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The Netherlands, Russia and France stand proud on the Louis Lesaffre podium.

The Netherlands, Russia and France won the Louis Lesaffre cup, thereby bagging their tickets for the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. Following on from the previous competitions, the Europe selection delighted the baking world with impressive creations that showed technical prowess and innovation.

A Europe selection with a lot of emotions

The prize giving on the 28th August, that marked the end of the Europe selection challenges, was an emotion-filled event at the Barrière Casino in Lille (France). On this occasion, the candidates had the honour of receiving a standing ovation from the excited crowd and were congratulated by eminent individuals like the mayor of Marcq-en-Baroeul (the birth place of Lesaffre) and the Swedish consul.

To undertake these challenges, which took place at the Lesaffre International Baking Center™, the 11 countries were divided into two zones: Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Serbia, Russia and Poland) and Western Europe (Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Israel).

In addition to the adrenalin and the pressure that weighed heavy on the candidates, we will also remember the sense of fair play and the spirit of solidarity that carried them to the end of the competition.

Excellence in “all the challenges”

In this incredible international baking adventure, the 11 countries caused a sensation with the jury president, Pierre Zimmermann, and the 4 other jury members (Bernd Kütscher, Pao-Chun Wu, Haïf Hakim and Carlos Pereira). Not only was the elevated level stimulating for our jury, but in particular the jury members appreciated the will and effort shown by each team in adapting to the new competition requirements. Faced with such talent, the jury often had hard choices to make!

Focus on the winners:

• The team from the Netherlands showed it was truly inspired and knew how to convince the jury members it was ready to go on to the Coupe du Monde.

• The Russian team was exclusively made up of women. As well as this specific point, which delighted the jury, these candidates showed dynamism, efficiency and inventiveness…a good recipe for getting noticed.

• Finally, the French team scored its great return to the podium thanks to an excellent level in each of the three specialities.

The special prizes :

The prize for the young bakery hopefuls

This European slice of young hopefuls confirmed the trend already seen in the previous selections: inventiveness and a real joy in creating products. Even the children’s jury, whose judgement was taken into account by the professional jury, showed its amazement, especially with the Minions. These very current creations stood alongside mice, little pigs, fish and gourmet cornets… This incredible tea of many colours showed the remarkable ability of the young bakers to adapt to such a specific audience –children. In a second place tie: the Netherlands and Spain.

The food critic’s prize

The gastronomic critic brings to the competition a professional view from the restaurant industry, in which bread forms the base of all cuisines and is an integral part of meals. This was the 1st time our Michelin-starred chef from the Val d’Auge, Christophe Hagnerelle, had experienced the competition. He was deeply impressed by the diversity of bread making in Europe and his heart was won over by … Sweden.

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