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LMB

French Bread

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I would love to get some authentic French bread and goodies next week when a couple friends from Paris arrive in town.

Where do you recommend finding real French bread in Vancouver? What are the top French bakeries around town?

Any stores that you can recommend would be greatly appreciated!

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Personally, if I were to host someone from out of town (Paris), I would try to focus on what we do best, rather than what they do best (authentic French breads). This is my oblique way of saying that your guests might be disappointed, unless they are bread freaks and specifically want to see what our take is on French breads.

Sorry, I know this doesn't really answer your question. I would love to hear which bakeries are considered best for baguettes and so forth by my fellow Egulleters.


Edited by sanrensho (log)

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Personally, if I were to host someone from out of town (Paris), I would try to focus on what we do best, rather than what they do best (authentic French breads). This is my oblique way of saying that your guests might be disappointed, unless they are bread freaks and specifically want to see what our take is on French breads.

... I will definitely be showing them the best of what Vancouver has to offer locally, however, they are in the bakery business themselves, and would like to see what French shops are like here.

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... I will definitely be showing them the best of what Vancouver has to offer locally, however, they are in the bakery business themselves, and would like to see what French shops are like here.

I totaly understand, then. My SO has done her share of those (she used to work in the imported bread business).

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"Authentic French bread", not sure what you mean by this, but my fave places for bread and pastries are Marseilles Cafe on Cornwall and Yew (get takeout to enjoy at the beach), La Baguette at Granville Island, or La Petite France on Arbutus and 10th, 11th???

It would be interesting to hear what your friends had to say about these places. Hope you enjoy them.

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Not to get too far ahead of the discussion, but I would love to hear what your guests have to say about their impressions of our best French bakeries.

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I'll second La Baguette, and would throw the baguettes at Mix into the ... er ... mix.

A.

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well, since we're talking about french bread... And since i'm french and love my bread, i can tell you one thing. No bakery in Van comes close to a really nice baguette or loaf one would find in France. So maybe LMB focus on local specialties and ingredients, as well as on ethnic food?... Good Japanese restaurants in France are very pricey, and really good chinese are rare, and likely not on par with Vancouver's best.

As for the bread, the best tasting bread i've had in BC was at WILDFIRE in Victoria. Nothing else matches. But if you oughta find good bread, give Chris Brown (Rise Bakery, Trout Lake on saturdays) a try. He's not cheap, but it's a pretty good product.

My guess is that the bread here is not allowed to ferment long enough, and maybe sourcing of quality flours is not being conducted...

But if you wanna have a good laugh, drag the frenchies to Cobs!... :biggrin:


Edited by edm (log)

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But if you wanna have a good laugh, drag the frenchies to Cobs!... :biggrin:

That would be outright cruel, if not plain mean.:laugh:

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Why is Cobs' bread so god damn...

"Additives (?)

COBS Bread does not claim to sell products free of any ingredients (eg yeast, wheat, gluten, preservatives, etc).

Animal Fats

Most of our breads contain no added animal products, however, traces of such fats may be found in some products sold such as our cheese breads.

Genetically Modified Organisms / Ingredients

COBs does not claim to sell products free of any ingredients, however, we have made a special effort to investigate GMO's.

Preservatives

Whilst COBS Bread does not add any ingredient to be used purely as a preservative, some of our raw ingredients contain preservatives.

"

Beautiful PR machine! We sell crap, but it's already in the bulk ingredients we use. SO... It's all good!

Am i taking the piss? I sure am! Sorry i'm drifting again...

(info fetched on COBS' website)

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It will be interesting to hear your friends’ opinion of the uneven quality of Parisienne bread because of the consolidation of bakeries and the commodification of breads. That has been the topic of discussion in a number of articles recently.

When I need French-styled breads, I typically buy them from these bakeries, which I think produce quality baguettes:

Patisserie LeBeau

La Baguette on Granville Island

Terra Breads (ditto, and on West Fourth, soon to open near 5th and Ontario)

Wildfire in Victoria

La Boulangerie (which uses French flour exclusively) or Okanagan Grocery in Kelowna

I think that the best bread in restaurants is served at CinCin, West, and Bluewater, from Thierry Busset’s ovens.

But the best bread I’ve ever had in Vancouver came from two now-defunct sources. The Austrian Bakery at 10th and Alma, and The Vancouver Club, which used to have its own bakery (with steam ovens for an authoritative crust) in the bowels of the building. Those buns of yesteryear would spit shards of crust like shrapnel and were served with properly iced butter. Unfortunately, the bakery was ripped out to make way for a fitness facility, of all things.


Edited by jamiemaw (log)

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There was a french bakery on Broadway near Oak called Champs Elysees. I don't know if it is still there. Hardcore French bakery, I think they fly their dough in from Paris. The kind of place that hangs Jerry Lewis pictures on the wall. But good croissants.

