March 20, 2016

Judging The Best Baguette In Paris Competition

Best Baguette of Paris

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.

Best Baguette of Paris Contest
Best Baguette or Paris Contest
Baguettes, as far as the eye can see!

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.

Best Baguette or Paris Contest
MOF Benoît Nicolas of Ferrandi and Corinne Fouchereau, owner of la Fromagerie d’Auteuil, receiving instructions about the judging process.

Best Baguette of Paris 2016
A perfect, well aerated, cream colored interior .

Best Baguette in Paris Competition 2016
These baguettes made it through the first round of tasting. They were then tasted a second and a third time before the final numbers were added up.

Best Baguette or Paris Contest
The 74 that were eliminated from the competition for not meeting the weight and measurement standards of a baguette de tradition. (between 55-65cm and 250-300g)

Best Baguette of Paris 2016
Olivia Polski from the Mayor's office, on the phone with this year's winner, with Djibril Bodian, the winner from 2015, and Dominique Antract looking on.

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