In many places in the world — for sure, in the United States — bread, cakes and pastries have become purchases routinely made at supermarkets. Certainly, bakeries are still around in cities such as New York, but they’re becoming a dying breed, and even in the Big Apple bread is commonly bought along with other groceries.
Here in Paris the idea of buying such items in the Carrefour, Monoprix or Supermarche is considered a major faux pas. So much so that it would cause a Parisians’ hair to stand on end.
Le pain (bread) and pastries are serious business in Paris. They are purchases reserved for La Boulangerie. So much so that people go to their local bakeries every morning for their daily bread. Staying in the Port D’Auteuil neighborhood — a well-to-do conclave in the 16th Arrondissement near Roland Garros — it’s the norm to find residents patiently lined up outside their bakeries as they were Sunday morning at the Boulanger Patissier.
Part of the pleasure of traveling whether for business or vacation is to immerse oneself in the local culture. So every day on my walk to work at Roland Garros I stop by one of the bakeries. Let’s just say that no matter where your eye darts everything once insde looks mouthwatering delicious.
On Sunday, I decided to skip the croissant — croissant almande (almond) is a favorite — or baguette and selected a miniature quiche poireau (leek) and a brioche le pain. They might call it a brioche le pain here, but in New York it would be called a Challah, which is what it looks and tastes like.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’m choosing to disregard the caloric intake from my daily visits to La Boulangerie for these three weeks.