Five Loaves Worth Crossing the Atlantic For

This month, Budget Travel features a short story on the best baguettes in Paris. While the idea is slightly goofy (is it possible for an observant person to buy a bad baguette in Paris?), the finalists are intriguing.

Like a guide to getting a killer slice of pizza in New York or a great bratwurst in Milwaukee, the story packs a certain duh factor—is it even possible to screw up this kind of mission?

Well, yes—of course it is. Mediocre food exists everywhere, even when high community standards for particular local favorites beat it into the shadowy underworld where it belongs.

Besides, the Budget Travel piece is less a celebration of the platonically ideal baguette than a broader survey of some of the more imaginative yet respectful efforts to bring bread into l’ère nouvelle.

One of the most intriguing is the Puissance Dix baguette from fancypants hotspot Bread & Roses:

Literally translated, the name means ‘the power of 10,’ a reference to the 10 flours—including chestnut, buckwheat, corn, and rye—incorporated into the dough.

But for my Euro, I’d take the Baguette Tzara at Au Duc de la Chapelle. It’s free of sourdough starter (resulting in a sweet flavor); made from dough that’s hand kneaded for a light, airy, moist texture; and surrounded by a slightly caramel-tasting crust. And it’s even named after one of the 20th century’s coolest dadaists.

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