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Paul: Where bread talks for itself
By Jun 13, 2007 Dining

When I was younger, my mum used to go on about how it was so frustrating spending "hours over a hot stove" to see the product demolished within minutes. When I was "demolishing" my onion bread roll from Paul, I nearly choked when the manager, Francis Mouly, told me that it had been baked for seven and a half hours. Ok, so finally there is some good bread in Pudong. Since being in Shanghai, I have failed to find some really yummy and more importantly fresh bread and I had come armed with my assailant (my French friend); if anyone knew good French bread it was her.

Paul have over three hundred branches in France alone and have only now ventured to China. This branch is one of the first to open and they plan to open several more in Puxi soon. Opened a mere three weeks now, Paul already seems in place in the centre of Thumb Plaza; a complex of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. This modern style complex has a nice, clean atmosphere about it, with benches to sit on and arty monuments and water features. With Nike, KTV, Pizza Hut, Coconut Bar and a huge variety of Asian Restaurants to name a few, the complex or 'Plaza' is a really nice place to spend a few hours. Set well away from the river side of Pudong, it is a fair way from Puxi and probably makes for a nicer place to go for those actually living in Pudong. However, I for one would make the trip across the river just to taste what Paul has to offer.

Founded in 1889, the bakery started as a small family business in the North of France in a small town near Lille, it only became "Paul" a few years down the line when the family bought out another bakery with this name. All the methods and recipes remain intact, and follow the traditions passed down through the ancestors. The manager explained that keeping the traditional recipes and ingredients (they import their flour from France) was extremely important to them. I was told that the huge variety of breads and pastries within the shop are influenced from all parts of France, for example the olive bread is very traditional of Southern France and the sesame bread; the North. There seems to be a lot of passion behind it all, talking to the manager, he told me about the importance they place on "marrying" the flavours of the breads. Personally all I knew was that my roll tasted good, married I don't know.
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