Monday, September 5, 2011

Baker from Rouen

Roughly two-thirds of the distance between us and Lake Superior lies the Wisconsin city of Minocqua.  It is a vacation destination for Chicagoans and Wisconsinites.  As with all such places, the people there can see both ways, into the Northwoods, Paul Bunyan, cross-country skiing and bear-hunting and they also know about the stock markets, iPads, and struggles between Israelis and Palestinians.  Still, it was an attention-getter to see a French tricolor flying from a flagpole one day as we drove through.  The sign said "La Baguette".  Wow!  Not an everyday tone to that, not in the Northwoods.  

Stopping in, we saw pastry and other baking diplomas on the wall from Rouen.  We immediately had some of the great-looking tarts and coffee and bought some for the old folks we were going to.  It became a favorite, partly because of my romantic pictures of the baker and his wife living in France, deciding to move to Minocqua of all places and then actually relocating.  Turns out, the wife's mother was from Wisconsin.  But, as has happened before with good things, the support was not there.  After a few years, they moved their operation to Madison, a great place but one that we get to much less often.  

Our little city is ranked 28th largest among Wisconsin. (Although that rank is misleading since maybe 10 are actually part of the really big ones.) We don't have a large market in much, except great college students and insurance policies.  But one of the fun things we do have is a farmer's market.  At the end of Main Street (typical,eh?), it has just been redesigned and looks great.  Imagine the same Frenchman and his younger son, traveling across Madison, driving 100 miles north, to our market square early enough to have a good place in it.  Imagine our delight upon finding their pear tarts and multigrain breads there.  Imagine the taste.

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