One of the many highlights of our last trip was a visit to a working bakery which we booked through a company called Meeting the French. At the time we visited what was the oldest working bakery in Paris, Boulangerie Esnault, 51 rue de Richelieu, 75001. It was celebrating 200 years of business. Sadly it has now closed it's doors due to rising rents.
It was a great experience. Meeting the French sent along a translator so that we tourists all understood what was being said. It was great to see the bakery cat wander through looking nonplussed in the way of all cats, wonderful that a bakery cat is even allowed, I'm sure it wouldn't be here.
It was a fascinating glimpse into the world of two French staples. Baguettes and croissants. We learnt that boulangeries are quite regulated in France. Their days off are mandated so that all the bakeries in a certain area are not closed on the same day. Their holiday periods are assigned to ensure that the people have access to bread. The ingredients of a baguette are controlled. The French take their bread very seriously, and rightly so.
We watched the process of making baguettes, and got some hands on action too.
We learnt how to roll croissants, and that the shape is also an indicator of ingredients. Butter croissants traditionally are straight, while the crescent shaped croissants are generally made from margarine.
Meeting the French still run a boulangerie tour at another bakery, and a range of great other tours. Perhaps we'll do another tour this trip? I hope so. It was a fascinating insight into French culture and food.
Saturday Snapshot is a wonderful weekly meme now hosted by Melinda at West Metro Mommy