Weekly Special: Best Boulangerie in Paris
To kick off our “Best of” series, we are featuring a classic French staple: la baguette.
On the 22nd of March, the 17th Annual Best Baguette contest in Paris took place at la Chambre de Commerce des Boulangers. Over 160 artisans flocked through the streets whisking fresh trails of rising dough through the moist, morning air to meet their 1:00pm deadline. Four hours later, after great deliberation by the selective, expert jury, the winner was announced: M. Djibril Bodian, bread maker of Le Grenier à Pain Les Abbesses in the 18th arrondissement walked away with the title, Lauréat du Grand Prix de la Meilleure Baguette 2010. Along with this prestigious title, M. Bodian receives 4000 euros and will become the official supplier to the Sarkozy quarters (Le Palais de l’ Élysée) for the year.
M. Bodian, 33 years old, came to France when he was 6 years old. His father, also a boulanger, left Senegal in 1981 for the Parisian suburbs, where his family would join him two years later. Growing up in the midst of flour wars and rolling pin duels, Bodian has finally risen to the top at his Montmartre bakery.
Being apart of the shop’s 20% increase in sales since the competition, I settled in line outside the shop’s doors around midday. I must admit that this baguette was one of the best I have tasted in Paris. From the moment it left the bread rack and cuddled in my hands, everything was perfect. Taking my first grab-and-pull, I could see the steam rushing through the air holes inside escaping into the open air. The traditional consistency of a French baguette was delightfully upheld with a crisp outer crust, and warm, soft, thin, veraciously cooked dough on the inside. Coupled with some homemade fig confiture, this traditional baguette (1.10e) makes for a wonderful springtime morning snack!
I also indulged myself in the tartelette au chocolat (2.90e) – soft semi-rich chocolate cake and chocolate mousse layers sandwiched between smooth, creamy chocolate icing and a hard chocolate-laced crust – satisfying a chocolate fiend’s daily fix.
Also, Le Grenier à Pain Saint Charles in the 15th carries some of the best baguettes and pre-made sandwiches I’ve had in Paris as well (134 Rue Saint Charles, 75015)!
Le Grenier à Pain, Les Abbesses
38 rue Abbesses, 75018
Hours: 7:30am-8:00pm, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s review of a Top 10 winner in the competition!
1st Djibril Bodian (Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses), 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
2nd Daniel Pouphary, (La Parisienne) 28 rue Monge, 75005
3rd Dominique Saibron, 77 Avenue du Général Leclerc, 75014
4th Yves Desgranges, 6 Rue de Passy, 75016,
5th Philippe Gosselin, 258 Boulevard Saint-Germain
6th Xavier Doué, 163 avenue de versaillais, 75016
9th Mohamed Zerzour, 50 rue de l’Amiral Roussin 75015
10th SARL Zerzour II, 324, rue Lecourbe, 75014