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Brief Opnionated Boulangerie Report

Again this is my opinion, l like bread that if it hits your head you get a concussion. l have been back in Paris for @ a week.
l have found over time that the bread situation changes here very rapidly. Some places open and are awesome then they get larger in that they have many branches and they sometimes are great and sometimes just suck. Other new ones open and they rock in the beginning.

Here are some of the ones l have purchased from.

Landemaine-
A major disappointment, since the franchise has been expanding and expanding the breads are cooked less and less so that now the Pain Voltaire or whatever that when cut used to cover your kitchen with crisp shards of blackened crust now just squish under the knife and interior are moist and textureless.
Their bread pudding-like pain au raisin is still perfect.Used to be my go-to

Kayser-
Their miche is now baby food, soft and almost has no discernible crust. Even when baked at home for 10-15 minutes the crust is still useless.

Pain d'Alex Boulangerie Berthollet-
From where l stay a real PITA to get to but so worth the trip. Bought three breads, a miche, a baguette traditional, and a batard. All were very different and all were perfect for me. Might be the fave bakery so far. Please don't change a thing.

Pains et Gourmandises-
not my style of bread, sort of whole grain stuff, crust dense but not chewy, like healthy bread in states. OTOH their walnut loaf small and heavy is wonderful.

Du Pains et Des Idees-
Still a perfectly awesome loaf of bread. Their pain d'ami has not changed in any way. Crust is like a castle wall and interior a little soft but still great texture. Only downside is the cost, at @ 10 euros/kg may be the most expensive bread in the city.

Le Pain au Grenier-
Varies greatly dependant on location.
/Ave d'Italie has changed to the bad completely. Staff very helpful but the three items l tried were a bite and trashed. Even changed their brilliant kouign amann, now very not brilliant.
/Gare de Nord-Always terrible and still is, no change.
/Fauberg-St Antoine-Bread OK, Kouign amann the same as the good ones
/Rue Abbesses-This is still the bomb, their kouign amann is perfect , their ficelle may be my fave bread in city, they carry the full line of La Cour De Orgeres confiture which is my take home brand and at better prices than Au bon Marche.

That is it for now, more later.

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  1. Thank you DLC. This is very helpful for my upcoming May trip. I liked Kayser very much but I suppose growing pains and all of that. Berthollet sounds like a place to go.

    My apartment is on R. Portefoin on the 3rd near R. de Bretagne a new area to me. Any boulangeurs of note nearby?
    Thanks

    1. At 28 Bd Voltaire just east of West of Oberkampf is Gaia, which is new but thought was decent on last visit in November.

      1 Reply
      1. Seconding the Grenier à Pain on Rue des Abbesses, et oui, the ficelle.
        I have not been to the other Landemaine, but the one on my street - rue des Martyrs, are you reading, Kelly? - is still god-damn good. You will taste it when it is served at our Abri lunch.
        All the bakers and pastry chefs that a friend and I interviewed for a reportage on breads and croissants agree with you and champion the well-baked bread. The Meilleure Baguette winner of last year - in the 14th, whose name I just forgot - even makes one special baguette that is deliberately slightly overbaked, and it is mighty popular. Another winner spilled the beans that the former president also preferred it that way.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Parigi

          I am reading. :o) The one type of bread I do find disappointing at Landemaine, even on rue des Martyrs, is anything that's "flavoured" (pain au noix, pain au chorizo, etc.). But very much enjoyed their baguette, pain au chocolat, couque Suisse--with a special mention for their tartelette aux pommes (off-topic, I know, but second only to Poilane's in my experience to date). You're one lucky hound, Parigi.

          1. re: Kelly

            If when at Poilane, regardless of branch, one asks for 'tres bien cuit' when ordering you will get a crust that is indeed a lethal weapon.

          2. re: Parigi

            I believe you may be thinking of Frederic Lalos, who sells through about 4 different branches of "Quartier. . . . ?"
            His card was given to me as the purveyor to Guy Savoy.

            1. re: ScottnZelda

              No, it was Ridha Khadher, and he has only one boulangerie, no branches.
              Au Paradis du Gourmand, 156 Rue Raymond Losserand, 75014
              He actually was the winner of 2013, sorriest.

              http://parisbymouth.com/2013-best-bag...

              1. re: Parigi

                Maybe he had a bad day, but APduG did not blow wind up my skirt

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  "APduG did not blow wind up my skirt"
                  As in Marilyn Monroe? Ohh la.

          3. Great research - sorry about the misses - and thanks for sharing your opinions. Our bread tastes sound similar (and I'm a metro girl, too, ha ha.)

            Glad to hear the Abbesses Le Grenier à Pain is still up there. It was one of our favorites when we stayed in that neighborhood a couple trips ago.

            Inconsistency just makes me nuts (although I understand why and how it happens) when it comes to food.

            1. But DCM how can this be - we can't name the best if they keep changing, how will we produce an accurate list - "The horror! The horror!"

              Although seriously it's sad how great bakers can't seem to expand and keep the original quality up. Poilane is another example of a bread I loved but IMO seems to have lost its qualities as it's availability grew.

              I live in Hong Kong and we have Kayser branches, it's far better than most (but IMO not as good as the bread in a Paris) but still benefits from a blast in the oven when I get it home. Still far better to have something rather than nothing.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PhilD

                We were staying off Avenue de la Republique and much liked the breads, et. al at Phillipe Marache.

                1. re: mitchleeny

                  Ha, it was my lunch boulangerie for years when I used to work there...
                  Not worth taking the metro for, but definitely the best (sorry) boulangerie around (in the immediate surroundings).
                  Their tarte au citron meringué is very classical but very well made.

              2. You might enjoy Pichard on the rue Cambronne. Their croissants are award winning as is their bread..

                1 Reply
                1. re: pammi

                  Pichard has always been excellent, agreed.

                2. Finally made it to Landemaine on Rue Martyr today after lunch.
                  Yay, it is still awesome, their pain Martyr crust is now all over my kitchen floor as when cut, the loaf almost explodes.
                  It is as good as it ever was, now have to travel to a branch of the bakery a few miles away, where a crappy branch is 50 meters away and ignored by me.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Remnd me to bring you some bread next time we pig out together.
                    The new Marshall Plan.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      And now that they've stooped to set up shop at Jules Joffrin, we're doing just fine.

                    2. Just returned to an old fave, Boulangerie Julien on Rue St Honore near Les Halles.
                      Always a success for their baguette, nothing has changed, their ficelle is a demi of the baguette and identical but shorter.