Give us this day our daily bread revisited

I often used to make our own bread. These days, with the cost of fuel, and because we have a fabulous two-person-band bakery in town, not so much. And back when we lived in France, we certainly never bothered. Here’s a post from our days when we lived there which may explain why.

Give us this day our daily bread

February 25th 2010

Mme. Fonquernie, Mater Familias

How could they?  I mean, what ARE they playing at?  All last week, and most of this, the baker’s shop down the road has been closed.  Instead of rising at 2.00 a.m. to get busy making baguettes, flutes, ficelles, baguettes a l’ancienne, flutes tradition, pain noir, chocolatines, croissants and so on and so on, our bakers have chosen to lie in till – ooh, 7 o’clock perhaps – and then spend the day catching up with their families – the children are on half term.

It’s a family business, our baker’s shop.  M & Mme Fonquernie owned it, and now, although officially they’ve retired, they help out all the time .M. Fonquernie is the one who drives his little white van round the local villages which have no shops, selling bread. Their two sons have now taken over the day-to-day baking.  One is responsible for all those loaves, while the other specialises in patisserie.  Their wives divide the work of running the shop between them with Mme Fonquernie Senior’s help.

So our morning routine has been disrupted.  First thing each day, one of us usually walks down the road to get our favourite pain noir, hot and crisp still from the oven.  The other day, the baker forgot the salt.  The bread wasn’t half so nice, but I rather liked this very human error.  It proved that our loaves are still ‘artisanale’, rather than being churned out by some computer-assisted machine.  There’s usually someone in the shop to chat to, or to walk back along the street with, and so neither of us looks on getting the bread in as a chore.

We’re lucky, I suppose, that there are three bakers in town.  Last week, we went to the shops at Castellanes to the baker there.  No pain noir at this shop, so we chose their unbleached white.  The small one’s a slender baguette shape – an Ariegeoise – but buy the larger butch version, and you must ask for an Ariegeois.

But then what happened?  A notice appeared in the shop: from Sunday, they too would be closed for a holiday. So for a few days this week, we have to patronise shop number three. Everybody moans ‘C’est pain industriel ça’.  It’s true. It comes all the way from Lavelanet, from a bakery which has three shops.  That’s mass production, and it shows.  Roll on Thursday, when the Fonquernie family re-opens its shop doors.

Sergio Arze, Unsplash. The featured photo is also courtesy of Unsplash, Tomasso Urli

For Fandango’s Flashback Friday

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

38 thoughts on “Give us this day our daily bread revisited”

  1. When we lived in France, we had the choice of two wonderful, artisanal bakeries within 500m from us. The closer one offered a brekkie of a large freshly pressed orange juice, a croissant and a coffee for – I think – €3.50. A second espresso was another €1.20!!!! How I‘m missing them. And always friendly, always their greetings: Bonjour la voisine….. both had excellent bread and as we too love the dark, ‚strong‘ bread, after a short while, they asked always: bien cuit?! And I said: Bien broncé….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great post. If only we had smellavision. Nothing like walking into a bakery. I often used to visit the one in Ludlow – great cakes too. But here I can only think of pasty shops, though come to think of it most do also sell bread. Artisan loaves are soooo expensive though.


    1. I know. Our parents would have died on the spot to pay £3.85 for a loaf, as we do. But these are soooo good. And their croissants are better than French ones! There’s a pasty shop in a shopping arcade in Harrogate. The smell of the onions puts me right off.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You probably live in a larger settlement. I gather our beloved bakery is now closed, and one of the others too, because an Intermarché and a Lidl have opened at the edge of town, killing off our remaining independent stores. Grrrr.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 3.85! I just swooned, Margaret. Those baguettes do look nice, but I buy the buns from any one of several bakeries and 20-25c is the going rate per bun. For bread my favourite is pumpkin, but it’s seasonal, 1.99 euros.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Did we ever have a tradition of a local bakeries in settlements with populations as small as 2000, surely we did, didn’t we??? I worked for Marriage’s Millers for a year when I was 19 and was taught to improve my bread-making (not a natural) by a master baker, but although local bakeries bought high quality, stoneground flour decent bread was almost impossible to buy. No idea why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think bread has become polarised between those who are happy to eat what we in this house call ‘plastic bread’ and those of us who are willing and able to pay a premium for a quality product.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: