Please sign in to post.

Advice on Bringing Pastries and Bread Home

Hey all,

I will be in Paris in a couple of weeks, and I would love to bring some baked goods from local boulangeries/patisseries back to the states to share with family. I'm not a stranger to bringing bread/pastries home with me from other countires, but this will be my first time bringing some from France. Has anyone done this before? And if so, what type of pastries/bread do you suggest I choose (based on sturdiness and how well they keep)?

Thank you,

Esmeralda

Posted by
6211 posts

I wouldn't do it. The major reason bread and pastries taste so good abroad is that they're baked daily and are fresh...I don't think I would settle for less. Besides, you can get wonderful bread in LA (as well as pastries) that are comparable in quality and taste to the ones in France...and they'll be fresh baked.

Posted by
2497 posts

I agree with Agnes. They won't keep. The bread will be stale and the pastries will be soggy and stale.

Posted by
2235 posts

Esmeralda, you might bring them back "on your hip," as they say.

"A moment on your lip, a lifetime on your hip"

Posted by
503 posts

My sister and I once brought several croissants home from France as well as some schneebal (sp?) from Rothenburg. Aside from being a little worse for the wear, they still tasted great. Go ahead and try it, why not?

Posted by
20687 posts

My wife insisted on bring home a baguette from Paris last Fall. First, we had to buy it late pm the day before we were leaving since we had to be at the airport by six. By the next morning it is about 12 hours old but carefully wrapped. Eighteen hours after waking up we are home. The baguette is now about 33 hours old. Marginally eight hours of sleep or so. Another ten hours of baguette aging - now almost two days old. It was crusty, tad hard, a little mashed from riding in the carry on but it was a Paris baguette. We could eat about half. BUT it came from Paris. I think our local French bakery has better baguettes.

Posted by
2537 posts

Esme, I too would side with the advice to sample for your favorites and seek out a good French bakery when you return to LA to buy baguettes and pastries to share with your relatives. If you google french bakeries in Los Angeles you'll find examples such as this one http://chaumontbakery.com.

You can buy drinking chocolate in France to carry back and make hot frothy chocolate to have with your morning favorites. That would be easier to transport. Also buy French butter and jams in the US to add to your special French breakfast. Markets like WHole Foods, Gelsons and Bristol Farms carry the good butter and jams. Enjoy sampling while you are in France!

Posted by
1465 posts

How have you handled this in the past? I'm thinking a large ziplock bag for the bread. Many of the French pastries we've seen require refrigeration, so you don't want to bring those on a long flight. Laduree macroons have quite the "name" and you can buy them at the airport in containers that seem to be designed for travelers. They are popular if the lines are any indication, so build in extra time if you plan to do this and are flying out of terminal 2. Not sure if they are in any other terminal. They have almost no self-life, (which is why people buy them at the airport and not in the city and they crush easily), so you'll need plan to share them almost immediately upon return.

Have a fun trip.

Posted by
6419 posts

forget it and go to bakery in home town that does pastries or bread like the french. because to put that in checked baggage for hours will cause ruin

Posted by
5537 posts

My dad always does this -- takes home one last baguette. Definitely do NOT wrap it in plastic, that is the fastest way to kill it. Just wrap it in a tea towel or other cloth.

Is it stale and a bit hard by the time he's eating it for his breakfast the morning after he's arrived back in Oklahoma? Yes.

Does he derive enjoyment from it because it's a real Paris baguette, the last one he'll have for a while? Yes.

Posted by
2466 posts

If you are intent on bringing a baguette home, you can "refresh" it by wetting it slightly and putting it in the oven at 200 F on the oven rack.
It won't be the same, but dreams die hard.

Croissants and pains aux chocolat are worse, and dry out almost immediately.
Creme-filled pastries are obviously out, because they will spoil rapidly.
Macarons are too fragile to travel, even if you get them from the airport.

You can bring home a big loaf of unsliced bread, though. Use the "refresh" tactic for baguettes.

Posted by
784 posts

You may be able to buy some pastries at the airport and they may be packaged suitably for travel. I bought macarons from the Fauchon boutique at terminal 2E and they were packed in sturdy box, suitable to keep as a souvenir. They were still delicious when I got them homr. There is also a Laduree boutique at that terminal.

Posted by
4124 posts

Too bad you are not in Vienna as the Sachertorte can keep on a shelf for weeks (if not months) and comes in a wooden box.

Posted by
8716 posts

Thanks Emily, you HAD to tell me that. :( Looks like I'm going to have to make a stop in Vienna on my next trip.

Hmmm...what can I leave out of my bag so I can fit a Sacher Torte?

Posted by
4124 posts

Trust me, the Sachertorte is not worth the luggage space. I can't stand that dry, bitter cake.

