Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Baguette to die for

When we head out on our day trips, we pack the picnic hamper with stuff to stuff in the bread, but the bread itself we buy in one of the villages on the way. This can be a pretty hit-and-miss affair. Village boulangeries can range from mediocre to not-bad to exceptional. Nope, unlike the rosy-eyed visions of people who have never been to France (me included, in the past), you don't get baguette-to-die-for in any old boulangerie around the corner. This country has its share of crummy bakeries. The really good ones are a closely held secret.

This weekend, on our trip to Mont-Gerbier-de-Jonc (see previous post), we had a hit. Passing through an ordinary-ish village called Saint-Agrève in the department of Ardèche, we stopped at this plain-looking boulangerie called 'l'art des choix'. It did not look very promising, but this was the first boulangerie that we had found open. This was a public holiday. The bread too did not look exceptional.
But when we stopped to picnic at the foot of Mont-Gerbier-de-Jonc ... HOOO BOY!!! Yup. With every bite of that bread, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. And I wasn't particularly hungry, and all I had stuffed into it was garlic mousse and fresh avocado. By the way, I have been in France long enough to be blasé about good bread. So when I say that stuff was good, you can take it from me it was something special.
Is it worth driving 500km just to eat this bread? Nope. That privilege belongs to the official "Best Bread in France" - see my post from 2014 on the village Cucugnan. But it is certainly worth making a small detour, if you happen to be in the region.

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