France is known all over the world for its culinary tradition. Talking of France, almost everyone will mention its abundance of cheeses, tasty wines, and fresh baguettes. What is really nice about Paris is that the city has conserved the handcrafted tradition of food preparation. Almost everywhere you visit in the city, you’ll meet small, and often family-run businesses, going from fishmongers (called in French “poissonneries”), vegetable and cheese shops (“fromageries”) to traditional bakeries (“boulangeries”) that smell of freshly baked bread, which attracts the attention of your senses. It is really difficult to resist the temptation of these bakeries and not visit a few of them. However, as the French are real kings of baking and the variety of their tasty-looking products is extremely large, it could be difficult for you to pick only one or two treats to sample. Here are a few tips on what is really worth trying as well as a short list of the bakeries that you shouldn’t miss.
Traditional sweet delicacies
We’ll forget for the moment the compulsory sample of the traditional baguette and pay attention to other, more interesting delicacies. If you are a chocolate lover, you should definitely try the classic chocolate-filled croissant called “pain au chocolat,” the fluffy cake called “moelleux au chocolat,” or the truly decadent “fondant au chocolat.” The fondant au chocolat is a real pleasure – less dense than a brownie, the fluffy dough melts in your mouth and hits you with wave after wave of its chocolate taste. You also can’t forget to try a delicious pastry called “éclair,” consisting of cream puff dough filled with chocolate or coffee-flavoured custard. You won’t be disappointed.
Despite the abundance of chocolate and cream-stuffed goodies, bakeries also offer a large selection of lighter products. So, when you are not in the mood to eat a heavy brownie, the “flan” (vanilla-custard cake) is a must-try, along with delicious fruit cakes, the most traditional of which is the apple pie. French have created many variants of apple pies, including the most common one called “tarte aux pommes,” to the more special varieties of “tarte Tatin”.
The well-reputed Eric Kayser
Even if it is true that almost all of the bakeries in Paris offer good homemade products, there are some whose quality is exceptional. Here is a list of the best bakeries that you have to test.
If you’re walking through the 5th or 6th arrondissement, you have to visit the well-reputed bakery called “La Maison Eric Kayser,” situated at 8 rue Monge. Their shop window will attract your attention at a first glance. So, go inside and buy their special cake called “tarte Monge.” The crunchy thin dough that alternates with light cottage cheese filling and is topped with a mix of berries is a pure pleasure for your senses. You also have to try one of their special breads. Actually, the bakery even exports it to the US and Asia - that is real proof of its high quality and reputation. I strongly recommend you try the buckwheat baguette called “ baguette Pâline,” which is a nice alternative to the simple and ordinary baguette. Eric Kayser has even more boutiques in Paris and they are all listed on its webpage.
Bakeries in "le Marais"
The Marais district hides an enormous number of great bakeries. Try the one called “Au petit Versailles du Marais” situated on 1 rue Tiron, or go to “Boulangerie Heurtier” at 2 rue de la Verrerie. “Boulangerie Heurtier” offers the possibility to sit down for a small coffee, good breakfast or copious brunch. Additionally, the boutique offers a delicious chocolate and lemon cake and a huge variety of breads (try the one with turmeric and almonds) and salads. Pick one from their large menu and buy their flan for a dessert. I haven’t eaten better yet! The bakery is closed every Monday, but don’t worry, there is a smaller boutique just around the corner, at the “rue Vieille du Temple,” that will welcome you.
If you’re near the Bastille you can’t miss a tiny bakery called “Boulangerie Saint-Antoine.” You may not notice it at first, as it looks very discreet, but I assure you that it is the best one in the area. Their sandwiches are a must-try. They offer a huge variety– from the traditional sandwiches with butter, cheese, and ham, through the vegetable ones with mozzarella or grilled eggplant, to the most special ones with chicken breast seasoned with old fashioned mustard (“poulet-moutarde à l’ancienne”). All of the sandwiches are large enough to satisfy even the most hungry and are prepared with their delicious homemade baguette that is fluffy inside and crunchy on the top. Best Parisian-style lunch ever! The menus consisting of one sandwich and one dessert are for 4.50 or 5.50 EUR (from 5 to 6 USD). The bakery is closed on Wednesdays.
Dominique Saibron - the one at Alesia
To finish, it is obligatory to mention one exceptional bakery situated in the 14th arrondissement, just next to the metro station Alesia. It is called “Dominique Saibron” and is situated at 77 avenue Genéral Leclerc. This bakery is the only one in Paris that offers an original rye-baguette sandwich with salmon. You won’t find it anywhere else and it is really worth trying. The boutique offers also a large variety of traditional savory cakes (“quiches” and “tourtes”) as well as delicious desserts. If you dream of having the traditional French breakfast, this bakery is the best place to go. Breakfast menus consisting of one hot drink, croissant or bread with butter, jam and fruit juice is 6 EUR (6.5 USD). The boutique is open from Tuesday to Sunday.
Sure, there are many more good bakeries and the best way to find your favourite is simply to keep trying and tasting them all. Not such a bad thing to do, right? So, don’t wait and dive into the richness of culinary art!
France is reputed all over the world for its culinary tradition. The tradition of fresh baked bread and a large number of pastries are worth further examination. This article aims to present you their richness. It’ll give you the tips for the best French pastries, as well as the best Parisian bakeries.
Maison Eric Kayser [http://www.maison-kayser.com]
Maison Dominique Saibron [http://www.dominique-saibron.com/]
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