30 Aug The Place of Bread in the Mauritian Culture
As a supplier of raw materials to bakers, we hold a prominent behind-the-scenes position within the bread industry in Mauritius. This enables us to have a broad perspective on the consumers’ tastes. Do the latter change a lot? Do we, Mauritians, eat a lot of bread? What are our habits and preferences?
We, Mauritians, and our bread. It’s quite something…
Bread is a part of our culture and we eat it everyday, in various ways: for breakfast, at 10 morning snacks, at lunch in school canteens, offices, working sites and even for dinner to accompany dishes!
Which breads do we eat? And how?
Top of our list, we have the famous and all-time favourite “pain maison”! These crispy bread rolls are round-shaped, split in two, weighing around 100g for a fixed price of Rs 2.70 each unit as per regulations. This type of bread has always been here and shares the history of Mauritius with us. It’s OUT OF QUESTION to eat chilli buns (AKA “gato piment”), “achard”, our local pickles or the unique fish “vindaye” in something other than a “pain maison”!
Then, the baguette or half-baguette is our runner-up. That one must not be confused with the French baguette, as the Mauritian baguette is wider and less crispy. Baguettes, which has pretty much replaced the “pain maison” eventually, are mainly used for what we call here, stuffed bread: if the fillings are a little more European-like, such as roasted chicken, salad, & mayo, they are usually stuffed in a baguette, and this is how the bread is transformed into a “stuffed bread”.
In third position we have what we call the tin bread and his cousin, the “corbillard”. Bought as a whole or sliced, it accompanies many dishes and holds an important place on the breakfast table as toasts. When they go stale, we use them for our delicious bread puddings. On the other hand, regardless of the fillings, if the bread being used is sliced tin bread, then you just made yourself a sandwich-bread Mauritian style!
Why are these breads the most popular?
These types of breads are at the top of our favourite list for both economic and cultural reasons. Most people, employees, pupils and students just don’t have the means to eat out throughout the month. The prices of the mentioned breads being set by the Government, no surprise for the budget, especially that most of the time it’s the remains of yesterday’s diner that are given a second chance to be served for lunch inside the bread!
What about the cultural reasons? Old habits die hard: we’ve always been used to bringing our own bread to school and at work and that’s working very well, why would we want to change it? Besides, we have to admit that the “pain maison” also brings the nostalgic taste of childhood and the memories of the bread seller who used to drop by at dawn to distribute oven-fresh breads!
So, where does this leave La Dorade?
To make bread, one needs flour. We are proud to be part of this wonderful bread tradition, bakers and millers since more than thirty years by supplying this very flour to bakeries all over the island together with the raw materials and ingredients needed to make top-notch bread.