French Crack

Man cannot live on bread alone, but I’m making a solid effort. The croissant has become an extension of my hand. I imagine that in heaven there’s a bakery on every block, so I’d better be good until I arrive.

Scratch that, I’m in Paris where there’s 4 bakeries on every block, better than heaven. Gourmandising awaits.

Is it the soil or the variety of wheat that makes you want to cry when you hear the crackle of the crust? Is it the unique love and unparalleled talent that every master Boulanger kneads into the dough? Or does everything just taste better beneath the Eiffel Tower? I always try to catch a behind the scenes glimpse of the masters in action before it’s time to indulge. It’s like witnessing a miracle.

Boulangerie Thierry Meunier-15 rue de Belleville, 19th Paris

Paris is the only place you’ll see a blinding fashion statement riding a bicycle with a three-foot-long baguette strapped to their back. Rail-thin Parisians eat loaf after loaf, trekking from one boulangerie to the next, burning just enough calories to arrive and make another purchase. There are ample residents in la ville to support the multitude of artisanal shops without squeezing out the next guy. Every street is the mirror image of the street next door, a quilt of awesomeness. On and on, ad infinitum.

Once, when venturing out alone, I got lost two blocks away from l’appartement. My language skills are such that the locals can tell even my English is wanting. I thought about yelling “HELP!” in the street, but called my wife instead and threatened to turn myself in at the American embassy. She fetched me in about five minutes. We had lunch, with bread, which made everything quite alright.

My wife is sans gluten, gluten-free. So I’m on my own and I can’t seem to eat baked goods fast enough. I am disturbed by one peculiarity though, what’s the deal with the bag-ettes anyway, the half bags that expose the baguettes from the shoulders up? Are they trying to save a tree, or is it a conspiracy to get me to buy more bread after I throw away my stale half loaf? Maybe the bakers are just always surprised at the potency of the yeast. The bread is so cheap that my feeling of being taken advantage of is always short lived. There are thousands of boulangers in Paris with 189 being judged for best baguette, my neighbourhood boulanger placed in the top ten, congratulations to Monsieur Thierry Meunier. More bread, please!

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