Is there anything more cliche, or indeed more Parisian, than the thought of a freshly baked baguette, still warm, just recently out of the oven? In fact, since the very beginning of my Year abroad, hardly a day has gone by when I haven’t popped down to my local boulangerie and picked up a fresh baguette (or two)! So, that’s probably why I was so excited when I found out about the bread festival in Paris!
A Brief History of the Baguette
The word baguette actually comes from the Italian word ‘bacchetta‘ and just means ‘baton’ or ‘wand’. In fact, in French, the word ‘baguette‘ is used in a number of contexts. This includes (but is not limited to): chopsticks, magic wands, and drumsticks. The use of the word ‘baguette‘ to signify bread was not attested until the 1920s (although it could have been used for bread in spoken language well before this).
The shape of the baguette is actually determined by French law (!!!) and in France, you aren’t allowed to sell a bread product as a baguette unless it adheres to strict guidelines…
The Bread Festival In Paris
Considering that France is not only the land of love, but that it may well also be the capital of baguettes, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that the ‘fete du Pain’ (literally ‘bread festival’) is held annually in the Parvis de Notre Dame.
This year, the 21st annual bread festival in Paris was held during the last two weeks of May and I’m not ashamed to say that I atteded multiple times! With a national baguette competition, bread tasting, brioche and pretzel (called ‘bretzel’ in French) baking demonstrations and the opportunity to buy all manner of bread related products, it was the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon or two.
Held in a massive canvas pavilion, entry was free and as soon as you stepped into the large open space, you were greeted with the delicious scent of freshly baked bread and warmth from the constantly whirring multiple ovens. The atmosphere was friendly and it was incredible to see so many different products being produced and baked at the same time.
All in all, it was not only an interesting afternoon, but also a mouthwatering experience…
And finally, a pinnable image!