A French delight
Baguette is Sri Lanka’s first authentic French bakery that has been in the industry for over five years now. Speaking to Baguette Founder Nathalie Pujolle on the inception of the bakery, she said: “I was born in Provence, France. After a long corporate career in finance in Tokyo, I decided to pursue my passion and train in pastry at French culinary school ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ and come to this beautiful island to open an authentic French bakery.”
She added that once she visited Sri Lanka, she saw potential in the food industry for the tourism sector, as many expats were looking for authentic food; upon this realisation, she started Baguette back in 2016, and it is now thriving in two different locations.
Commenting on the journey of Baguette, she exclaimed that it has been an amazing adventure so far. “From hiring skilled bakers to importing quality ingredients from Europe and promoting the French way of life like biting into a buttery, flaky croissant or a crunchy sourdough baguette, it has all been very insightful and exciting.”
After close to six years here, she added that she is still learning about Sri Lanka and about herself. Over the years, her clients have become her consultants and her team her family.
Baguette has established itself as the best place in Sri Lanka to get authentic French croissants made with pure butter from France. They also have a range of artisanal breads and indulgent desserts, and are renowned for the authenticity of their French flaky croissants and macaroons.
Describing how they perfect their croissants and the secret behind why customers keep coming back for more, Nathalie said: “The dough we use for our croissants has been folded over and over again to create dozens of thin layers of butter and dough. We also make sure our croissants have a nice flaky outer crust that falls off easily. So the messier it gets, the better the croissant!”
Nathalie also told us that they recently launched a new, innovative menu at their Mount Lavinia café that combines Sri Lankan flavours, incorporating them into dishes from Europe and France. One of their signature items is the croissant sandwich, which is their typical flaky croissant stuffed with a filling of your choice from their menu.
“We also observed that more than half of our customers are Sri Lankan, and the French food doesn’t cater to the Sri Lankan palate in terms of how spicy it is. So, we made a range of café dishes and baked goods with fillings that are bound to tantalise your taste buds with a kick like the popular spicy chicken croissant,” she said, adding that incorporated Sri Lankan classics such as seeni sambol, spicy chicken curry, and kochchi into the sandwich and crêpe menu, after some valued input from their customers.
Baguette specialises in sourdough bread. Nathalie stated that if you ask their customers, they will assure you that they have the best bread in Sri Lanka. They offer over 10 different varieties of sourdough breads, made without additional preservatives, sugar, or instant sourdough. “Everything we offer is made from scratch using only the finest ingredients, from the flour we mix to the bread we shape by hand. We import our flour from a 600-year-old flour mill in Germany to give our customers the most authentic experience.”
The story of Baguette started with our various sourdough starters, composed of fermented flour and water, that make the sourdough bread rise without using commercial yeast full of chemicals. Sourdough bread offers numerous benefits such as better digestion, nutrient intake, longer natural preservation, and is bread that’s been made for thousands of years.
Touching on their plans for this year, Nathalie revealed that they will open a new outlet operating as a bakery and café around the third week of March, at No. 31, Queens Road, Colombo 3, and told their customers to keep an eye out for that.
You can visit Baguette French Bakery at No. 71A, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7, or Baguette French Bakery & Café at No. 174, Galle Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia (BC Lifestyle building).