With the summer in full swing, bakers who have France on their vacation agenda may want to check out La Mie Caline, a national chain of 238 shops that could be called the French version of Panera Bread.
To fully experience a tasty morsel of joie de vivre, Baking & Snack casually strolled inside the La Mie Caline store in St. Jean de Monts, a seaside resort village along the Atlantic coast in west-central France. They received a friendly greeting from bakers behind the display cases teeming with French bread, classic croissants and elegant desserts and other sweet goods.
La Mie Caline also offers fresh sandwiches, hot pizza, prepared foods and even healthy salads. To get to the engine that drives this chain, they took a 5-minute drive to the industrial section of town where a 200,000-square-foot central bakery turns out millions of these morsels of joy.
Each year, the plant’s 12 production lines crank out 20 million baguettes, 16 million cookies, 12 million pain au chocolat and 8 million croissants, noted Stéphane Babarit, director of R.&D. and industrial process. And those are only the top-sellers of its 160-s.k.u. line. In addition to its repertoire of baked foods that remain culturally true to the nation’s culinary cuisine, Mr. Babarit said the bakery has expanded into organic and non-G.M.O.-certified offerings to meet the latest in consumer trends. All items contain no preservatives or artificial flavors.
It seems the movement toward local, natural and clean label apparently knows no borders. If France is not on your vacation agenda, check out the June issue of Baking & Snack magazine for an exclusive tour.