With millions of us now tuning in to watch ‘The Great British Bake Off’ every Wednesday, it seems that baking-fever has once again hit the UK. When it comes to France it is undeniable that the French are famous for their bread and patisserie, from baguettes and croissants to macaroons and madeleines. Therefore when a friend introduced me to ‘La Meilleure Boulangerie de France’ I was instantly hooked and a weeklong binge session of lying in bed watching episode after episode soon followed.
The format of the show is simple: two bakeries from the same region go head to head in three challenges to gain a place in the grand final before one is crowned France’s Best Bakery. The first challenge is ‘La Visite’; the judges Bruno Cormerais and Gontran Cherrier pay a visit to each bakery scoringthem on the building’s appearance, the friendliness of the staff and the bakery’s range of products. Next is ‘La Spécialité Maison’ where the bakers are scored on an original recipe from their region. Thissection is my favourite as the program focuses in on the specific regions and we learn about traditions and history as well as seeing some interesting and tasty recipes, such as L’Oliose and La Torta from Corsica! Finally, ‘Le Défi du Jury’, a kind of technical challenge in which the bakers must bake a regional recipe that is then blind-tasted and scored by the judges. The winners from each region compete in the grand final in Paris.
Although the French duo, Bruno and Gontran, are nowhere near as good astheir British counterparts Paul Hollywood and nation-favourite Mary Berry, their accents are very clear and easy to understand. If you like ‘The Great British Bake Off’ (and who doesn’t?) then be sure to give ‘La Meilleure Boulangerie de France’ a try!
Written By: Yasmin Ibison
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham