About the festival:
The Bac Sucré festival is an event organized by the 7th arrondissement town hall every year since 2015, in the “Rue du Bac”. Created by Florence Mazo Koenig, head of Rossini’s Girl, a Paris based PR Company, this initiative, from Tuesday 13th to Sunday 18th, gathered all the food shops, especially bakeries and chocolate factories around this street, in the heart of Paris. This event aims at encouraging local businesses, and promoting the local merchants’ expertise. By creating a partnership with almost 20 food stores, Florence has built a major event in the neighborhood, according to the huge success of the two previous editions. On this occasion, chefs, pastry cooks and chocolatiers present some of their most delightful creations to the public, following the annual theme. For this 3rd year, the Bac Sucré’s theme was “pepper”, and its use not only in cooking, but also and mostly in baking. Olivier Roellinger, the worldwide famous spices specialist, was the event exclusive and vip guest, and was holding a very inspiring conference, hosted in the town hall Grand Salon, focused on “pepper and sugary, paradox or sublimation?”
Salt and Pepper:
Among all these sweets makers, some famous shops were presenting salted creations. For example, Mr. Roger Yvon, whose reputation is not to be made, offered some roasted duck with green pepper in his “Boucherie de Varenne”. This butcher, who served many presidents and prime ministers, created a meal based on meat, cooked like a terrine, including pepper, used to enhance all the subtle tastes of the duck.
Another famous shop, partner of this event, was the cheese dairy, owned by Mrs. Nicole Barthelemy, whose product was a goat cheese sprinkled with a pepper mix from Olivier Roellinger called “pepper de la Luna”. As Mrs. Barthelemy said, pepper is quite difficult to match with cheese, but this one, both sweet and strong, revealed the refinement of her fresh goat cheese.
At the heart of the festival, bakeries were spotlighted for this sweet week. This year’s spicy theme was a true challenge for them, as pepper is not a common ingredient for baking. From a mango and passion fruit cheesecake by the Dalloyau Company to the mini tarte tatin proposed by Angelina, the partners of the event presented a lot of very different cakes and pastries.
New partner this year, the famous cookie maker Laura Todd invited us to taste its ephemeral banana, chocolate and pepper muffin in the BCBG Max Azria boutique. These collaborations between two different shops also represent the Bac Sucré’s spirit. La Cornue Company, another partner of the event, also hosted the creations of Mr. Conticini, a lemon cake and a chocolate “Chou à la crème” in its boutique. Another example of collaboration this year was the baking lesson offered by the Daloyau Company in the Miele Experience Center at the “Rue du Bac”. In this exclusive experience, customers were offered a VIP baking lesson with Mr. Yann Brys, the famous chef of the Dalloyau caterer. During this lesson the chef taught them to make a red fruits, coconut and pepper tart, a fresh dessert that perfectly matches the high temperature of the season.
Source: Bac Sucré
Major artisans in baking, some famous chocolatiers were present for this new edition of the Bac Sucré. Present at the 2 first festivals, the Jacques Genin chocolate factory was here again, attracting a lot of curious local inhabitants and tourists with various workshops. Every day of the event, the boutique organized some lessons about making your own marshmallows, chocolate bars, and tarts. During the last one, the pastry chef presented a unique recipe in which Sichuan green pepper was infused in the chocolate cream. This chocolate tart with a touch of spice was her exclusive creation for the festival. The chef mentioned “the key is to bring freshness to this tart by infusing such a pepper in the elaboration of this pastry”
Hugo & Victor, another chocolatier in the “Rue du Bac”, also used this infusion technique for its exclusive cake called “Hugo Chocolat”. They organized for the occasion a blind tasting of three different products, and if they were guessed right, the customers were rewarded to taste their ephemeral cake, a chocolate one with some pepper infused in it.
Throughout these two different experiences, the customers were disclosed the secrets of chocolate making, and discovered new tastes, combining chocolate and pepper.
Pepper and sugary, definitely not a Paradox:
This sweet week ended with a conference on “Pepper”, organized by the town hall, with Mr. Roellinger as a special guest holding the conference, together with contribution of every chef who participated to the festival.
During the conference, Mr. Roellinger highlighted the history of the so-called “queen of spices”, how it was discovered and how simple berries were mistaken for pepper. It appears that there are varieties of peppers and even in the same specie, the tastes might be very different. According to him, “pepper is to cooking what the Sun is to the cosmos”, and he points out the fact that pepper is what sublimes meals, and what has been present at the heart of our gastronomy for centuries.
Concerning baking, one usually perceive sugar and fat as comforting tastes. But the point is to use pepper to break these clichés and to enhance the flavors. Mr. Roellinger emphasized that the role of pepper is to highlight the other ingredients but never to give its own taste to pastries. It must be close to the main ingredients in terms of flavors to better go with them. Fauchon, the Parisian caterer, has been the first bakery to use pepper in their cakes in the early 2000. In chocolate factories, pepper is often used for balancing the different cocoa flavors, and only to sublime chocolatiers’ creations.
During this conference, some chocolates, with a pepper infused “ganache” were given to the public to understand the use of pepper in creating chocolate pieces. Mr. Roellinger then convinced the audience that pepper, and more generally spices, were to be used also in baking, and not only cooking. As a conclusion he addressed this message to the audience “ when baking, do not refrain yourself using pepper, be audacious and curious!”
Want to learn more about the partners of the Bac Sucré ? Let your personal shopper be your guide in the Bon Marché and its Grocery, and help you select the gift of your dream !