Monday, May 17, 2010

La baguette canadienne

After work I did my grocery shopping, and treated myself to an Ace Bakery baguette. It's the closest you can get to the real thing, and it's very, very good. As I walked home with the baguette under my arm, I did something I haven't done in years, probably because I don't buy a daily baguette. I broke off some bread and ate it. Delicious. The crust was perfection and the inside was not too dense. A blast from the past ensued. I remembered walking to the bakery three minutes away from where my aunt lived in Pavillon-sous-Bois, just outside of Paris in Le Raincy, and buying the bread, sneaking in a chocolate truffle, and my aunt's preferred mineral water, always but always in glass bottles. She didn't like plastic. I remembered the daily 4 p.m. goûter (snack) of pain au chocolat, a chunk of baguette and a piece of dark chocolate (this is the origin of the croissant stuffed with chocolate). You pulled open the bread and inserted the chocolate, basically a chocolate sandwich. The thing about a true French baguette is that it's light and airy inside, full of air bubbles. So, if you're eating with me and you see me pulling out the meal from inside the bread before I eat it, that's where it comes from. It's a lifelong habit, a reflex.

Ace Bakery presentation at the Good Food Festival
Photo: Philippe Gaudet


  1. It is after midnight! I am very hungry and am craving a nice baguette, nice and airy, with a piece of chocolate inside.

    Hmmm...whatever will I do?


  2. Nothing beats the baguettes of Paris or France but we are so lucky in Toronto to have Ace Bakery .... they are so, so close. I've never seen anyone here in Paris eat pain au chocolate but now I will keep my eyes peeled for this. Great idea.

  3. I love how food can make us time travel to another time! Sounds like a wonderful memory, full of visual stimulation of the senses and
    fond food memories as well! Enjoy, your food
    flashback to the past!

  4. Delightful post. I lived one year in France on the 3rd floor of an old building. There was a family run bakery right next door, so I was there at least once every day. The fragrances wafting up were irresistible, the breads were wonderful, and it was fun to become so familiar to the couple that owned it. She scolded me for not covering my chest with a scarf on cold days, and he scolded me for wearing "trop de violet" on my eyes (it was the 80's and I wore a lot of purple eyeshadow).


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