Bread is one of the things British people often cite among the things they like most about France. The humble sliced loaf, however, rarely gets a look in when French people list the things they like about the UK. So the success of a British TV show about bread making is a cause for raised eyebrows all round.
Britain’s Best Bakery has been taken and remade for French viewers as La Meilleure Boulangerie de France.
It is hosted by Bruno Cormerais and Gontran Cherrier. Every day from Monday to Thursday, the pair judge three bakeries in an area and the best goes forward for a regional final on a Friday. Each boulangerie is judged on its appearance, its house speciality bread and the results of a challenge set by the two judges.
The show has proved a runaway hit for the small M6 channel, gaining almost 15% of the viewing figures for its teatime slot.
Now the two judges have published a book of some of the best recipes from the series, entitled Les Recettes à Refaire Chez Soi. My partner likes using cookbooks to improve his French almost as much as he likes bread.
So I did nothing to discourage him when he said he wanted to buy the book from the series.
In fact, I may go through and highlight recipes that I think he might like to try – meaning, ones that I might like to eat. Les baguetes feuilletées au bleu d’Auvergne, for instance, or les petites boules salées.
I suspect finding the right type of flour to create authentic-tasting French-style bread will prove a greater challenge for him than the language. However, I am sure he is up to it.