Last week authorities in France announced that new rules, dating back to the French Revolution, are to be put in place in France’s capital, meaning Parisian bakers will be obliged to take their holiday during July or August, to ensure that Paris’ inhabitants have a constant supply of their much-loved baguettes and croissants.
This rather optimistic outlook on the state of France’s bakery industry is, however, undercut with the more sombre news that the French are buying less and less bread on average every year.
Statistics show that, today, the average Frenchman only eats half a baguette a day compared with almost a whole baguette in 1970 and more than three in 1900. Women, who are still the main shoppers in most families in France, eat a third less than men, and young people almost 30 percent less than a decade ago.
Concerned about the waning consumption of bread, Observatoire du Pain, the bakers’ and millers’ lobby, started a nationwide campaign called “Coucou, tu as pris le pain?” (“Hi there, have you picked up the bread?”) in June this year, which puts the loaf in the limelight for promoting good health, good conversation and French civilization.
The bread slogan has been plastered on billboards and inscribed on bread bags in 130 cities around the country.
Convinced that bread will never truly go out of fashion in France, Michelin star chef Serge Gouloumès from Le Mas Candille in the Cote d’Azur’s shared his opinions on the importance of bread with FOUR, along with a few tips on how to transform it from a lunch-time staple into a delicious accompaniment to breakfast and dinner, and anything in between:
For lunch, bread becomes a sandwich: Panini, baguette, club. With an appetising selection of different breads but, more importantly, a variety of fresh toppings (salads, vegetables, fruit, cheeses, cold meats, smoked fish). Bon Appétit!
At dinner bread is transformed, dressed up. It becomes a toasted crisp bread, a canapé, an hors d’oeuvre, a finger food, a delicate miniature grilled sandwich, a lacy crisp bread, a tuile, and yes, I’m talking about bread!
“In France, bread has evolved and become a staple food, an important presence at all meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, picnics, sandwiches, the Niçois pan-bagnat…
I adore the crispness of freshly baked bread, still hot from the oven in the morning, with just a little organic butter or jam.
It’s Bread with a capital B. Each year, the finest bakers are sought across the entire country and specially selected to supply the Elysée Palace – home of the President of the French Republic.
Let’s talk about ingredients: There’s regular flour, old-fashioned flour, organic flour, bread made with the addition of various grains and seeds for enrichment, gourmet bread, more easily digestible, dietary bread, bread with omega oils, high-fibre bread. The artisan baker holds a commanding position; customers no longer hesitate to travel a few extra miles to buy this essential food.
Everyone’s taste is different. We look for a crispness, a flavour, a soft and light crumb. Bread is like a cake. Each artisan has his/her creations, their own recipes. They rediscover traditional recipes of yesteryear.
Embellished with a cream sauce, a mousse, crunchy vegetables, tender salmon, caviar, Pata Negra ham, Iberian chorizo, beef Carpaccio with arugula and parmesan, a tartare of vegetables, quinoa, avocado guacamole and butterfly shrimp, hummus, salad méchouia…
Bread is King, it adorns the great tables of the world but also the most modest.
Bread is indispensable, so whatever you do, don’t forget the bread!”