Bread was for centuries been the
staple diet of the region's peasants. Nord Pas-de-Calais
has some of the most fertile farmland in Europe, with the
highest yields for cereal-growing. Using local varieties of
wheat, its millers made flour that has different qualities
to that made just across the Channel.
Soft freshly-baked baguettes are tasty when fresh,
but go stale in hours. French people are used to buying
their bread twice a day - "English" sliced bread is a
curiosity. But Baguettes only became popular in the 1950's -
there is much more to bread-baking in France than this one
Revival of traditional French country
In recent years, crafts bakers have revived the
traditional varieties of bread, often baked in wood-fired
ovens for an authentic texture and flavour.
The best of them - like the "PAUL" chain of
bakery-patisserie-cafes - use flour milled from
locally-sourced organic grain, and make dough without
This page will give details of different sort of bread
traditionally made in Nord Pas-de-Calais, and where you can
see craft bakers at work - taste and buy their products.
Bakers in Calais bake extra baguettes for British
day-trippers - delicious for a picnic lunch with
but they can be stale by the time they've crossed the
Display of traditional breads - you
can see them being prepared and baked in a wood-fired oven
in the back of the shop ... the joys of hand-crafted
patisserie, made with the best of fresh ingredients
Look out for this chain of "fast-food" shops with a French
difference - they've made their name using craft methods of
baking French country breads, croissants and cakes, now
branching out into sandwiches, snacks from breakfast, luch
and tea ...and now some restaurants.