Pain Auvergnate

Wandering the streets of Paris, I feel fortunate when I stumble across a great boulangerie. In a city with 1263 bakeries (at last count) many of them are good, a few great, and some are disappointingly ordinary.
So when I come one that looks, and smells, like it’s gonna be a great one, I hurry inside.

painauvergnateparis.jpg

Located on a plain, fairly-deserted side street in the vast 15th arrondissement, my nose filled with the unmistakable scent of yeast and wheat mingling in the air, tinged with an obligatory bit of butter, which I could smell from the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.Traversing the street (which is always a dangerous proposition, since no one seems to have told Parisian drivers that when you see a pedestrian, you’re supposed to slow down, not speed up) I joined the line of hungry Parisians queuing up for their daily bread.

While I waited, I craned my neck to look at their beautiful breads on display. In Paris, once it’s you’re turn in line, if you haven’t figured out what you want, you’re messing up the whole system, since indecision is not a Parisian trait. But I honed in immediately on this pain Auvergnate, a dense, dark loaf dusted heavily with flour. Sliced open, the dense mie, or crumb, smelled rich, sour and medieval. I would imagine it going well with a full-flavored mountain cheese, like Comté or Cantal, or a tangy, fresh goat cheese with a dribble of dark chestnut honey.

I also bought several palets Breton, crumbly butter cookies, a specialty of Brittany where butter rules…especially butter flecked with fleur de sel. Unfortunately I made a stop to visit a local chocolatier, who helped himself to my stash. And before I knew it, they were gone and I had nothing but a bag of crumbs (which, by the way, were rather good.)

Luckily, he made up for it in spades, which I’ll write about soon.

Le Quartier du Pain
Boulangerie Artisanale
74, rue St. Charles
Tel: 01 45 78 87 23

(other location)
270, rue Vaugirard
Tel: 01 48 28 78 42

11 comments

  • The one on Vaugirard is right near Le Cordon Bleu, and we used to get good sandwiches from there for lunch. Try the roasted pork, potato, and mustard on cheese bread- amazing!

  • David you are killing me. I have a nice piece of Comte in the fridge, but not the bakery to go with it.
    Bisous
    sam

  • Yummm…Your pictures make me want to hop a flight to CDG this instant for bread. Unfortunately, I would arrive on a Monday, and any of my favorite bakeries would be closed! Your new camera was a good purchase — great shots!

  • Sam: Get thee to Della Fattoria!

  • I bought a couple loaves from the Vaugirard shop while I was living in Paris this April. Absolutely lovely place!

  • Please? take me? :)

  • Bake your own? That’s Frederic Lalo’s place, mentioned by Dan Lepards bread site!

    Jeremy

  • Oh how I miss quality bread here in CA. I would give anything to have a fresh piece of bread from Le Quartier du Pain!

  • Sam: In San Francisco, I couldn’t get the time of day. When I moved to Paris, the propostions and proposals started cascading in. What’s a boy to do? But the questions lingers…is it me they’re after, or the chocolate?

    Della Fattoria makes an AMAZING whole grain bread with pumpkin seeds. Although I haven’t tried it with Comté, it was pretty darn incredible with butter and honey for breakfast.

    Matt: We are so there!

    Dianka: You have La Brea bakery bread, oui?

    Jeremy: I don’t make my own bread since I can’t get it as good as les boulangeries make it. And since it’s been in the 90’s here, the idea of baking bread is less appealing than buying it.

    Paul: Glad you like the photos. Lots of good bakeries are open in Paris on Mondays; Kayser, Poilane, 140….get thee to the airport!

    Christine: I love the idea of after cooking in school all day, you picking up a sandwich. Ah, the life of a professional chef. Work, work, and more work, with no time to eat anything. How I miss it…not!
    …and Paige: I’ll have to stop in that one next time I’m over at Pierre Hermé!

  • Yeah baking in the 90’s is tough, but if your a fanatic like me you get over it! We fortunatley are having a real spring!

    Jeremy

  • I recommend Moisan’s Bougnat (synonymous with Auvergnat). One of their best…and organic.
    In the 15th: métro Avenue Emile Zola.
    Or straight ahead coming out of the lower end of rue Mouffetard (where a champion of the world of pastry recently started selling very good cakes: Pascal Caffet; click my name to find out more!).
    Or in most Monoprix.