Two posts ago, I wrote about discovering the perfect book, which I found in a delightful book shop in London. Read my post: Persephone, A Novel Book Shop here http://twointhemiddle.com/2015/07/23/persephone-a-novel-bookshop/
Each year Paris holds a competition for the Best Baguette. Numerous bakers enter in hopes of having their baguette designated the Best Baguette. I loved learning about this year’s winner: Antonio Teixeira, who is only 24.
A total of 187 baguettes were submitted for a blind tasting, but 50 were rejected for not being the correct size (55-65cm) or weight (250g-300g). The loaves must not contain more than 18 grammes of salt per kilo of flour. Each is judged blind and marked on five criteria: appearance, crust, the bread inside the crust, the smell and the taste. The texture of a good baguette should be moist, very slightly chewy and with a hint of a nutty flavor.
Although Antonio is young, I think he has been baking since he was a young child. Here he is with his father, who won the same prize in 1998 (photo by Marie de Paris). Their bakery, Aux Délices Du Palais, is the only bakery that has received the award twice. Natalie and I couldn’t help observing how young both father and son look!
Antonio Teixeira starts work at 3am and produces about 1,500 baguettes a day. “We have our recipe, but the real secret is love for the job,” he said. “It is very hard work, and you have to be motivated, but we enjoy it and we do it for our customers. I know of boulangers who make a special dough just for their competition baguette, but we aim for excellence all the time. Winning this prize is great, but for us it is a confirmation of the quality we try to maintain.”
The winning baker gets to deliver 40 baguettes to the Elysée presidential palace every morning for a year. The stories that this inspires make me smile 40 smiles!
If you happen to be in Paris, you can
read eat the perfect book baguette at Aux Délices du Palais, 60, boulevard Brune (14th arrondissement). Metro: Porte d’Orléans or Vanves. If you have room in your bag, please ask Antonio to fold one in half so that you can bring it back to me 🙂 Then again, folding the perfect baguette in half might be as awful as breaking the spine of the perfect book — better not ask.
Today I am baking a loaf of soda bread. I hope it wins the scrumptiously delicious award at teatime in our kitchen nook.