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Bread-Who Loves Ya Baby ?

Admittingly having too much time on my hands, l tried to figure out my favorite food group. It easily came down to bread, wine, and cheese, but then I surprised myself by picking bread as my number one.

Granted this category applies in the 70+ countries l have visited only to New York City, and most definitely to Paris. Here the number of bakeries for bread is staggering. One of the problems is the bakers change, the owners change, they get bought out, l change my standards, and a lot of other variables as well. Thus it seems my favs change almost yearly. l sort of like this as new quests make the visits even more enjoyable. The trip to the baguette winner a few years back on Rue Tristan Tzara in a driving rainstorm proves the point.

Right now my favorite piece of bread in the city that l have tried comes from Rodolphe Landemaine's bakery on Rue Roquette at the Voltaire metro stop. They list the loaf as 'Pain Voltaire' and it appears as a small pocketbook sized very, very dark exterior loaf which would cause significant damage if it came in contact with your skull and also has mostly holes in the interior. This is delightful as it is only two blocks from my flat. In addition my second favorite piece of Parisian bread is also there, their fougasse. looks like and has the texture of a malignant bagel. There are two other branches of Landemaine in the city, l assume they have the same loaf. Third prize is a tie between the ficelle at Grenier du Pain on Rue Abbesses in the 18th and the Le pain des Amis from Du Pain and Des Idees on Rue Yves Toudic in the 10th.

OK, there is my contribution, please add yours

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  1. Am also spoiled by the Pain des Martyrs from Landemaine rue des Martyrs and the ficelle from Grenier du Pain on Rue Abbesses, both up the street from chez moi. Let's get the Pain Martyrs tomorrow for our seafood orgy.
    Off topic: We wandered into one of DCM's fave bakeries, that no one on earth talks about: Daniel Dupuy on rue Cadet, and tasted our fave croissant au beurre and pain au chcolat. Ever.

    1. And so... I read this after I get back from staying two blocks from said bakery?!?!...Argh!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: sistereurope

        The vanilla croissant at Cafe Pouchkine is to die for. Not technically bread, but still amazing. Fantastic baguette from Granier du Pain in the 15th. Hot out of the oven every hour or so. Amazing.

      2. Gontran Cherrier's Baguette Noir has taken the prize as my favourite bread, possibly ever. The texture is mind-boggling, and the smattering of nigella seeds provided a nice contrast. Gosh, I'm having withdrawal symptoms.

        3 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            If you're heading out that way, might as well pick up his pain au seigle et miso rouge, which I thought was also pretty darn great.

            1. re: karina_h

              Great thread I loved Eric Kaizer's last trip brough a giaint ziplock and grabbed 12 loves just as he opened put loves in the ziplock (still warm so bread softened a bit) boxed it
              and check a baggage. Reheated great..


        1. l know things change here dramatically breadwise and quickly, but this is really ridiculous. My two favs at Landemaine have dramatically changed in the last two weeks. The fougasse is now half the size at a slightly reduced price thus the chew is entirely different, almost crunchy, not bad but no longer worth the trip. The 'Pain Voltaire' l raved about seems to be now baked at a lower temp for less time as a result the exterior no longer shatters when cut and the inside instead of being holey is now almost moist and dense, damn it, the search resumes.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Still stand by Du Pain et des Idees. Tried Poilane this past trip and was really disappointed..

            1. re: sistereurope

              Poilane tried earlier this month, was an old fan. Bread now seems to have far more white flour in recipe so bread is 'flabby' and uninteresting.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Poilâne dries very quickly for a levain bread, which I always found strange.

                I am definitely not a fan of Arnaud Delmontel or of Gontran Cherrier, though he's a very nice fellow.

                My favorite breads in Paris are Eric Kayser (but only on rue Monge), Grégoire (rue Monge), Dominique Saibron (place d'Alésia), Du Pain et des Idées, and the boulanger on corner boulevard Blanqui and rue Barrault.

                I am generally not a fan of the over-chewy baguette de tradition française, which is anything but traditional (created circa 1995), but Kayser's original version of the genre is very nice. Also a baguette should be crispy (even when based on slow fermentation), which the modern "baguette tradition" rarely achieves. So they explain it by saying that chewiness is a basic feature of a true baguette and they think that makes it OK.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  That is Bosson on Bd Blanqui and agree he is good for some things, his 'crumble' is awesome. Any suggestions for place with crust that can remove fillings when chewed?

