Sunday, June 16, 2024

Baguettes are the focus of a Sunday event in East Cambridge. (Photo: France Bon Appétit via Flickr)

A slice of France comes to Cambridge on Sunday with Le Grand Prix Elmendorf du Pain, the city’s first baguette competition.

Hosted by Elmendorf Baking Goods and Supplies, the event is inspired by a famous Paris competition in which hundreds of bakers compete for best-baguette glory. In this competition, the professional winner becomes the official bread and baguette supplier for the residence of the French Consulate of Boston, but Elmendorf owners Teddy and Alyssa Applebaum say the real meaning lies in the craft.

“The whole idea in France,” Teddy Applebaum said, is that the breadmakers’ competition “brings them back to caring about their product. And that’s something that we think is worth doing anywhere.”

There will be amateur and professional categories – submitting sourdough and traditional loaves, respectively – with the 50 amateur slots filled to compete for prizes of Pampshades, lamps made of real bread. “Homemakers [are] getting excited and practicing their bread over and over again,” Teddy Applebaum said. “And professionals are showing pride in their work … it brings this whole baking community together.”

There were a dozen professional competitors by Thursday afternoon, which the Applebaums thought could rise to 15 by Sunday. There are only 25 qualified bakeries in Greater Boston “and we reached out to everyone,” Teddy Applebaum said. “Maybe someone will show up on the day of.”

Each bakery will bring three loaves for judges to sample in a blind taste test, with results expected to post at 3 p.m. The amateur competition brings the sampling and loaves to 86, and there will be more on hand for sale.

Aside from the bake-off, the event promises locally made French food, small-business vendors and live music. Some vendors in Sunday’s event are Formaggio Kitchen, Breadboard Bakery, Wild Pops, the New Deal Fish Market, Emma’s Macarons, Waffle Cabin, Michette Bakery and Batifol, the Kendall Square restaurant that won Planning Board approval in March to open an adjoining bakery on Third Street.

The Applebaums, Formaggio alums who opened Elmendorf at a former Petsi Pies space at 594 Cambridge St. in 2018,  have been cooking up a Cambridge version of this idea for quite some time.

“Even before we opened we thought the competition was so cool. Then the pandemic hit. But we finally got our bearings under ourselves again,” Teddy Applebaum said. “We’re like, let’s just do this.”

The project was created with the East Cambridge Business Association. “We’re trying to bring this vision to life,” said executive director Jason Alves said, who filed a request Thursday with the License Commission for attendance of 3,000 people. “The enthusiasm for this event was pretty hot out the gate,” Alves said.

  • Le Grand Prix Elmendorf du Pain bread competition and Parisian street fair takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday  at Cambridge and Eighth streets, East Cambridge. Information is here.