The carb- and gluten-filled judgment day will soon be upon us: Best Baguette Miami has arrived.
The five bakeries with the most votes for Best Baguette Miami (as nominated by French Morning readers) will face off in a war of wheat in front of a crowd of hundreds. This final competition will be held on April 13th at the National Hotel Miami Beach, and all are welcome. Get your tickets here now.
During the evening, each bakery’s baguette will be inspected and sampled through a blind taste test. What are the judges looking for? Quality, texture, and flavor (and, might we add, a certain je ne sais quoi). Several speciality prizers will be awarded before the they award the Grand Prix, given to the best baguette in Miami. As an attendee of the event, your voice is equally important: a Fan Prize is given to the bakery with the most votes from the audience. (Yes, that means you get to sample every single bread, with cheese, charcuterie, and a glass of wine.)
This year, the esteemed jury includes:
– Grégory Gourreau, Executive Chef at Juvia in Miami Beach
– Frédéric Joulin, Director of the Semilla Eatery & Bar in Miami Beach
– Michael Pirolo, Chef at Macchialina in Miami Beach
– Matthew McDonald, Chef at the restaurant at the National Hotel of Miami Beach
– Sean Mohammed, Executive Chef
– Eric Barale, Maître Cuisinier de France, and Culinary Director at The Apollo Group
At long last, in alphabetical order, the finalists are…
729 5th Street, Miami Beach (see map)
Italian bakers do not blush in the face of the French, so says Dario Cestaro, the son of Walter Caestaro who opened his Italian bakery Buon Pane Italiano in April 2015. At Buon Pane, it’s a team effort. Walter and the hard-working and talented bakers begin baking before sunrise to ensure hot, fresh bread when the store opens. With their first location in Miami Beach, Buon Pane hopes to open a second location elsewhere in Miami before the end of the year.
The quality of ingredients, respect of fermentation times, and masterful technique of a renowned head chef came together to bring Miami’s Chocolate Fashion into the finals. The man behind the recipes leading his team to the finals is none other than Georges Berger, who is a “Meilleur Ouvrier” of France. Chocolate Fashion has two locations; one in Coral Gables, and the other in South Miami.
1909 NE 154th St, North Miami Beach (see map)
Embarek Alibey, the Head Baker of La Parisienne in Miami Beach, is a fierce contender. After having stood atop of the winner’s podium last year in the Best Baguette competition, Alibey is looking to retain the title of best baguette maker in Miami for the second year in a row. Trained at the École de Boulangerie et de Pâtisserie de Paris, Alibey also learned his craft working alongside many of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, like Jean-Yves Guignard and Michel Moisan. Embarek Alibey.
Various locations in and around Miami (see list)
After being recognized with a Special Jury Prize in last year’s Baguette Battle Miami, David Thau and his team at La Provence return this year, stronger and determined to win the gold. Established in 1997 in South Beach, La Provence and its bakers are known for their prowess of artisanal French bread techniques and using an elaborate fermentation process. La Provence prides itself on using only fresh ingredients without preservatives. They have six locations throughout Miami and the surrounding suburbs.
1666 Collins Ave, Miami Beach (see map)
According to Tommaso Bulfon, the founder of Rosetta Bakery in Miami Beach, rigor is indispensable for creating excellent bread. And he’s correct: much like a French boulangerie Rosetta does the long and laborious work to adhere to traditional baking techniques, yet must constantly keep up with a demand for inventive and creative bread from customers.They first opened in November 2015, and hit the ground running. Their team of bakers use simple products of the highest quality to craft delicious breads.