Donuts taking over France

American giant Krispy Kreme comes to Paris. Will our country succumb to a new wave of junk food? While we should avoid industrial versions of this donut, saturated with fat and sugar, more and more artisans are offering recipes for gourmets.

On December 6th, the foodies, still without their heads on their torsos, had their eyes fixed on a strange event that brought together a large crowd under the canopy of the Hallesin the heart of Paris. Krispy Kreme opened its first French point of sale that day, before considering 500 over the next five years, on the streets, shopping centers and airports. It is the thirty-ninth country in the world where this famous American brand, born in Nashville in 1934, he dropped his suitcases of glucose.

This first store, cleverly located, has all the characteristics of yet another Yankee junk food chain installed in our country. Its store lined with shelves of red, green and white merchandise gives the appearance of a baseball team’s fan zone, and the ordering terminals are uninviting. However, the Original Glazed, the original donut with its frozen sugar coating, goes through the tasting phase with some ease, light, without excess fat. It even exudes a certain freshness – the donuts are made on site, which gives them a more stellar reputation than that of their main competitor, Dunkin’ Donuts, which never dared to cross the Atlantic.

The Glazed Original by Krispy Kreme
Jeremy Bouchet

This opening with fanfare does not happen by chance: the donut has finally won its place here, while French gourmands have been mesmerized by American sweets for many years. There was the arrival of cookies – in 1985, the Illinois company Laura Todd set foot on our territory. Then cheesecakes and cupcakes, miniature delicacies with XXL calories decorated like stolen cars. But also carrot cake or brownie. With the exception of the cupcake, they all left their mark on French pastry. Today they are among the essential items in Pierre HerméPhilippe Conticini or Cédric Grolet, in a country that has always known how to draw inspiration from others – from choux to croissants, French pastry was often born elsewhere.

Garish colors and dripping toppings

If the donut took a while to seduce, it’s because at first glance it offers nothing more than our donut. “ Donut “, in English, also means ” donut “,” ring donut » for the ring and “ stuffed donut » in its full, stuffed version, like our French donuts. “In principle, it’s the same thing,” confirms Amanda Bankert, head of Bone-shaker. Furthermore, every culture in the world has its own variation of fried sweet dough. In practice, there are subtle differences. In France, donuts are a little smaller, a little less puffy and airy. American donuts also tend to be more decorated. »

Boneshaker Donut
Blaise Gargadennec/Zoé and Blaise

Amanda is the founder of Bone shaker, the first “ Donut Shop » Parisian, opened in 2015. Born in Virginia, she arrived in France in the early 2000s to study confectionery at Le Cordon Bleu school. After experiences as a pastry chef in several restaurants near Dublin, she returned to France in 2012 with the desire to have her own place – “At the time, no bank wanted to follow me, no one believed in the potential of the donut. » She perfects her recipe at home with a small fryer found at a flea market in Montmartre, supplies the first cafés in Paris, and delivers it by bicycle every morning. And I ended up finding a small two-story room, twice 8 mtworue d’Aboukir.

When importing the donut, unfortunately, businesspeople often chose to maintain the industrial image we have of it.

The beginnings are promising, supported by the curiosity of the media and local residents. “I expected we would only serve English speakers and tourists, but we were lucky. Even though unlike the USA, where the donut is perfect for breakfast, we had to accept that here it would be more of a snack. » The neighborhood is trendy and so is Boneshaker, making it a must-see spot on Sentier, with its first-floor window fogged by production and its cramped but warm welcome downstairs. Today, the brand still offers excellent donuts, made entirely by hand, on site, without worrying additives, in a larger space, a few rooms away, after a transition to 100% vegan without any drop in quality.

Momzi’s Donuts.
Leonardo Denison

Unfortunately, these completely artisanal donuts are far from representing the dozens of stores that appear every year in our country. When importing the donut, unfortunately, entrepreneurs often chose to maintain the industrial image we have of it: the pink cakes devoured by Homer Simpson, the bright colors, the sugar toppings, the multicolored sprinkles, the filling and pieces of Nutella from Kinder as decoration…“It’s ironic”, laughs Amanda Bankert, “it corresponds to an excessive image that the French have of our donuts, but we don’t eat that in the USA! »This donut, easier to find than Boneshaker nuggets, is a junk food hero, ubiquitous in supermarket bakeries, train station eateries and chain coffee shops across the country.

