The Knead for Bread

One of the basis of French gastronomy, is le pain (bread). Many Parisians swear by their local bakers and each Parisian has a favorite boulangerie. With recent buzz awarding boulangeries (bakeries) with prizes for best baguettes, best croissants and other viennoiseries, I found it necessary to see, and most importantly try. In the shadows of the Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre, that’s exactly what I did. Despite my huge appetite, one small stomach is not big enough to chow down on all of them.

 

My first stop was at Gontran Cherrier, a boulangerie designed by Franz Potisek on the corner of Rues Caulaincourt and Tourlaque. The bakery is named after the sexy French baker himself, Gontran Cherrier. Currently, the most buzzed-about-baker, Cherrier looks more like a college kid than a successful entrepreneur with dishevelled hair and baggy jeans. Born into a family of bakers, Cherrier provides an innovative take on traditional French baked goods. In the corner o, the simple and well-lit joint provides Cherrier’s innovative take on traditional French baked goodies.

 

 White shiny walls and a mosaic floor is enough decor for this corner space.

Cherrier provides both sweet and savoury options. Clients can buy as take-out or they can eat sitted along the windows where newspapers, magazines and Cherrier’s own book can be browsed.

 

Tartes fines (a kind of French pizza) with different toppings. I opted for mushrooms and gruyere cheese.

 

Buns. Here, encre de seiche (squid ink) with raw fish. Very interesting take on the bun, not overpowering at all.

There’s also curry bun. Smelled just like curry powder but the taste was much more subtle. Paprika and Arugula also exist.

They also sell it in baguette form.

More traditional viennoiseries (croissants and the like) and bread are also sold, as are cakes like the banana, pistachio and lime tart.

I very much enjoyed my experience at Cherrier, he’s very avant-garde and pairs unusual ingredients in bread. Very exciting to see what he bakes next!

Gontran Cherrier

22 rue Caulaincourt, 75018 

Closed: Wednesdays

Website: http://www.gontrancherrierboulanger.com/index.php?lang=en

Tel: 01 46 06 82 66

Metro: Abbesses (Ligne 2)

My second stop was paid to what appeared to be like your run-in-the-mill boulangerie. No sitting here, you pick, you buy and you leave. Au Levain D’Antan (roughly translated as “the bread of yesteryear” sits at the top of rue des Abbesses. Baker Pascal Barillon, who has been baking since 1976 (and at Levain D’Antan since 1988) was just awarded the 1st prize in the 2011 competition for the Best Baguette in Paris where 174 (out of a total of 1,200) entered the 18th Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris – the annual competition to find the best baguette in town – run by the city council. He now has the honour of providing bread to the President of France at the Elysée Palace for the whole year.

 The baguettes being judged were not your average baguette, but baguettes de tradition, which according to a French law passed in 1993, must be mix, kneaded, leavened and baked on premises without being frozen..ever. Moreover, the bread loaves must be additive-free and contain only 4 ingredients (all crucial): wheat flour, water, salt and yeast.

The bread was just right. Crunchy and thin outer layer and a soft, moist and not overcooked and dry. Definitely did not taste like yeast.

Au Levain D’Antan

Address: 6 rue des Abbesses, 75018

Nearest transport: Abbesses (12) or Pigalle (2, 12)

Hours: Closed Saturday and Sunday

Telephone: 01 42 64 97 83

List of 2011 Winners if you’re ready to take on Parisian bread!

Top 10 boulangeries in Paris, 2011

1. Au Levain d’Antan,  6, rue des Abbesses, 75018
2. Gaétan Romp, 14 rue de la Michodière, 75002
3. Les Saveurs du 20ème (Pascal Jamin), 120 rue de Bagnolet, 75020
4. Gontran Cherrier, 22 rue Caulaincourt, 75018
5. Le Fournil du Village (M. Risser), 12 place JB Clément, 75018
6. Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel (Gilles Levaslot), 187 rue de Grenelle, 75007
7. Julien, 75 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
8. Philippe Marache, 92 av de la République, 75011
9. Philippe Bogner, 204 rue des Pyrénées, 75020
10. Le Grenier à Pain Saint-Amand, 64 Avenue Félix Faure, 75015

 

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Comments
One Response to “The Knead for Bread”
  1. R says:

    I knew u loved bread!
    🙂

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