Today is election day in France, and la République has the choice of re-electing the current President, or ushering in a new one. For people who usually have a lot of opinions, my French friends aren’t all that enthused about either one of the fellows. One is hoping to come into office, promising to represent Changement, and the other came into office five years ago, vowing changement, too. Sound familiar?
The polls opened at 8am and the only change I was feeling was in my pocket, as I roamed the streets looking for a baguette. However instead of the buttery, yeasty aromas wafting forth from my usual arsenal of boulangeries, none were open. It wasn’t because it was election day, it just happened that every one I hit had the shades down and the door shuttered closed for various reasons.
So I went home and a while later, struck out again, this time making a wider circumference than I did earlier in the morning, until I happened upon people walking down the street toting fresh baguettes, so I continued in that direction. Then I hit Le Grenier à Pain, where a small line had formed. So I joined it.
When it was my turn, I asked for a baguette. And a Kouign Amann, a pastry which has become somewhat trendy in Paris over the last year or so. Sometimes you find a good one – nicely caramelized, with bronzed crisp edges – and sometimes they’re underbaked and flabby. I’m not going to tell you which one I prefer, but none are quite as good as those in Brittany, although there are a few in Paris that are very close.
I’ve been doing some research for the next update of my Paris Pastry guidebook, so in the name of “research” I picked one up. And while this election day in France promises to be interesting, the results I’m just as interested in are the votes around here for this particular pastry. But from the looks of things, my change went toward a pretty good cause. And that’s the kind of change I can believe in.
Le Grenier à Pain
91, rue Faubourg Poissonière (9th)
Tél: 1 48 24 50 58
(Note: There are several branches of Le Grenier à Pain, each under different guidance, so the selection may differ at other bakeries.)