Tuesday, March 16, 2010

i walked where lionel walked

It's late Monday afternoon, here in Paris. I didn't go to the convention today, I needed a day break. Spent the day walking around Paris, my favorite thing to do here. Hop on the Metro, with a specific destination in mind, and start walking back. When we get tired, hop on the Metro to get back. Today we were in St. Germain, home of Le Bon Marche, incredible store. It's a department store that has a separate building that houses the food department. Bakery, meat, pastry, chocolate, butcher, cheese, hot food, cold food, even a butter department. Fabulous! Extreme quality and respect for what they do. We stepped out of Le Bon Marche, down the street a few blocks and into a cafe for lunch. We were sitting there and after a few minutes I looked up and we were on the corner of Rue de Severes and Rue Cherch Midi. Cherch Midi, the Cherch Midi. I asked the waiter, "How close is Poilane"? He said “Cinq cents mètres”. I was five hundred meters from hallowed ground. Any bread bakers reading this know, eight Rue de Cherch Midi is Poilane bakery. Lionel Poilane died seven or eight years ago in a helicopter crash, his helicopter, flying out to his island. Poilane bakery bakes two percent of the bread consumed in Paris. That’s a lot of bread. Organic flour, wood fired oven, great bread. He has a unique shop, offers a few different items, a few different loaves, a loaf cake or two, and loads of Poilane paraphernalia. Genius, total genius. The bakery is now run by his two daughters, Apolonia and Athena. Both Harvard business school grads. The shop is very unpretentious. The walls are lined with his offerings. There aren’t any display cases as you might expect. There was one saleslady that answers questions and packages goods and then you move to the counter where another sales associate will take the money. I overheard another rookie ask about baguettes, saleslady replied “Ne baguette pas, seulment tranches”. “No baguettes only slices of miche”. I think the coolest thing I saw was a miche house/cutting board. It had glass sides and a canvas top. It was designed to store your miche half cut side down and then there was space in the glass sides so you could slice the bread as you needed it. Two hundred forty euros, around three hundred U.S. Ya gotta eat a lot of miche to support that.

Tonight it’s off to dinner with Dennis and Melanie, from Swedish bakery in Chicago. Dinner at the Maison Alsace on the Champs de Elysee. We’ve had dinner with them, every time we’ve been to Paris, for Europain. Kinda funny, we live five miles apart, but we have to travel forty two hundred miles to have dinner together. I see Dennis, once a month at our Baker’s dozen meeting.

Jusqu'à demain.


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