April 21, 2016

Le Sauvaget

Sauvaget

Let's talk about mold.

When it comes to food, mold is a major turn off. But when it comes to cheese, it has a purpose. Mold* imparts flavor and gives cheese its texture, its tang, its aroma and its ability to ooze across a plate, among other things.

Roquefort is the example that immediately springs to mind. Mold, specifically the penicillium roqueforti strain that makes up those delicious veins of blue in this cheese, is what gives Roquefort its raison d'être.

On that note, I would like to introduce you to a delightful little moldy goat's cheese from the Deux-Sèvres department called le Sauvaget.

Le Sauvaget

There is the obvious appearance of a bluish-gray mold on its surface, which is a wonderful thing. This mold means flavor!
Le Sauvaget is earthy, grassy, somewhat sour, salty and lactic. Its texture is dense, crumbly and coats your mouth with rich, fromage de chèvre deliciousness.
Goat cheese season is upon us, so enjoy this one while you can!

A crisp, mineral white wine such as a Sancerre would be a wonderful match with this cheese.




*If it's a soft cheese like brocciu or ricotta and you discover that a fuzzy alien has dropped in and set up home among those soft, white curds, then I would definitely recommend tossing it in the trash. Those are not the molds you want to know!



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March 30, 2016

5 Things

Paris

1) Curves


Sunday Rollerbladers

2) Sunday rollerblading


French fromage

3) The country comes to the city


Paris

4) Wandering through the passages


Flying Pig Pile Up

5) Trying to fly



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March 20, 2016

Judging The Best Baguette In Paris Competition

Best Baguette of Paris

It's not every day that you get invited to spend an afternoon sitting in a small room overlooking the Seine with an MOF or two, the president of la Chambre professionnelle des artisans boulangers-pâtissiers de Paris, a delightful fromagère, Djibril Bodian, the winner of last year's Best Baguette in Paris competition and, most importantly, two long tables lined with baguettes. 155 baguettes to be exact. To be tasted by only 15 of us.

A seemingly endless and daunting task, yet it was taken very seriously. We inspected, sniffed, poked, prodded, chewed and tasted 71 baguettes each over the course of the afternoon. The tasting wrapped up around 6:45pm, the final numbers were tallied up and the winner was called just after 7pm.

Then the bottles of Champagne came out, I'm sure with the goal to both toast us for our efforts and to get the flavor of bread out of our mouths.

Best Baguette of Paris Contest
Best Baguette or Paris Contest
Baguettes, as far as the eye can see!

As I mentioned in my most recent post, the jury is made up of mainly industry professionals and journalists, with a few members of the general public who, in the past, were chosen by an email lottery. This year they used Instagram as a means to choose those lucky few. When I received the message on my Instagram photo that I had been selected to join the jury, I had to read it twice before the news sunk in. I was thrilled!

I'm not sure how many calories I consumed over the 4+ hours of tasting, but they were worth every bite, even though I don't know when I'll be able to face eating another baguette again. And even though I am now and forever a hopeless baguette snob.
Yikes!

I cannot thank the Mayor's office and the city of Paris enough for such an amazing opportunity.


Here's the entire list of the Top Ten Baguettes of 2016 and Paris by Mouth has them all mapped out for us.

Best Baguette or Paris Contest
MOF Benoît Nicolas of Ferrandi and Corinne Fouchereau, owner of la Fromagerie d’Auteuil, receiving instructions about the judging process.

Best Baguette of Paris 2016
A perfect, well aerated, cream colored interior .

Best Baguette in Paris Competition 2016
These baguettes made it through the first round of tasting. They were then tasted a second and a third time before the final numbers were added up.

Best Baguette or Paris Contest
The 74 that were eliminated from the competition for not meeting the weight and measurement standards of a baguette de tradition. (between 55-65cm and 250-300g)

Best Baguette of Paris 2016
Olivia Polski from the Mayor's office, on the phone with this year's winner, with Djibril Bodian, the winner from 2015, and Dominique Antract looking on.



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March 17, 2016

The 2016 Best Baguette In Paris

Bag of baguettes

This is the photo that got me through the door.

Every year, in addition to a handful of industry professionals, the Mayor of Paris chooses 6 members of the general public to sit on the jury of le Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris or the Best Baguette in Paris competition.
For the last couple of years, with fingers crossed, I (along with I'm sure thousands of others) submitted my email to the lottery, but with no success.

This year the Mayor decided to use Instagram as a way to select the lucky 6.
Two weeks ago they put the word out, asking the public to post a photo of their favorite boulangerie, baker or baguette with the hashtag #MeilleureBaguetteDeParis.
I guess someone at the Mayor's office liked my photo, because last Monday I received this comment"Bonjour, vous avez été sélectionnée pour participer au jury qui élira la #MeilleureBaguetteDeParis. Félicitations :) Le jury aura lieu le jeudi 17 mars à 14h."

I was ecstatic, to say the least!

Heading to dinner with @eatlivtravwrite and @monicashaw. Baguette in hand. #paris

This afternoon I had the honor of sitting in a room with like-minded bread enthusiasts, surrounded by piles of golden, chewy baguettes, where we spent several hours judging each loaf on texture, baking, appearance, aroma and of course, flavor.

I'll tell you all about my experience as a judge later, but for now, without further ado, the winner of the 2016 Best Baguette in Paris award is the Boulangerie La Parisienne at 48 rue Madame, 75006. Congratulations to bakers Mickaël Reydellet and Florian Charles!


Paris' Top Baguettes for 2016

1) Mickaël Reydellet and Florian Charles of Boulangerie La Parisienne, 48 rue Madame, 75006

2) Alexandre Fraysse of Fournil de Lourmel, 121 Avenue Felix Faure, 75015

3) Franck Kouroughli of Le Grenier à Pain Saint-Amand, 33 bis Rue Saint-Amand, 75015

4) Alexandre Planchais of Boulangerie Alexine, 40 rue Lepic 75018

5) Anthony Bosson of Boulangerie l'Essentiel Blanqui, 73 boulevard Auguste Blanqui 75013

6) Nelly Julien of Doucers et Traditions, 85 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007

7) M. Hamada of La Flûte Enchantée, 104 rue du Faubourg St-Antoine, 75012

8) Sami Bouattour, 193 rue de Tolbiac 75013

9) Vincent Joly at Le Grenier à Pain Italie, 52 avenue d’Italie, 75013

10) Christian Vabret and Philippe Simoes at l'Académie du Pain, 30 Rue d'Alésia, 75014


Paris by Mouth has them all mapped out for us.



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March 13, 2016

Advice From Madame La Fromagère

French fromage

"Jamais dans le réfrigérateur!," la fromagère firmly stated as I was buying this wedge of Tome du Ramier at the Pari Fermier market today.
Concerned by that advice, I told her that our apartment was often quite warm. "Better it is kept too warm than too cold," she replied.

And as much as I would love to experiment with how long I could leave this cheese sitting out at room temperature before it starts to decompose, I highly doubt that it will be around long enough to find out!


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