PAMPERING THE PALATE
If you travel to Paris be advised, leave your diet at home. Every street, every narrow alley it seems, has a boulangerie or a pâtisserie with a window full of glorious gateaux, beautiful baguettes and other mouth watering tempting treats. Not to indulge in these feasts is unthinkable.
A pâtisserie is a legally controlled title that may only be used by bakeries that employ a licensed maître pâtissier (a master pastry chef). He has a long apprenticeship behind him and has passed a master’s written exam along with an evaluation of his skill in pastry making. An artisan boulangerie makes and bakes its bread and other baked goods on the premises. In France there are more than 34,200 artisans boulangers who bake some 70% of the total amount of bread consumed. All told there are more than 35,000 boulangeries in the country; that’s one bakery per 1,800 people. Unfortunately this number has been in decline for a while. In 1970, there were more than 45,000 boulangeries. 32 million baguettes are eaten daily in France and 3.7 million tons of bread are consumed every year.
I have no idea how many boulangeries or pâtisseries there are in Paris, but they probably number in the hundreds if not at least a thousand. Just make sure you take the time to enjoy some of them when you visit. Once you return home you can get back to that diet…
Photos taken in Paris in November 2007.
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