It's not every day that you get invited to spend an afternoon sitting in a small room overlooking the Seine with an MOF or two, the president of la Chambre professionnelle des artisans boulangers-pâtissiers de Paris, a delightful fromagère, Djibril Bodian, the winner of last year's Best Baguette in Paris competition and, most importantly, two long tables lined with baguettes. 155 baguettes to be exact. To be tasted by only 15 of us.
A seemingly endless and daunting task, yet it was taken very seriously. We inspected, sniffed, poked, prodded, chewed and tasted 71 baguettes each over the course of the afternoon. The tasting wrapped up around 6:45pm, the final numbers were tallied up and the winner was called just after 7pm.
Then the bottles of Champagne came out, I'm sure with the goal to both toast us for our efforts and to get the flavor of bread out of our mouths.
As I mentioned in my most recent post, the jury is made up of mainly industry professionals and journalists, with a few members of the general public who, in the past, were chosen by an email lottery. This year they used Instagram as a means to choose those lucky few. When I received the message on my Instagram photo that I had been selected to join the jury, I had to read it twice before the news sunk in. I was thrilled!
I'm not sure how many calories I consumed over the 4+ hours of tasting, but they were worth every bite, even though I don't know when I'll be able to face eating another baguette again. And even though I am now and forever a hopeless baguette snob.
I cannot thank the Mayor's office and the city of Paris enough for such an amazing opportunity.
Here's the entire list of the Top Ten Baguettes of 2016 and Paris by Mouth has them all mapped out for us.
Ferrandi and Corinne Fouchereau, owner of la Fromagerie d’Auteuil, receiving instructions about the judging process.