“It’s incredible”, declared on the telephone, very moved, Damien Dedun, of the Frédéric Comyn bakery, in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.
“Emblem of France (…) soon to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site”, according to Guillaume Gomez, personal representative of the President of the Republic for gastronomy, the iconic baguette has concentrated all the attention of the 14 members of the jury gathered in Paris.
Organized by the City, in partnership with the Boulangers du Grand Paris, this “extremely prestigious” competition allows its winner, since the presidency of Jacques Chirac, to supply the Elysée for one year.
“Depending on its production capacity”, however tempers Olivia Polski, the president of the jury and deputy mayor of Paris, with AFP.
“Known all over the world”, the competition ensures its winner “a lot of visibility”, she adds.
The winners of the 28 previous editions concede that this prize has brought them “30% additional turnover”, therefore “a significant economic contribution but also international recognition”, abounds Guillaume Gomez.
What makes a good wand, and above all, the best? “There are selection criteria which are very strict, on height and weight”, details Guillaume Gomez. It must measure between 50 and 55 centimeters and weigh between 250 and 270 grams.
The 135 baguettes presented – 57 of which were eliminated on these two criteria alone – were also judged on their appearance, their cooking, the texture of the crumb, the honeycombing and the taste.
“Bread is chemistry”, summarizes Olivia Polski, “on a sunny day, the baguette does not taste the same as on a rainy day, it varies according to the humidity”.
To describe the ideal baguette, Guillaume Gomez evokes, him, “a beautiful color, very golden”, “a regular shaping, a beautiful crust, a beautiful honeycombing of crumb”.
With the increase in the price of raw materials, “the repercussions on prices will have to be imposed” but the bakers are working “to ensure that they are as weak as possible”, assures Guillaume Gomez.