The Bread Revolution of recent times means that good quality 'real' bread is available almost everywhere. But, I must say that we are blessed with this particular variety, above.
Within a radius of about 10 Kms we have 5 small 'artisan' bakers; one of which is exceptional. This loaf is simply called a gros pain, it weighs 1 kg 700 gms, tastes fantastic, and lasts us a week.
This type of bread goes through several stages. When freshly baked it is usually eaten in its 'natural' state, with paté and cheese, or buttered and eaten with fruit conserves. Mid week it is toasted for a variety of breakfast dishes. And towards the end of the week (when it hardens slightly) a few slices are often used for making our local garlic soup; tourin.
The older I get, the more I appreciate the simple things of life. Even driving a 20 Km round trip to buy something as mundane as a loaf of bread has become an essential ritual. I also continue ye olde superstitious tradition of drawing a cross underneath the loaf, before letting the knife cut its first slice.
When we first moved to France, one could still buy the huge 5 Kg round tourte loaves (like the Italian version above). These would feed a large family for a week. Unfortunately these seem to have completely disappeared. Maybe I should ask my man to make one for me in the summer.
Yes, give us this day our daily bread, but make sure mine comes from the tiny bakery in nearby Freyssinet-le-Gelat.