As an Australian, one finds that their eating traditions are not necessarily in tandem with the rest of the world. You can only eat so much Vegemite on toast and feel like you are representing culture. Luckily, traveling has opened my eyes up to the usage and styles of bread around the world. Try Europe, for example. In this context, bread cultures offer a wide range.
See the United Kingdom. They have what some might call a sophisticated culture surrounding bread and pastries. It often comes along with tea time and in the form of crumpets. Otherwise, bread is not hugely important when it comes to meals and the likes. Then you cross the channel into France and your world turns inside out with bread. They have certainly mastered this trade. I couldn’t say how long it has taken to reach this point, but it summits all necessary pinnacles of taste and appreciation.
It all starts with the baguette. That long crusty genius of a bread that you might find children using in imitation sword fights on the street. They are on every family table in the morning and play an important role in a successful breakfast. Beyond the baguette you have croissants and chocolate filled wonders that the rest of the world seemingly tries to imitate, but doesn’t quite do the job. Adding a bit of their famous stinky cheese and you are on your way to a pleasant round of meals, usually with breakfast and dinner.
Now we venture into central Europe. Austria, Germany, even Czech Republic. Reaching just north of Italy, another well-known source for bread delectables. Here, we have your typical breakfast bread, often of a wheat variation. That’s a trend i’ve noticed: more wheat in the west, more white in the south. It’s seemingly more healthy and firmer, the critics rush to suggest. It’s nothing so spectacular, but people tend to bake their own, and as far as I’ve found, that’s a feat in and of itself. A culture of self-sustainability, organic production. I see the benefits both to health and the environment and I have to say it’s not a bad model to follow. And, I might add, it tastes mighty fine with a nice sausage from the neighbors farm!