Meet the Baker post on my friend Marie-Christine Aractingi who recently opened a bakery in Marseille, France, but circumstances went against us. The Toussaint holiday weekend was around the corner and Marie had a hectic week. Both the lab and the shop were unusually busy and we couldn't do a proper interview. But the Man and I were in the city visiting friends who have two sons, age fifteen and nine. These kids have the proverbial growing boy appetite which means we brought home a lot of bread every time we stopped by...
Vieux Port and Palais du Pharo. and get a loaf or two. Your tastebuds will thank you. Plus you may meet la boulangère! If you do, please say hi! to her for me.
einkorn) for instance. Buy a loaf and cut yourself a slice (or rip off a chunk if you can't wait), close your eyes, bring it to your mouth and bite.
souvenirs or watched Jean de Florette or Manon des sources. I have had einkorn before but nothing that ever approached the flavor of this one, grown in a hardscrabble land where the sun is fierce and water elusive. The bread reminds me of pain d'épices (even though it contains no spices or sweetener) but mostly, it brings back the drives south in the summers of my childhood when the first clue that the grandes vacances (summer vacation) had indeed arrived was the scent of the maquis (the pervasive Mediterranean scrubland) drifting in through the open car windows. However you don't need blasts from the past to love Marie's petit-épeautre, the aforementioned boys couldn't get enough of it. I was impressed. Especially because the bread is whole-grain and they are raised mostly on baguettes. Of course it helps that, despite their tender age, they are both erstwhile gourmets with a devouring interest (pun intended!) in experiencing new tastes.
help from the media. Locals have started saying "tu" to Marie, to kiss her on both cheeks, to ask how she is doing. She is getting to know them, to remember who likes his or her baguette bien cuite (dark) and who deplores the crisp crust but still comes back for more. On Saturdays, some customers arrive in late afternoon and leave with armfuls of loaves, a sure sign they live in other boroughs or maybe in the suburbs and are stocking up for the week before heading home. She loves interacting with them all.
(a saffron farm) in nearby Aubagne. We visited her on a gorgeous Saturday morning (more about that in an upcoming post) and were delighted to see that the bread used in the tasting came from Dame Farine. Bread made with local grains, spread with locally-grown-saffron-infused jams: we were eating the landscape. It tasted marvelous.