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Have you tried the breads from Veronique Mauclerc in the 19th?

                    1. re: Nancy S.

                      Cute little shop near the Laumiere metro, been a few times and the bread is just not my style, some pastry was though. Thanks for the thought.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        We had a tour of the bakery and met the baker. I liked the levain. Also, we were told that they don't make the pastries or croissants in house.

                    2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      Well, his pain de seigle auvergnat is likely to remove all of them.

                2. re: sistereurope

                  I had a memorable "Pain des Amis" at Du Pain et des Idees the last time I was in Paris - really fantastic. Their chocolate croissants left something to be desired, though.

              2. Where are your thoughts guys, thought l would have 300 posts by now. After reading Paris-by-Mouth's mention of Cherrier's chocolate and honey tart, thought it was time for a walk through the eighteenth for a few baguettes. First stopped at Mauvieux the 2012 winner of Paris best baguette then to the afforementioned Cherrier for the chocolate, honey, and walnut tart and his interesting baguette noir suggested by Karina_h on this thread, and stopping on Rue Abbesses for Grenier's ficelle, my all time favorite. Got everything back to the flat, let the Bordier come close to room temp. Here are MY opinions, not what is best, MY opinions. The ficelle still blew everything away, l have tried every finalist in the contest every year plus many more and that is my fav, hands down. Mauvieux was fine but lacked the essential chew l seek. The surprise was the black baguette, looked like it was made out of tar yet had a great chew and was a very worthy product. Would be neat to bring as a gift to a dinner where it would get lots of odd looks. As to the tart, very well-made but too sweet for me, too much chocolate in relation to the amount of walnuts, caramel in place of some chocolate would make me happier.
                Come on let's get more opinions out there, please

                10 Replies
                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  DCM, re Genier, I'm sure this has been addressed before, but do you get the same product at each outlet or is the ficelle better at the Abbesses location?

                  1. re: mangeur

                    It seems all their products vary at different locations, as well as some locations do not even carry the same products. l go to four different Le Grenier a Pain. My neighborhood across the street from Place Aligre has a decent kouign amann, the one on Bd Italie has a decent ficelle, and the one on the street leading to Marche St Quentin from Gare de L'Est, doesn't even have those products. But the one on Rue Abbesses, as difficult it is for me to get there ( three metro lines and a walk ) still is consistently perfect, kouign only on weekends.
                    Every time l go to an establishment l love, l go with trepidation as they always change, this spot does not change. l probably have just jinxed myself by mentioning this.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      Well, I hope it continues, because I have it on my short list for October!

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        I have a request, I use to looove the little pain au lait sandwich I use to found years ago in the 8eme... I will cross town if necessary, usually when I stop in Paris I am staying in Pont Louis. Many thanks!!

                        1. re: Ninisix

                          The 8e is a big place... Where was that?

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            In the rue Marboeuf, the Boulangerie was on a corner, and has closed !!  The 'pain au lait sandwich' was like a miniature hand size ham and cheese sandwich, classic and true simple taste ! I just can't forget about it !!

                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Glad to hear you liked the baguette noir! My husband and I had a little picnic at Place Dalida, just ripping off the baguette noir little by little, and it certainly got its fair share off odd looks from the people walking past. My husband said it reminded him of Venom from Spiderman.

                    I wish I could give you more recs. The only other bread that made an impression was the rolls we had at Spring, which a staff member informed me was sourced from Boulangerie Julien just down the road from them on Rue St Honore. However, it was also the first decent thing we ate after a 30+hour flight from Australia, so my tastebuds were probably not to be trusted.

                    1. re: karina_h

                      Julien on St Honore still makes my baguette of choice.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Gosselin on r. St. Honore has been my baguette of choice. I will compare with Julien.

                        1. re: Nancy S.

                          Different styles, Julien is chewy, Gosselin is far puffier and more gentle.

                  3. Apparently the 'experiment' with the smaller fougasse at Landemaine has ended and they are back to the old, simply wonderful one, only on weekends.