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Bread Winner: Poilâne from Paris

April 4, 2010

Whether you’re celebrating Easter or Passover this weekend, bread plays a central role in your festivities.  While observing communion in church this morning, my mind began to wander towards the subject of bread in general and my favourite bread in particular: Poilâne.

Poilane is a round loaf of bread named after its bakery on the rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris.  The bakery is everything you expect a Parisian bakery to be: a beautiful small boutique of a place that proudly displays noble round loaves in its window below the beautiful cursive lettering of its signage.  Everything is bright, airy and refined.  Given that this is Paris, it is no surprise that they take their bread seriously here.  Each loaf is handmade using time-honored techniques, special wood-burning ovens and just four ingredients: water, flour, natural sea salt and yeast.  The bread, somewhere between sourdough and rye, is so delicious that it has attracted a worldwide fan club. Pierre Poilâne first opened his doors in 1932, and the company has since established a second location in Paris as well as one in London.  But never fear, if you are not in Paris or London you can still get your daily bread.

Poilâne is also flown all over the world.  I was first introduced to poilâne at Holts café in Montreal, one of my favorite destinations for Sunday brunch.  Holts receives fresh shipments of the bread three times a week for its delicious tartines.  The Tartinery in New York also makes all of their tartines (toasted open-faced sandwiches) on the Parisian pain. And now anyone can buy the bespoke bread from the bakery’s website and have it shipped straight to your doorstep.

Paris at your doorstep: that’s daily bread worthy of devotion.

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