Wednesday, March 17, 2010

two things 'bout home

As if you couldn't tell, the last five or six postings were written while I was away. Internet time in France, of course does exist, but very expensive. Ten Euros an hour, about $13.50. I wrote when I could.

Wednesday morning we were off to Orly to catch a flight to Nice. I was in the air when they announced the winners of the competition. As soon as I was able to turn on my cell phone, I called Craig. He immediately sent me a text, "No news yet". Within five minutes "Taiwan won bread". Two minutes later "France won pastry". Another two minutes, "Holland", won showpiece. I was disappointed Dara didn't win. I felt bad for Peter. If it hadn't been for that brioche. Although it is not possible for them to allow someone to win, that finishes late. Just can't happen.

We spent the next six days driving from Nice back to Paris. Spent one night in a really neat mountain chalet type place, 1250m up. It was between Geneve, Switzerland and Strasbourg. One night in Strasbourg. I came across a pastry shop in Strasbourg that was owned by Thierry Mulhaupt. Thierry taught a one week chocolate class, the French Pastry school in Chicago. Beautiful product, place was busy.

We returned to Paris, Sunday afternoon. We planned to stay at the airport Sunday night, to avoid the rush of returning a car etc. We had enough time we hopped the RER back into Paris, spent the late afternoon on the Champs de Elysee, had some lunch, decided we'd do pastry and coffee at Laduree, down the street. Couldn't get close. They have two doors, one handles the two story cafe, and the other is for their retail trade. There were at least twenty five people, in each line, on the sidewalk. I was able to peek in the retail side, incredible. Gotta be the busiest bakery on the planet. I thought Porto's in California was it, but I've changed my mind. Stuff is not inexpensive, but it is perfect, every piece. The packaging, is the best part. Clerks in tuxedos, both male and female. Every baker should see this place, it's beyond words.

Glad to be home, I love being in France, but I love home more. After eight or ten days, I need some flour in my lungs. Thank God it had a chance to bake up there in Lille. Once I left Paris, bread and breakfast pastry, became very lame. Most of it was purchased frozen, just like here. Up in Lille at the LeSaffre research lab, they put a lot of effort into parbaked, frozen product. They were working on different additives, chemicals etc. Gotta say, product was pretty nice. It was handled by people in lab coats, in a perfect environment. Get out here in the real world, stuff can get "Mishandled". Anybody in the food biz, will understand what I mean.

I'm here in the office, just brought down a sixteen ounce cup of coffee and a chunk of a fresh baguette, that got broken by the oven loader. The two things I missed most, a real coffee cup and good bread.


Blogger Solveig said...

Hey Jory. On behalf of a bunch of us bakers, thank you so much for the excellent and detailed reporting. I was on the edge of my seat all weekend and checked your site frantically for news. We're gonna be in Evanston next weekend and will definitely stop by the shop. Hope to see you! - Solveig.

March 19, 2010 at 4:45 PM  

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