12 Apr, 2016 Newsletter

12 April 2016

Dreams become a reality when you cease accepting them as distinct from your life

Our emails, once a week, will keep New Orleanians informed about the State of Grain in our city and our region. As you know, Bellegarde is the only bakery in between Asheville and Arizona that stone-mills its own flour. We strive to source organic grains that we mill fresh and bake into healthy and delicious whole grain breads. We are convinced that the health issues which plague our city—obesity, violence, mis-education, ecological and cultural erosion—are bound to the lack of fresh food. Food access is a systemic Policy issue: everyday that we bake whole grain bread with freshly milled flour, we tweak one more nerve in the System. Each nerve pinch is our desire to re-establish our region as a self-efficient food economy and re-create the cuisine of New Orleans with fresh ingredients…a revolutionary Gordian knot.

We all speak the language of food and we all seek the pleasure of flavor. What more perfect medium to communicate change than with bread? Pandering to demand in a regional food system is not as important as nurturing supply: quality will dictate quantity. Help us democratize that staff of life.

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Pizza Night: Our next Pizza Night at Paradigm Gardens is this Monday night. Adrian at Ancora will grace us with his skills, talent, and patience. And Jess Stokes of Rock, Paper, Pie will also be gracing us with her dessert presence: whole grain pies! We will prove, again, that whole grains can taste good, better, beyond. Changing the paradigm at Paradigm Gardens. Evangelizing with flavor.

Retail Bread: Please send me an email at bellegardebakery@gmail.com if you’d be interested in picking up bread from the bakery; we currently bake our country bread Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; we’ve also begun to bake a beautiful whole-grain RYE BREAD on Wednesdays. Pick up is available from 7am until 1pm on any of those days. $9/each.

Bread Classes: There are no more spots in our May class…Our next bread class will be held on June 5th, 2016. Class will be held at the Bakery, from noon to 6pm, and everything will be provided: lunch, breads to take home, equipment, and flour. The purpose of the class is to democratize bread. That means we’ll only use equipment found in typical home kitchens and no tool will be fancy: we want the pleasure of our craft to be opened and appreciated by everyone willing to take a patient crack. Encourage empowerment and persuade with flavor. No kitchen aids, no mystique, no gimmicks or cookbooks: pleasure can’t be bought. We’ll mill flour in house and the classes will be conducted by Graison and another Bellegarde baker. Classes are reserved to 14 spaces and tickets are $120 each, completely inclusive. Please email me if you are interested in attending.

Our first bread class went wonderfully. We put a tremendous amount of effort in the planning, execution, and fulfillment of having 16 folks come into the bakery for six hours on top of achieving normal production needs (500 loaves of bread in six hours). Steve, Suzanne, Alex, KC, and Carly at the bakery were great helps with definitive stamina. In all, the class baked 60 loaves of whole grain breads—entirely by hand—with freshly stone milled flour and natural sourdough, New Orleans water, and Avery Island salt. We performed, a la Jacques Derrida, a deconstruction of a loaf of bread. We took it to its studs: flour. And we allowed people’s taste, not their judgments, to decide what was best. Whole grains reign! We sought to leave qualitative verdicts at the door and instead delve into flavor—with nose, mouth, eyes, and hands. With time, and relative patience. Everyone from financial managers to sous chefs to models to restaurateurs to gardeners and professors all got to participate in the beauty of bread. It always tickles us to the marrow of our bones when we can share what we love so much with others. It really does. Thanks to everyone who came and we look forward to the next one

Articles: BELLEGARDE was selected as of one America’s top ten bread bakeries of 2016. It’s a trade publication, Dessert Professional, that I used to read during lunch breaks at baking school SFBI. Pretty cool to be on the footsteps of the Pantheon. Vindicating. When they asked me for a headshot, I sent one, but requested that they use our group portrait instead of my own.  I sign the checks, but my coworkers are the ink in that pen. Water makes a fountain, not sculpture.  Tish the editor was very gracious and helpful, so we thank her too for her ears and support. And of course if it weren’t for the persistence, integrity, and patience of our customers—commercial and public—who have stuck through our passion the past three years, none of it would matter. None of it. None of it. Even if we don’t see the thousands of people who eat our bread each week, the bond is deep and the nodes are now roots. Without spending a dollar on hyperbole, PR, or advertisements, we hope that we’ve proven the value of sincerity, honesty, and hard work. It’s not so much that those values “pay off”; it’s that they steer one away from the temptation of success. Whatever that is. Passion has no bank. We’ve made our mistakes and have our faults—vulnerability is the oxygen of life—but the intent of desire to do well, to do good, for others through ourselves, will never snuff. We thank those in our lives who made us possible. Hope this link works: article.

Website: Some info on the grain being ground on Toledano Street is now here: Currently Milling. By being transparent and traceable, we hope not only to encourage other bakers and chefs in New Orleans to do the same but, eventually, make it the reality. Honesty should not be an option, nor should origin: in food, in love, in literature, or life. You know where everything else comes from: why not your flour, your grits?

Soul Food

“Once having been asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The kingdom of God does not come from your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is’ or ‘There it is’ because the Kingdom of God is within you.”

St. Luke, Chapter 17. Verse 20. A gentle reminder, in this “election” cycle, that the most valuable ballot is empowerment. Self-worth, respect, courage, and solidarity. If we have the privilege to know right and wrong, the moral imperative is integrity. “Nonviolence,” in the words of Dr. King, “holds that evildoers are victims too.” When you see fire, don’t reach for matches.