Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Baguette Dilemma

On Thursday I mentioned in my "Newsiness" section that I had a decision to make. Our daily bread is delivered, well, almost daily, here in St.-Aignan. The boulangère, or baker's wife, makes the daily rounds in her truck. She carries baguettes and pains, and a few other goodies, like goat cheese and croissants.

Une ficelle. I added the fork for scale.

She always takes special orders, in advance, of course. So, since I'm here by myself while Ken is in North Carolina, I've had to deal with the bread issue. I don't want to tell her not to come by, since I'm afraid that this delivery service might go away without enough demand.

The issue is, that since it's just me at home, a whole baguette each day is more than I can eat. Some of it must go into the freezer. And we have enough stuff in the freezer now, without filling it up with extra bread.

So I had to decide. Do I ask for a baguette and ask her to skip a few days delivery at my house, or do I ask her for just a half-baguette so that she needs to drive up the hill every day? During the winter, we are her only clients up here on our hill.

So what did I do? I wimped out. I did neither. I got a whole baguette on Thursday (half of which went into the freezer), and I asked her to bring une ficelle on Friday and Saturday. A ficelle is a loaf half the weight of a baguette (125 grams vs. 250 grams), and it costs a bit more than a half-baguette. But it's a whole loaf. That means more crust, and I like the crust. And I'll probably ask her to continue with the ficelles until Ken gets back.

Since it's only for a little while, I think that I can deal with the extra cost of a ficelle. You see, I don't want the baker and his wife to think that there's not a market for bread delivery. It's a nice service. And even though we pay a few cents more for delivered bread than if we were buying it at the shop, it's a premium that makes life in rural France such an amazing adventure: fresh bread delivered to the house five days out of seven.

I can live with that. I'm starting to wonder, could I live without it?


  1. What a great service! You are right to help support it. By the way, how much does a delivered bagette cost? Do you pay each day or once a month?

    Here in Austria some people in the country bake a dense sourdough bread at home and deliver it to friends.

  2. I would totally buy bread if there was a delivery here! Perhaps there is and I just don't know it?

    I've seen a butcher truck once, which seemed to be making a delivery.

    In Greece, never the bakers but the veggie & fish guys make tours of the villages with loudspeakers on their truck "Fresh fish, fish guy, new fish, octopus, etc." It's loud and the music they choose is annoying, but you can't miss them. Here, the delivery guys sneak in and out under the cover of silence which makes it tough for us newbies to discover their service.

  3. No deliveries of anything here, except UPS. We make a point of shopping locally at places we want to stick around though, like the bookstore, Kepler's. It usually isn't even more expensive than the big chains. The help is usually pleasant too.

    Bread, especially THAT bread, really is the staff of life.

  4. Andy, a baguette at the bakery is €0.78. Delivered it is €0.81. Sylvie delivers 5 days a week (not on Weds. or Sun.). We pay when we buy, and we are not under any obligation to buy bread every time she comes by. But we do. She always comes at the same hours on the different days -- early on Mond. and Sat., late morning on Tues., Thurs., and Fri.

  5. Glad you were able to solve your dilemma! Have a nice weekend...

  6. andy, see ken's answer below. And the ficelle is 60 eurocents.

    syd, our bread lady comes roaring up the hill with the horn blaring. Can't miss her.

    chris, a shopper's gotta do what a shopper's gotta do.

    leesa, it really wasn't all that hard! :)

  7. hi there, i've been reading you for a bit but never commented...

    if you have too much bread, you could cube it and dry it in the oven sprinkled with olive oil, salt and any ground herbs of choice to make croutons for salads too! that way, none goes to waste and it's still usable. stored in a glass jar, they will last for quite awhile.

    i think it's great to have such a great service available!!

  8. I find it very cool that there are indeed still places in France where the boulangerie does daily visits like that to residential houses.


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