People just want to eat bread. This much we know.
While archeological evidence suggests humans were baking bread at least 14,000 years ago, it was the French people who altruistically stepped in to slake the human yearning for crusty breads with the invention of « La Baguette » just over 100 years ago, in 1920 to be exact. Baguette translates as « wand » or « baton » in French.Très phalique, non?…The More You Know: French law states that it must be made with no less and no more than flour + salt + water + yeast. Do you think the baguettes on our list classify as legal? Shamelessly tear away a piece and judge for yourself as you walk the streets of Paris — the only eating while walking not frowned upon around here. And — très important — get a baguette ‘tradition’ and not a plain old baguette. The baguette tradition is the crustier, denser hot sister to the, let’s be honest, ~basic~ baguette… But first…
~Some Tea, Spilled to Go With Your Bread~
This being France, there’s regularly some baguette scandal, like famous bakers copying their non-famous teacher’s bread (NOT naming THOSE names).So way, way, back, in 2021, Makram Akrout of « Les Boulangers de Reuilly » (see below), won the coveted « Best Baguette of Paris »…and was all set to deliver his wands to the Elysée Palace where the President would share them with world leaders, etc. Journalists did their thing and discovered that Mr. Akrout seemed to have maybe kind of posted some ISIS Jihadi stuff on Facebook — It happens to us all, non? You send inappropriate nudes, or you suddenly become famous and your old blackface videos or Jihadi posts surface (LOL, which is worse?), and there’s some ‘splaining to do. #sorelatable. Should a baguette be judged on its merits, completely separate from the hands that *allegedly* typed out some pro-ISIS stuff circa 2015? (Philosophical questions… WWSD What Would Jean-Paul Sartre do?) But we love sinking our teeth into philosophy here in France. Case in point: I attended a neighborhood meeting after the 2015 terror attacks, which I American-ly expected to be about fortifying security, etc. What I found was Frenches debating the nature of fear. LOL. I’m not from Texas but in comparison to them, I felt like Yosemite Sam.
But back to bread:
Besides the gossip, the 2023 Best Baguettes in Paris have just been announced –
Tharshan Selvarajah — « Au Levain des Pyrénées » 44 rue des Pyrénées (20e)