The official best baguette in Paris is baked by 26-year-old Taieb Sahal, according to the 27th annual Meilleure Baguette de Paris competition. The prestigious honor will bring renown to Sahal’s bakery, Saveurs de Pierre Demours – Maison Julien in the 17th arrondissement. In accordance with tradition, Sahal has also earned the privilege of baking for French President Emmanuel Macron for an entire year.
Sahal bested 209 other competitors on Thursday March 5. Jurors ranked each of the entries according to cookedness, crumb, flavor, smell, and aesthetic before selecting Sahal’s as number one. Meg Zimbeck detailed her experience as a member of this illustrious panel in 2013.
Sahal’s win is all the more surprising as he is relative newcomer to the world of boulangerie. While many French bakers begin their apprenticeships at as young as 16, Sahal, a former mover who emigrated from France to Tunisia in 2014, has been perfecting his baguette for only four years.
“He’s a standout guy,” Yassin Moudjari, partner at the Maison Julien bakeries, tells the Parisien. “He has drive, and he learns fast.”
Check out this video to see Sahal at work.
Sahal is not the first immigrant baker to win top prize in the annual contest, as Emily Monaco explored last year for the BBC. He is, however, the youngest-ever winner.
We’ve mapped Where to Find the Best Baguettes in Paris, which includes all the top ten finishers since 2007. Below, find a list of this year’s winners. Can you try them all?
Paris’ Top Baguettes in 2020
- Taieb SAHAL, Les Saveurs de Pierre Nemours. 13, rue Pierre Nemours (17e).
- Baptiste LEUCA, L’essentiel Mouffetard. 2, rue Mouffetard (5e).
- Liman TIGANI, Farine & O. 10, rue des Martyrs (9e).
- Laurent DEMONCY, Au 140. 140, rue de Belleville (20e).
- Anthony TEIXEIRA, Aux délices du Palais. 60, bd Brune (14e).
- Khemoussi MANSOUR, Aux délices de Glacière. 90, bd Auguste Blanqui (13e).
- Ahmed OUNISSI, Maison Legendre. 2, rue de la Butte aux Cailles (13e).
- Thierry GUYOT, Boulangerie Guyot. 28, rue Monge (5e).
- Giovanni BIANCO, Giovanni boulangerie contemporaine. 49, rue Chardon Lagache (16e).
- Jérôme LEPARQ, Maison Leparq. 6, rue de Lourmel (15e).