Par Margaret Kemp
Les Boulangeries Eric Kayser sell millions of artisanal breads, cakes and sandwiches throughout the world every day. Japan heads the charts with 25 bakeries, then there's Russia and the Ukraine, Greece, Lebanon, Dubai and Taiwan; works in progress include Korea and the Antilles. In France there are 18 bakeries, the most recent a cutting edge chocolate, chestnut and orange colour bakery, patisserie, juice bar across from Place Vendôme. The boy's done well.
" From the age of 4 I wanted to be a baker, wanted to see the world, I was a curious and adventurous child
", recalls Kayser, seated on one of the plush Vendôme banquettes. Hardly surprising Kayser has a passion for bread, the son, grandson and great-grandson of master bakers from the Haute-Saône, he says: " It's my heritage, I was born in the levain
Leaving his region aged 19 Kayser joined the Compagnons de Tour de France ( Voir le site
). The Compagnons, a French organisation of craftsmen, date from the middle ages, are still pro-active to-day. Their traditional educational techniques include travelling throughout France apprenticed to artisans, in Kayser's case to Master Bakers. " I learned my craft from top chefs boulangers - inspired by their ideals of fraternity. the rigueur of their constant search for excellence, I decided to transmit this passion and export it to the four corners of the earth
In 1999 Kayser launched the first " Eric Kayser", at 8 rue Monge, afficiandoes stood in line for ages to snag a baguette Monge. They fell in love with the cute baker who resembles a sandy-haired character from Wallace & Gromit, the iconic animated UK films. And like inventor Wallace, Kayser came up with Le Fermentolevain, " an intelligent machine which creates and maintains a liquid leaven, it's used in place of yeast and gives the bread a slight flavour of milk and hazlenuts
", explains Kayser, who developed the machine with his friend and bakery teacher, Patrick Castagna. The days when bakers began work at 3 in the morning are long gone, with our machine they don't have to, we have one in each of our 60 bakeries, from Paris to Taiwan, our bread's made from additive free flour and, with the machine downstairs, it's always " fresh from the oven
", adds Kayser.
For each bakery there's a signature bread. Baguette Monge, baguette Malesherbes, le pain Odéon. For Vendôme, Kayser's doing breads that can travel, the shortened Carré Vendôme ("farine de froment, de levain and germe de blé, très riche en oligo-elements
") to be taken without moderation on the metro, the Harley-Davidson, or slipped into the Hermes, Birkin bag.
In the airy Vendôme space breads are lined up like precious books in a bibliothéque.
Tempting pâtisseries include beautiful brioches, tartes, flans, crumbles, des cakes, des financiers and " le kanaille
" pain d'epices et compotée d'apricots, an hommage to Kayser's schooldays.
There's plenty of room to eat, seated on Calligaris designed chairs. Each morning the équipes d' Eric Kayser create different choices of, say, les petits plats froid ou chaud (7€20) large or small salads, croques, pizzas, fougasses, quiches, sandwiches. The juice bar's fresh cocktails are made from seasonal fruits and vegetables, as are the soothing soups for cooler days. The concept is that you can pick up des " en-cas
" for each meal of the day, to eat sur place or take away. For the fêtes de fin d'année there'll be a treasure trove of goodies, breads to match the festive meals. Pain au curcuma and seigle avec le saumon fumé: Pain mendiants avec le foie gras and Pain aux noix, idéal avec le fromage. For Eric Kayser " a day without bread is a day without sunshine
33, rue Danielle Casanova, 1st
T: 01 42 37 59 29
Open Monday-Saturday 7hrs-20.30
Voir le site de la Maison Kayser.