Could any baking enthusiasts suggest a gift from France (Paris, to be precise) that would be harder to find in the US? I would like to get something fun and unusual for a US bread breaking enthusiast, but I know next to nothing about baking myself.
Not sure about hard-to-find items, but for unusual, how about cannele molds like these: http://www.surlatable.com/product/id/194992.do?affsrcid=Aff0001&mr:referralID=6111586c-0629-11e0-ad8e-001b2166c62d
Well, butter is supposed to be MUCH better in Europe than in America, but I'm not sure how you would transport it. Some people say the quality of chocolate is better there, too. You can find good stuff here; I think it might just be easier to get there.
Those are good suggestions, but this person only bakes bread. I am wondering if there are any great bread pans or other utensils....
The most well known cookware shop in Paris is probably Dehillerin, but David Lebovitz's blog has a pretty exhaustive list of other ones as well: http://www.davidlebovitz...
I bet some of the shops listed carry bread baking equipment.
This probably isn't all that difficult to find in the States, but how about a European-type flour? The texture and makeup of flour can be different in Europe and your baking enthusiast might enjoy trying out a French brand. Here's some basic info:
When I was in Paris 10 years ago, making a tart crust from French flour was definitely a fun and unique experience. I think the main difference is usually a higher gluten content, but it also seems to be milled finer than your basic APF in the states. Have fun shopping!
I can't think of a tool that is unique to Paris for bread making, and I'm a baker who has traveled there. There just aren't that many tools needed for bread, it is in the expertise, experience and ingredients. I think that a regional cookbook on bread making would be appreciated. I wish I was on your Christmas gift list!
Will you be my friend, too, please? Here's Dorie Greenspan's take on must-have-and-do things in Paris. Maybe it will give you some ideas.
wow, drbabs! I would like everything on that list!
Check the Chocolate and Zuchini website...she is Parisian and loves to bake.
In France, French and other types of bread go through their final rise in linen-lined baskets called "bannetons" before the loaves are shoveled into the oven. The bad news is that bannetons are hard to obtain at the retail level in France; the good news is that they're readily available here in the US.
I like the San Francisco Baking Institute. Go to http://www.sfbi.com and click the link on the left side of the page to purchase artisanal baking supplies. Not only are their prices extraordinarily reasonable, but with the help of a grant from Trader Joe's, a portion of each purchase helps fund scholarships for baking students. More bakers in this world. . .that's a good thing.
Dehillerin is a very fun excursion! All depends on how much space you have in your luggage. Ingredients might be fun if they're into bread with stuff in it, but otherwise, go to Dehillerin, you will surely find something you must buy them!
We spent time in France last fall and I don't recall any kitchen tools I 'had' to have. I admit though that I love their 'cheap' mayonnaise with a little mustard that comes in a tube and is available at all the groceries. I brought home 4 tubes.
Also, I loved all the really cool old stuff in the street markets. These were things I'd never see here and were quite fun to discover. Ended up bringing home an 18th century cleaver, bought from a guy who had picked a number of them up at an estate sale. It was hard to choose, but this lovely hangs near my stove.
P.S The mayonnaise is LeSieur.
Dehillerin is great. There's a shop called Mora near Les Halles that is an Ali Baba's cave of cooking things (13 rue Montmartre), and very nearby is A. Simon (48-52 rue Montmartre), another great resource. There is also Culinarion on rue de Rennes in the 6th, but it might not have exactly what you're looking for. Still, fun to look!