt to fully immerse ourselves in the surrounding culture, every morning we would wake up to catch the subway at the Pyramides stop to head to the markets, formageries and wine stores at the censier-daubenton stop. To me, this market was the best in all of Paris. Upon making our way through the different produce stands, we stumbled upon a boulangerie by the name of Eric Kayser. Let me just say, this guy is the real deal. In fact, his breads are so prized, that he was awarded best boulangerie in Paris and provides bread to the President every day. People literally flock toward his store and wait in lines around the corner to take home his perfectly crusty, warm baguette. Of course, when making my way to the front of the line, the first thing I ordered was two baguettes—fresh from the oven. A fun fact that I learned about people in Paris is that they fight for the crunchy ends of the baguette, as they claim it to be the best part. So, in keeping with such tradition, the moment I walked out of his store I broke off one of the end pieces and transferred it to my mouth. I couldn’t agree more with the people of Paris; the crunchy ends are the best part. What I like about his bread is that it has such a hearty crust, yet remains tangy and chewy on the inside. To me, these are some of the most important aspects that any good bread should have. If you find yourself in the area, I implore you to wait in line and try what everyone is raving about.
If there is one thing that I learned amidst my time in Europe, it’s that the Europeans truly take their food seriously. For that reason, I was “home” the minute I stepped foot off of the train. After being in Paris for only a few days, I was amazed at how much my appetite had changed and mimicked that of the local natives. Essentially, you eat breakfast, lunch, have a midday snack and then dinner, followed by dessert—not that I’m complaining.
When it comes to the most famous bakery in Paris, Poilane Bakery has to be it. They are known for their big boules of sourdough with a cursive “P” on the top and they are one of the last bakeries in Paris that still use a wood-burning oven. In the store that we visited, the minute you walk in, you’re entranced with the scent of fresh-baked bread. As we made our way through the store, we noticed this quaint little room that was ornamented with an amazing chandelier that was made completely out of baguette. This, to me, showed the people at Poilane’s passion for what they do. We were sure to try the apple pastry and a big hunk of sourdough boule. The taste of both were so intense and you could really taste the difference in the crust with the wood burning oven—it was absolute perfection.
These two stores made me change the way I look at baking. Here are two examples of stores that have created their own voice within the veins of Paris and they are there to stay. If you find yourself near either of these shops, you have to go in and see what you’ve been missing your entire life. Stay tuned for my next blog post as I share with you my journey through a most life-changing trip to Europe.