Posted by
785 posts

Macrons travel just fine, in my experience. Maybe not exactly as light and perfect as if eaten on the spot, but a wonderful memory when consumed at home. Never tried to bring home bread from Europe, but have done it from San Francisco with mixed results.

Definitely do not put it in plastic of any type.

Posted by
6211 posts

There are outstanding bakeries in Los Angeles/region of every type, including French...there is no reason to bring any stale bread back from Paris. If you lived in a small or rural town, maybe French pastries/bread would be a really big deal, but this is Los Angeles we're talking about - which has rich culinary traditions of all kinds (I lived there 20+ years). If anything, I would bring back some really unique chocolate or something that's not as perishable and safe to travel. Macarons are everywhere (in large US cities), not too hard to find.
http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-fo-bakeries-los-angeles-2017-story.html

Posted by
6875 posts

Costco has baguettes from France in the freezer case.

Posted by
785 posts

Bets - our French friends turned us on to those frozen Costco baguettes!! Said they're pretty darn good for what they are.

Posted by
6211 posts

How do frozen baguettes taste? And isn't it a sacrilege to the French to buy frozen bread? I can't get myself to try to preserve bread past a day or two, I like the crispness/freshness too much...unfortunately, there are bad side effects of that :-(

Posted by
785 posts

Agnes, I don't eat them, but my husband says they are great. You just pop them in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes and voilà! Maybe not exactly like from a lovely Paris boulangerie, but unfortunately we cannot always be in Paris. :)

Posted by
16782 posts

Macarons are what my colleagues tend to bring back. If you see caneles, they are also small and harder to find here. Or I like the buttery koignettes (mini koign amans) from Maison George Larnicol (four locations) and think they would also travel well.

Posted by
2537 posts

We once stayed in a village that had only one boulangerie and one grocery store just outside of Aix en Provence. When we went to buy bread at the grocery store (the boulangerie was closed for the day) people were standing around an empty rack clutching paper baguette sleeves in their hands. Pretty soon the door to the back room opened and someone came out with hot baguettes. The people quickly grabbed them as fast as the baker could put them on the rack. There were trays of frozen baguettes in the back room by the ovens. We didn't care for those baguettes nearly as much as the fresh, baked at the boulangerie ones. You could definitely tell the difference by taste and texture.

Posted by
5 posts

In the past, I've been able to bring bread with me from other countries just by packing them well so they don't get squished on the journey. Bread does not survive in my house, it gets devoured right away. So there's no worry about it going stale!

I'm a native Angeleno so I know where to get French food/pastries/bread around me; but my parents insist that I bring them back a piece from wherever I go (we have a history of bakers in our family) so that's why I've started this thread :)

I'll definitely take all of your considerations to mind and play it by ear as I won't be near a boulangerie on my last nights (returning home from Disneyland Paris). Thank you all for your recommendations, I really appreciate it :)

Posted by
2556 posts

I've brought Laduree macarons at the airport and brought them all the way to San Francisco and they were perfect when the box was opened in California. I have also bought them and they have been destroyed by carryon items in the over head bin. You just have to be careful with where you store them -- under the seat in front of you is a good spot as long as you do not kick them. For bread, just wrap it in plastic and buy it the day you leave if possible or the day before at the earliest and then store it in an airtight container (I've done it with a ziplock bag but I cut the bread into thirds to make it fit) and then do as Chexbres suggests and sprinkle a bit of water on the bread and wrap it in foil and heat it up and then serve it immediately. It won't be as good as it was in Paris but it will be pretty good and if someone wants the bread for emotional/sentimental reasons, he or she will be thrilled that you remembered and cared enough to try to get them what they want.

Posted by
81 posts

I brought home some macarons for my son and they were fine. They were boxed up and the lady at the shop told us they'll last 2 days unrefrigerated or 21 days refrigerated. So we just put them in the fridge at each hotel, then again when we got home, the 1 week after that (19 days total) my son came home from camp and at them and said they were great.

Posted by
16998 posts

I've made unfilled macarons at home, and they certainly will keep for a while. I've never refrigerated mine (again, they are not filled), just put them in an airtight container.

I am doubtful that those pretty boxes of macarons are packed fresh every single day, anyway.

Some things that are designed for a long shelf life aren't much worth eating, in my experience. I felt that way about the pain d'epices I bought somewhere in France (Dijon?). I thought I had chosen a good source, but I threw away most of it--an extraordinarily rare event where things containing sugar are concerned.

Posted by
2466 posts

Wrap it in foil if you intend to freeze bread.
Unwrap and slightly wet the bread, put it directly on the oven rack at 200 F, turn it over and it will be fine.

Posted by
2837 posts

Definitely do NOT wrap it in plastic, that is the fastest way to kill it.

So true. Trust a Paris resident to know that.
We sometimes bring some bread home in an open carry-on bag. Pastries we'll eat on the plane. Too messy.