Tharshan Selvarajah wins the best traditional French baguette in Paris 2023

Tharshan Selvarajah of Au levain des Pyrénées wins Best Traditional French Baguette 2023

Baker Tharshan Selvarajah has won the top title of the Meilleure Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris (the best traditional French baguette of Paris), an annual competition dedicated to honoring the quintessential French baguette in the City of Paris.

Selvarajah who arrived in Paris from Sri Lanka at the age of 21, holds court at Au levain des Pyrénées on 44 rue des Pyrénées in the 20th arrondissement. He takes the title from the previous year’s victor, Damien Dedun and will now have the honor of delivering fresh baguettes to the Élysée Palace and the kitchens of the Hôtel de Ville.

The 37-year-old outshone Thierry Guyot from the 5th arrondissement’s Guyot bakery and secured his place ahead of Jocelyn Lohezic from Maison Lohezic, in the 17th arrondissement, in this distinguished ranking.

See also: Tear into the most delicious breads at the Fête du Pain this May 13 – May 21

Photo by Anastasia Lashkevich

For 30 years, the City of Paris has hosted this annual tribute to the traditional French baguette, beckoning local bakers to showcase their finest creations.

This year’s contest was held on May 10th, where 126 baguettes were chosen from a pool of 175 for evaluation and tasting. Each entry vying for the title of the best traditional baguette in Paris had to meet exacting standards, including specific dimensions, weight, and salt content. The baguettes underwent rigorous assessment based on a variety of elements including their baking, taste, crumb, honeycomb, and aesthetic appeal.

See also: Are croissants really French?

Photo by Mariana Kurnyk

This year’s discerning jury encompassed professionals and six Parisians, chosen at random. They were accompanied by Olivia Polski, the Deputy Mayor of Paris with responsibility for trade, crafts, and independent professions, and representatives from industry federations, including Franck Thomasse, president of the Syndicat des Boulangers du Grand Paris.

On the day of the competition, the jury thoroughly scrutinized, touched, smelled, and savored the assortment of baguettes. The intoxicating aroma of fresh bread filled the Syndicat des Boulangers du Grand Paris headquarters in the 4th arrondissement. The task was no small feat as each jury member sampled a staggering 62 baguettes within a span of 4 hours. Remaining baguettes found a new home with the La Chorba association.

Beyond the €4000 prize money, the Best Traditional French Baguette of Paris accolade bestows upon the winning bakery immense prestige and the privilege of serving the Mayor of Paris’s kitchen for the ensuing year.

The Fête du Pain also crowned the best croissant in Paris for 2023. Click here to find out which bakery took the title.

Grand Prix de la meilleure baguette de Paris

1. Tharshan Selvarajah
Au Levain des Pyrénées
44 rue des Pyrénées, 75020

2. Thierry Guyot
Boulangerie-pâtisserie Guyot
28 rue Monge, 75005

3. Jocelyn Lohezic
Maison Lohezic
143 rue de Courcelles, 75017

4. Benjamin Turquier
Tout Autour du Pain
134 rue de Turenne, 75003

5. Florian Bleas
Aux Délices de Vaugirard
48 rue Madame, 75006

6. Frank Tombarel
Le Grenier de Félix
64 avenue Félix Faure, 75015

7. Kilani Ounissi
Boulangerie Kilani
191 rue du faubourg Saint-Antoine, 75011

8. Maxime Julien
Les Saveurs de Lévis
41 rue de Lévis, 75017

9. Mohkam Karoui
Le Temps d’une Gourmandise
94 boulevard de Port-Royal, 75005

10. Kouni Elayeb
Le Délice de Bagnolet
42 boulevard Mortier, 75020

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