Refreshing a two day old loaf of French Bread. From France.

Andy went on a trip to Calais this weekend to get our wine for Christmas.

Is it worth travelling to France to buy wine?

People say these trips, often referred to as 'booze cruises', are dying. They say you don't save much money and, with the fluctuating pound against the Euro, it's not worth it. I'm here to tell you: it most definitely IS worth it.

We routinely pick up wines for £2-£3 per bottle which are generally £8-£10 in supermarkets in the UK. And yes, we run a home brewing business and we make our own wine. However I have yet to work out how to make a sauvignon blanc or shiraz that compare with my favourites that we buy. Not to mention a decent sparkling wine. And whilst I love making many of our own things: life really is too short for rough wine. But beware. Once you've bought really nice wines at this price, it becomes extremely difficult to bring yourself to pay full price in the UK.

We're lucky to be able to do this trip pretty frequently, because we live in the South East of England with easy access to the coast. What isn't so easy is persuading two children who are shattered from a week at school that they want to go to France for the day to hang out in wine shops and supermarkets. The ferry is fun. The shopping? Not so much. So sometimes we do them together, this time Andy went alone. When Andy does these trips, if he leaves around 7am he can literally be home by tea time... with a bit of planning.

Bringing French Goodies back from France

Before he left, Andy asked the boys if they would like him to bring anything back for them. Our 12 year old wanted 'French Orangina' (identical to the Orangina we can buy here, so far as we know). Our 9 year old wanted a 'French baguette'. So when Andy popped into Carrefour Calais in-between wine stores, he dutifully picked up Orangina and a French baguette.

Making stale bread taste fresh

He also bought my favourite goat's cheese. I wonder why certain foods we buy abroad taste better than when we buy them at home, despite the fact that they're probably exactly the same?!

When Andy returned on Saturday evening we ate a small piece of the baguette. We then completely forgot about it. Roll forward to Monday lunchtime. What to have for lunch? Can't bear to waste that loaf that Andy brought all the way home from France! I wondered whether my trick for refreshing a one day old baguette works for bread that is two days old? I can confirm: yet it does.

Making old bread taste fresh

How to Refresh an Old Loaf of Bread

Refreshing a one or two day old baguette is very simple. Turn your oven up as high as it will go, give it a few minutes to get really hot. Run the cold tap and, with it running, flash your baguette quickly under the stream of water for less than a second.

You're looking for the bread to be surface wet, rather than soaked through. Then put the loaf straight into your hot oven.

Remove it with an oven glove after 5 minutes. The bread will be good as new, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside.

We enjoyed ours with butter, homemade chilli jam, red onion marmalade and the lovely goat's cheese. Yum.

 

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