(This post of mine was originally published on CRAFT in April 2011)
Last summer while vacationing in the southwest of France (the region where my husband is from) I got addicted to Pastis Landais, a sweet brioche that I literally would snack on throughout the day (related CRAFT post here). The pastries I enjoyed during my time there were all from this local bakery in Parentis en Born called Patisserie Bled Frédéric, run by a husband and wife team, Katia and Frédéric Bled. My mother-in-law frequents this patisserie and Katia and Frédéric were nice enough to open up their shop doors to give me a behind the scenes look at how french pastries are really done. What I observed was Frédéric's amazing attention to detail - every pastry looked beautiful and symmetrical - as well as his ability to multi-task between each projects of pastries and breads. Every pastry was a work of art as you can see and quite delicious as I taste tested most of them as my "research". If you ever get a chance to visit this enchanting town and summer lake vacation spot, you'll have to stop at this wonderful local patisserie for it's delicious treats and French charm.
See more photos from my visit after the jump!
Here is Frédéric at work on baking the small round discs that are used as a decorative toppers for some pastries.
Frédéric placed his pastries to bake in the biggest oven I have ever seen.
Croissants were also being set up to bake in the background by another baker. I loved that there was an open window of the back area so customers could watch the baking in action.
While Frédéric was baking, Katia was very busy helping all the customers.
Here's a shot of the counter with Katia in the background and the open window where you can watch Frédéric and his team of bakers work their magic.
The famous Pastis Landais.
In addition to the Pastis Landais, the biscuits aux pignons (pine nut biscuits) are also a treat that is authentic to the area and a best seller at the patisserie. I love that they come in this beautiful tin. I bought two tins to take home and wish I could have bought more and stashed them for the future!
See more photos in my Flickr set.