October 14 2012
As part of my current Russian-themed cooking spell, I spent this afternoon on the hunt for Russian чёрный хлеб (or rather, its literal English translation, "black bread.")
Having done my homework, I knew that rye bread is called "pain de seigle" in French. I'd also done some field research and discovered that one of my local boulangerie's specialities is rye bread. Perfect, non? However, when I went in and inquire about "pain noir", I was shown multiple versions of loaves that had charred due to being in the oven too long. Not at all that dry, funky, sour-dough-fermenty smelling stuff that I remember from power-cut days in Siberia.
No, I needed to go to the only area of Paris that is open on a Sunday afternoon - the Marais. And, more precisely, to none other than the little yellow boulangerie at number 27, rue des Rosiers.
Sacha Finkelsztajn is a bit of a Parisian institution. Here you can find every sort of Jewish, Polish, Eastern European pastry, bread or pie under the sun. Including, I'm very pleased to say, my black bread. Admittedly, at 3 euros 20 for a small loaf, I'm not going to be making it my regular choice of table buddy, but considering it's going to generate 4 litres of квас (pronounced kvas) I'm not going to complain.
Open everyday apart from Tuesday, from 10am til 7pm. Brace yourself for a certain level Eastern European service before you step foot inside. The man behind the cash desk (yes, you pick what you want, you take your ticket to the desk, you pay, then go back to get what you ordered) barked at me in a manner that made your average French waiter or waitress look like a teddy bear in comparison!