November 04, 2013 3 min read
Sourdough loaves, Québec’s best baguette, and cakes to die for: in the twenty years since it opened, La Petite Boulangerie Fleury has become an institution in Montreal’s Ahuntsic neighbourhood.
The Petite Boulangerie project was started by Louis-André Joyal and Sylvie Boissoneault. A chef school graduate, Louis-André had been working at the Passe-Partout restaurant, where all the bread is home-made, before embarking on this adventure. It’s there he learned to hone his technique and developed his great interest for traditional baking.
He then perfected his skills in the craft by undergoing an apprenticeship with a renowned French baker. Louis-André dedicated the following years to working in the Montreal restaurant industry, namely at one of the city’s very first microbreweries.
These proved to be excellent experiences for starting a gourmet company. Louis-André and Sylvie both wanted to shift their careers toward a new project, and baking seemed to offer the solution they were looking for. Theirs was the very first traditional bakery in the neighbourhood when its doors opened in 1996. You only have to take a few minutes’ walk along the Fleury promenade these days to see how much the area’s businesses have taken off. You could almost say that Louis-André and Sylvie were local pioneers!
The bakery’s success can clearly be explained by the quality of the products found there. When you pop in, make sure to get at least one baguette or a loaf of sourdough as these are the shop’s classic products which they’ve worked so hard on perfecting for all these years.
In fact, the bakery’s baguettes have received a number of awards: 2nd place in the Association des boulangers artisans du Québec’s Best Traditional Baguette Competition, Best Baguette in Montreal in 2015 according to La Presse, and the same in 2014 according to CTV. And that’s not even counting the awards for best croissants in the city, and Fleury Celebrity of the Year!
So what’s the secret to success for their baguettes and sourdough breads? Obviously, they’re all made on the spot, plus only the most basic and essential ingredients are used to produce them. Everything is done with the utmost respect for traditional French baking methods.
While we’re on the subject of tradition, the Boulangerie also makes sure to impart its wisdom to future generations. For over twelve years, the bakery has been organizing bread-related activities for the local primary school’s grade five students, giving kids the opportunity to learn all about baking and what it’s like to be a baker.
Aside from bread, the shop also offers a delicious selection of pastries, ready-made meals prepared on the spot, as well as desserts; and we simply cannot ignore these desserts! Pastry chef Jacques Morin is a veritable artist with sweet dough. What’s even more great is that he has all the creative room he needs to make totally wild seasonal products.
On Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, for example, Jacques confectioned a caked he called ‘Le Québécois’: a pouding chômeur base lightly infused with the Wabasso distillery’s Bourgeon maple liqueur, along with a wild blueberry mousse, maple blueberry jelly, and amble maple syrup cream. Is your mouth watering yet?
Incidentally, they make a point of ensuring that nearly everything you find in their desserts, on their shelves, or at the cheese counter is locally produced. Almost all the products sold in their fine foods section are 100% from Québec.
We dare you not to stop in on your next trip around the Promenade Fleury!
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