A couple of months ago there was a fire at one of the boulangeries in Fort Mahon.
“C’est normale”, as they say here – naturally, every now and then a bakery will catch fire.
Fortunately, in this fire, no-one was hurt. Unfortunately it was at the best bakery in Fort Mahon – in fact, the best bakery in the whole region. Many times our guests have told us how much they love the bread from the Banette bakery opposite the Post Office in the Avenue de la Plage. We already knew about it, of course. We travel out of our way to Fort Mahon to buy our own bread there. My personal preference is for the “Baguette Tradition”, also known as the “Tradi”, (this is not the standard baguette, you have to specify “tradition”) but there are many other types of loaf to try, all of them delicious. Even their standard baguette is better than any other baker’s hereabouts.
After the fire the bakery closed, but after a few weeks the owners managed to find and rent an empty shop in the next village down the coast, Quend, and opened up to their Fort Mahon regulars. Business, however, was not too good, as they obviously lost all the passing trade they had before, and many of their local customers simply could not travel to the new shop.
The good news this week is that they have partially re-opened the fire-damaged premises and are selling their wonderful bread in Fort Mahon again. Refurbishment of the rest of the old shop should be completed soon so that they can show off all their delicious cakes, tarts and pastries, as well as the bread, in a fittingly high-class boulangerie setting.
By the way, Banette is a chain of franchised bakeries, all using flours and other ingredients from a common supplier, so you would naturally expect that they would all be able to produce exactly the same bread. It doesn’t work like that in France – somehow these bakers all manage to produce a totally individual product.
It makes buying the bread more fun when you can try loaves from dozens of local bakers and make up your mind which you prefer. If you’re only staying at a Sandboys gite in Fort Mahon for a week’s holiday, though, take it from us, the Banette shop opposite the Post Office is Number One!