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thanks to all of you for your recommendations... I will keep you posted on their opinions, comments, praise or critique of our French bakeries and our best local talents. Japanese food included! :smile:

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Strange as this may seem - we were served some very good croissants at a brunch the other day - and when I asked where they were from the improbable reply was "Costco"!

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To add Fieldstone artisan Breads out in Surrey, have not tried it recently but i've had decent baguettes from them(They have done "feast of fields").

Jamie, could you tell more about the Okanagan Grocery, do they produce artisan breads(& where do they get their flour from??) .How would you rate them compared with Van. Bakeries?? I think i remember seeing an article about this place with a nice pic.

LMB my wife & I were living in Paris last spring & we both noticed the considerable gulf in quality of pastry/breads(we were lucky that we lived close to a bakery that was awarded "best baguette 2004") but Vancouver does have it's moments....Patisserie Lebeau(old school-small selection, limited quantity & i mean that in a good way!) Chris Brown, those Georgian Bakery dudes, Lesley Stowe's dried fruit/nut bread & Les Amis cheese (Again in Paris we were lucky to live next to a really good affineur- wow perfectly aged raw milk cheese) Swiss Bakery just off Main can be good(but not consistently). I have not tried all of Mix bakery bread(is that possible?), but have not had a resounding positive impression.

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To add Fieldstone artisan Breads out in Surrey, have not tried it recently but i've had decent baguettes from them(They have done "feast of fields").

  Jamie, could you tell more about the Okanagan Grocery, do they produce artisan breads(& where do they get their flour from??) .How would you rate them compared with Van. Bakeries?? I think i remember seeing an article about this place with a nice pic.

Its owned by Rhys Pender (the wine writer) and his wife. Now available throughout the valley. Nicely done too.

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Terra Breads (ditto, and on West Fourth, soon to open near 5th and Ontario)

Wildfire in Victoria

Is that going to be near where Ecco Il Pane is?

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Terra Breads (ditto, and on West Fourth, soon to open near 5th and Ontario)

Wildfire in Victoria

Is that going to be near where Ecco Il Pane is?

Very. 53 West 5th Avenue.

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I think that the best bread in restaurants is served at CinCin, West, and Bluewater, from Thierry Busset’s ovens.

From my exp. i agree with your opinion, Jamie. But i'd like to precise: to my knowledge, each of the top table group's restaurants bake their own bread.

Rhonda Viala at West,

Thierry Busset at Cincin,

Eleanor Chow at Blue Water Cafe,

as well as Aaron at Whistler's Araxi,

are all behind the loaves, baguettes and rolls that their respective restaurant serve.


Edited by edm (log)

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I think that the best bread in restaurants is served at CinCin, West, and Bluewater, from Thierry Busset’s ovens.

From my exp. i agree with your opinion, Jamie. But i'd like to precise: to my knowledge, each of the top table group's restaurants bake their own bread.

Rhonda Viala at West,

Thierry Busset at Cincin,

Eleanor Chow at Blue Water Cafe,

as well as Aaron at Whistler's Araxi,

are all behind the loaves, baguettes and rolls that their respective restaurant serve.

Yes, Eddy, and thanks for clarifying this point: Credit where credit's due. Although I do spy Thierry's influence since he moved from West to Cin Cin, and he travels weekly to Araxi to add in his expertise there too.

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Terra Breads (ditto, and on West Fourth, soon to open near 5th and Ontario)

Wildfire in Victoria

Is that going to be near where Ecco Il Pane is?

Very. 53 West 5th Avenue.

Terra Breads is now open on 53 West 5th Avenue.

The place is very well laid out.

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This name came up in the discussion about pane ou chocolate, but I'll throw it out again for French bread: Pic Nic in West Van on Clyde between 14th and 15th. The people who run it are Persian but trained in France and they are serious about their French training. Great bread and pastries.

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I found the new Terra Bread location to be disappointing. The way they organized the space may be efficient from a business point of view, but it lacks the warmth (and the sensuality of the smells of fresh bread, puff pastry, chocolate...!) that makes a bakery a welcoming and comforting place. The room feels somewhat empty and "sanitized". There is no soul, no generosity perspiring from these grounds.

The products themselves are usual Terra fare. I picked up a ficelle that lacked greatly in flavour. The texture was also a let down. They offer to everyones' view what seems to be a display stone-deck oven, yet their bread rarely offers a nice crust.

Some raspberry scones, however, were good, despite missing a tiny bit more swetness.

For good bread, one suggestion. Head to the Swiss bakery on Main and 3rd. The organic baguette is only $1.80, and to my opinion, much more satisfying.

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