Beautiful plump donuts

In March, the second edition of the French donut championship will take place at the Sandwich & Snack Show. A competition created, with accompanying ideas, by Dawn Foods, an American company well established in France that supplies supermarkets and bakeries with donut mixes, ready-made toppings, etc. Two years earlier, the first edition crowned Niagalé Diallo, based in Pontoise, with her artisanal boutique Home Donuts, which has since spread across Île-de-France.

Momzi’s Donuts.
Nathalie Mohadjer for Vogue

However, it would be a shame to confine the little donuts from across the Atlantic to this catastrophic landscape. There is another path to the donut and the Boneshaker founder is far from the only one following it! Raamin Samiyi, co-founder of Momzi, is another great example. His donuts are works of art, placed on little pedestals in his little black ebony shop in the heart of Paris’ Japanese Quarter. Light, low-fat donuts, pretty as jewels, with yuzu and fresh thyme, or this homage to apple pie where the donut is delicately wrapped with an apple rosette.

When someone suggested making donuts, I was completely against it. (…) Then the idea of ​​making gourmet donuts amused me

Raamin Samiyi, co-founder of Momzi

American, with Iranian parents, Raamin Samiyi grew up dreaming of France. Arriving with us as soon as he could, he studied neuroscience, before giving it all up for pastry. Past to Thierry Marx or Yazid Ichemrahen in Avignon, became pastry chef at the Pilgrim gourmet restaurant in Paris. During the difficult period of CovidThe chef left, the restaurant became a pastry shop for a few months.“When someone suggested making donuts, I was completely against it. This was what I was fighting against; When I arrived in France, I rejected sugar, fast food and junk food. Then the idea of ​​making gourmet donuts amused me. »He uses noble ingredients, works with a more delicate and airy dough, fries his donuts in organic coconut oil,“one of the only oils that is stable and healthy at high temperatures.”This parenthesis will become Momzi, opening in late 2022.

Boneshaker Strawberry Donuts.
Blaise Gargadennec/Zoé and Blaise

Between the gorgeous, plump donuts and the balls of saturated fat and refined sugar, how do you find your way around?“Artisan donuts are made by hand,” explains Amanda Bankert. So, ours are slightly wobbly, they have small irregularities linked to the growth phase, manual cutting, etc. » “To identify industrial donuts, the first clue is these artificially colored toppings”, adds Raamin Samiyi. The colors of industrial donuts are completely uniform, as they are fried in ultra-precise machines. Many donuts are also bought frozen in stores, the texture becomes degraded. And the fried taste can be very disturbing, with toxic seeds or palm oils. »With ridiculous material costs and almost no labor, industrial donut shops are particularly profitable. But artisans also have a say and are starting to produce donuts across the country that Americans could envy.


Where to eat good donuts in France?

● The coffee and donut shop Snickelfritz (5, Pasteur course in Bordeaux).

● The store with the pink front Donut (241, rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux and 25, rue Saint-Rémi in Bordeaux).

● The donut shop owned by English sisters Emma and Tara, Fluffy Donuts (7, rue du Docteur Albert-Balestre in Nice).

● Sweet and savory donuts Blackest house (15, rue du Pont-Vieux in Nice).

● The donut bakery Café Blanc d’Argent (19, rue Alphonse-Daudet in Marseille 13It is).

● Sweet or savory donuts from the monomaniac store The donut house (7, rue des Manneliers in Lille).

● Vegan and organic donuts from Funky dough (7, rue de Geôle in Caen).

● Long-rising air donuts Paradise Donuts (3, rue Jean-Daumas in Cannes).

● The eccentric creations of Cocorosalike the croissant donut (46, rue Boulbonne in Toulouse).

● The pistachio-maniac pastry Selina (10, Lafayette course in Lyon 3It is).

● Donuts from pioneer Amanda Bankert in Bone Shaker (86, rue d’Aboukir in Paris 2It is).

● Couture donuts Mommy (1, rue Cherubini in Paris 2It is).

● The banh mi and donut counter Nonette (71, rue Jean-Pierre-Timbaud in Paris 11It is).

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