Tunisians adore pastry, but most importantly, bread. They only eat it fresh and in big quantities. If there are four people coming to lunch, the hostess will buy four baguettes. Even in the poorest families fresh bread in sufficient, even excessive quantities is not considered luxury. One doesn’t even have to order bread and pay for it in restaurants. They will surely put out a bread basket on the table and will fill it up while it’s getting empty, right until the moment you say that that’s enough.
They use wheat and barley flour for pastry in Tunisia. A shrewd hostess will never do her shopping in the bakery closest to her house (here they call them boulangerie, French style), she will definitely find her own. The thing is, bakeries here have their own bakers, each of who has their own secrets of making dough and their own additions: cumin, sesame, coriander, saffron, olives, onions. That’s why, when buying bread at a new place, you will always be surprised by its slightly different taste. Perhaps, it’s not that obvious to the people, who don’t create a cult out of bread, but Tunisians know all too well all the nuances of this product.
The basis of a traditional village breakfast is comprised of freshly baked bread, which is dressed with honey and olive oil, and in town families, they prefer croissants. While making the dough all the bakeries stick to the French recipe with the addition of butter, that’s why a croissant from a Tunisian bakery will not be in any way worse than his Parisian fellow, and will not leave indifferent even the most apathetic to bread person.
A curious fact:
Three years in a row Tunisian bakers bewilder the French capital. In 2016 it was Rida Khader, in 2017 – Sami Buatur, and in 2018 it was Makhmud Msadi. What unites these Tunisia sons? All of them are winners of the Best Baguette of Paris Contest!
On the 12th of April, 2018, out of 120 contestants, the authoritative board of juries picked the most skillful one, Makhmad Msadi. The son of a Tunisian baker in second generation, he lives and works in the 14th district of Paris.
The contest was conducted under the control of 15 jurors, the European Palace chef included. According to the old tradition, the winner of this contest becomes the official supplier of bread to the residence of the president of France for one year.
The baker himself modestly says that he started baking baguettes at the age of twelve, helping his father, and now, just like before, will continue doing his job to the great joy of all the citizens and guests of Paris.
Friends, if you ever find yourself in the 14th district of Paris, say hello to Makhmud! Meanwhile, we are looking forward to the results of this year’s competition…