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travelfood Compiled and written by EliNa karEmo Photos by juha salmiNEN Bakeries in Southern France Boulangerie-pâtisserie L'Ancienne In the picturesque mountain village of Castellane, this bakery offers an array of temptations from giant sugar cookies to berry and fruit pies, savoury asparagus pies and unparalleled meringues. 04120 Castellane (off the central square) La Tour des Délices aBoVE a bakery shop window advertises tortière de Gascogne, a light pastry made with fruit. lEFt Boulangerie-Pâtisserie l'ancienne is well known for its berry delicacies. Near the perfume-making centre of Grasse, La Tour serves melt-in-your-mouth pies, both sweet and savoury. The shop has a few tables where customers can sit to enjoy a snack. For dessert, try the handmade chocolate, created by the bakery's own master chocolate-maker. 30, route de Nice ­ Pré du Lac 06740 Châteauneuf de Grasse La panetière rememBer to keep cash in your pocket when visiting small bakeries. Some accept credit cards, but others only euros. Sweet on bakeries Any French person with a respect for tradition is likely to turn up his or her nose at a shapeless lump of factory-processed bread in a sweaty plastic bag. Still, anyone who accuses the French of snobbery is probably just jealous of the nation's flourishing culture of local bakeries. More than 30,000 bakers have earned the right to use the title artisan boulanger, turning out fresh crisp baguettes, tantalising chocolate pastries and flaky croissants from early in the morning. Those who hold this distinction must follow traditional baking practices. This means, for instance, that everything must be baked on the premises where it is sold. Often this is a combination boulangerie-pâtisserie, which also offers sweet pastries. The terms pâtisserie and boulangerie are strictly defined by law. A bakery without baguettes would be a scandal, but many bakeshops have their own little specialities, which becomes clear on a tour of bakeries in the 16 BluE WiNGs NOVEMBER 2009 On the route between Antibes and Nice, La Panetière offers a broad selection that includes basic breads as well as those fortified with seeds, nuts, herbs and cheese. There are also luscious fruit pastries and jams. The shop serves coffee, which you can enjoy along with your baked goods either indoors or outside under the trees, watching the world go by. 72 Av de Nice, 06600 Antibes South of France. For instance, the bakery in the mountain village of Castellane offers meringues decorated with nonpareils, sweets and chocolate ­ which are in a class of their own when it comes to taming a sweet tooth. In many small towns, a bakery is an excellent option for the slightly peckish traveller. At times ­ especially between seasons ­ it can be difficult to find a restaurant that's open and suits one's taste. Some bakeshops lack seats, so you will have to wait until you find a park bench upon which to enjoy your fresh-baked snack. Others have tables where you can enjoy excellent coffee and savoury pies with buttery crusts. At the same time, you can observe the locals as they pop into the bakery in the middle of a working day or after a cycling trip. ExtrEmE cuisiNE Food writer Eddie Lin travelled the globe in search of unusual food for Extreme Cuisine: Exotic tastes from around the world (Lonely Planet), which runs the Finnair flies nonstop several times a day to Paris, with gamut from alligator cheesecake to deep-fried tarantulas. convenient codeshare connections to Nice.

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