Paris Bakery: Du Pain et Des Idées

6 December 2011

There are certain memories that feel like they belong to someone else. Memories so distant you can’t be sure if they really happened or if they’re merely a construction of your imagination, created to fill a void.

When I was a kid, my family and I would spend summers in Avalon, NJ (far from being Biarritz, I admit). I can barely remember what it looked like, where we stayed or how much trouble I might have gotten myself into but I do remember the danishes.

Du Pain et des Idées Escargot

Before I ever introduced my taste buds to croissants they knew cheese danishes. If memory serves me correctly, my father and I would head to the local (and perhaps sole) bakery to pick up a bagful of varied danishes for breakfast- cheese, fruit, or the cinnamon snegle, Danish for snails. We even braved the early morning torrential rain showers to retrieve them.

By the time we sprinted to and from the bakery, we deserved those pastries. The second we walked in the door of our seaside home, I would snatch the cheese danish out of the bag followed by a second round with a snegle. No surprise, then, that one of the French pastries I most enjoy today is the snail (escargot). The escargot is similar in form to the snegle but with layers of pistachio, lemon, nougat or berry and chocolate in between the puff pastry and far more delicious.

Perhaps the best place in Paris to get a dose of snail nostalgia (and downright stellar pastries overall) is Du Pain et Des Idées,  a renowned bakery situated a block from the Canal St. Martin in the 10th. The owner, Christophe Vasseur, was named best boulanger in Paris in 2008 and it’s for good reason. From hearth breads to viennoiseries, everything is crafted to perfection. Mind-blowing perfection. It’s your favorite corner bakery but better.

Du Pain et des Idées Pain des Amis

The selection isn’t cheap but knockout quality and taste is worth every centime. If you’re as discerning about your bread as I am, don’t leave without a slab of their signature loaf, the Pain des Amis – masterfully crusted on the outside and airy and fluffy on the inside, just waiting to be buttered.

The above video {click over to the blog if you’re reading from your email} showcases the many marvels produced by Vasseur and his team at Du Pain et Des Idées and the objective behind each creation. Even if you don’t understand French, you’ll appreciate the visuals.

I’m grateful to have been introduced to the pistachio-chocolate escargot (pictured above) because it not only rocked my taste buds but confirmed that my memories of Danish fetching as a child were completely and joyfully real.

Du Pain et Des Idées
34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris
Open Monday-Friday 6:45am-8pm