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French baking competition takes place in Shanghai

By XU JUNQIAN in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-05-17 01:41

A baking competition was organized in Shanghai by Business France, a French government agency, to celebrate the nation's annual Bread Festival, which falls on May 16 every year.

A national festival created in 1996 to honor the art of making real and traditional French breads, the date of the festival honors Saint-Honore, the patron saint of bakers whose name is also used as the street name of one of the most fashionable addresses in Paris.

In Shanghai, six artisan bakers and bakery chains stood out from hundreds of candidates all over China as final contestants to compete for three awards — Best Baguette, Best Viennoiserie, and the most creative sandwich.

Wheat and Baker, an independent shop from Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, took home the title of the best baguette maker. Pain Chaud, co-founded by a Belgian entrepreneur in Shanghai that has grown into a chain with three locations, won the award of Best Viennoiserie with its puffy pastries. Le Parisienne, also from Shanghai, outperformed in the sandwich category with its spicy shrimp avocado sandwich.

As per the rules of the competition, all participants should use at least 80 percent of ingredients, including flour, butter and cheese, produced in France. And their works should be a regular item from their menu in daily business.

The festival was first introduced to China 10 years ago as a professional gathering of industry insider to discuss and exchange the localization methods of the European staple food in the country. Today, as more Chinese include the doughy goods in their diets, the festival has shifted its role to promoting the diversity and improving the quality of breads, according to organizers of the festival.

Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a radio interview that he wanted the traditional baguette to be protected as a world treasure by the UNESCO, like Belgian beer and Japanese washoku.

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