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Behind the Scenes: Inside the Bakery at Epcot’s France Pavilion

posted on April 28th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You smell it before you see it – that unmistakable aroma of freshly baked bread hot from the oven. As you enter Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion at Epcot, all five senses are awakened when you smell the bread, see the beautiful pastries, hear the lilting sound of French, touch, then taste your favorite. Maybe a crisp baguette or buttery croissant. Or a Napoleon or macaron or éclair … maybe a jambon beurre sandwich or quiche Lorraine. So many choices, so little time.

Every single item in the bakery case is made by hand – in the on-stage bread ovens or in the bustling upstairs bakery where the crew arrives before daybreak to make buttery croissants, dense quiche Florentine and parfaits almost too pretty to eat. You’ll be hungry just looking at these delicious photos by Disney photographer Matt Stroshane.

We got a special behind-the-scenes peek at the expansive upstairs bakery that’s as big as Les Halles below, with cooks busy making crème brûlèe, slicing fresh Napoleon, piping éclairs and putting the finishing touches on chocolate mousse and strawberry tarts. A tray of freshly baguettes with ham and cheese with Dijon mustard butter, a classic Parisian sandwich, was readied for the first guests of the day. Freshly made macarons in jewel tones, light as a feather, were gently placed in little boxes.

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Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie opens at 9 a.m., ahead of World Showcase, and is a wonderful little hideaway for breakfast. The pastry team of 30, under the direction of Pastry Chef Olivier Saintemarie, starts their day at 5 a.m. and rotates throughout the day until 11 p.m. to make sure guests have the freshest taste of France.

We headed back downstairs to chat with Chef Baker Matthieu Cabon from Brittany, France, who, with his team of six, turns out 700 to 800 baguettes every single day, along with specialty breads such as brioche and croissants. He started baking at age 15, and studied only bread making for four years – “I mastered bread the old-school way … no shortcuts,” he says. It was the aroma that determined his career, he says, as well as the quiet of early-morning hours when bakers do their best work.

“Bread is limitless, it just takes imagination,” says Matthieu.

And, really, it’s just four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water, but you must add “know how,” says the chef. Everything at Les Halles is made from scratch, and it takes two days, start to finish, to produce a perfect baguette. His bakers make all the breads for Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, Chefs de France, Monsieur Paul and brioche for the pavilion’s ice-cream shop.

“For baguettes, day one is slow fermentation, then the dough sits overnight in a cooler to coax out the flavor,” says Matthieu. “Day two we divide it, shape it and bake. That’s it.”

But it’s the artisan touch that makes a perfect baguette. “Bread is all about feeling, but the real boss is the dough, which can be temperamental with temperature, weather and humidity,” he says. “Dough follows nature, and a good baker knows just by touching whether it’s right.”

For a perfectly flaky croissant, the chef explains that the folding process is a science. “It takes six hours to shape, then it’s baked the next day,” he explains.

And for tartines, which Americans call “open-faced sandwiches,” the bakery makes a rustic loaf with blistered, rugged crust and tangy soft inside – Chef Matthieu knocks on the crust and knows by the sound if it’s perfect.

All told, they turn out eight different kinds of bread: baguettes, croissants, tartines, whole-grain loaves, pain de mie (a type of sliced bread), brioche, focaccia and walnut-raisin bread.

He and his team also make exquisite, smaller breads for Monsieur Paul: whole-grain loaves, rustic baguettes, poppy seed “epis” (a type of artisan French bread) and a mushroom, bacon and cheese bread that’s a guest favorite.

Matthieu deftly inserts a shovel-like peel into the hot oven and slides out a dozen or so crackly loaves. From the hint of a smile on his face, you know it’s a good morning.

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Caption This: Dino Gertie Dines At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 28th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Dino Gertie, the towering dinosaur who houses Dino Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction, brings a smile to many guests walking around the Lake Echo area. (To learn about Gertie’s place in film history, be sure to check out this previous post).

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What’s on her mind in the above photo? You tell us. Go ahead and “Caption This” image in the comments section below.

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QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa?

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations


With the addition of quizzes on the Disney Parks Blog, I’m excited to have a little fun testing your knowledge of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa! Even if you have never visited our beautiful resort in Hawai`i, take a look through some of our past Aulani blog posts to find the answers! Have fun and good luck!
 

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How Well Do You Know Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa?

What does the word “Aulani” mean in Hawaiian?
aulaniQZ
What is the name of the only teen spa in Hawai`i, found at Aulani?
Painted-SkyQZ
What are the names of the two water slides found at the Pu’u Kilo in the Waikolohe Valley?
puu-kilo-slideQZ
What is the name of the magical, interactive kids club found at Aulani?
AuntysQZ
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‘Show Your Disney Side Week’ on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Tony Shepherd, Producer, Broadcast Marketing


A few weeks ago, I dropped a not-so-subtle hint here on the Disney Parks Blog that there might be more Disney fun coming on “Wheel of Fortune” this season. Well, the wait is over: “Show Your Disney Side” Week starts tonight on “Wheel of Fortune!”

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Soak in the Great Outdoors of Skagway with Disney Cruise Line

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Port Adventures Manager


Last week, I shared with you some of our brand-new Port Adventures coming to Juneau during this summer’s Alaska sailings. Today, I’m excited to tell you about ways your family can experience Skagway’s great outdoors with Port Adventures new for this summer.

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Sixty Years of Innovation: Audio-Animatronics Technology Begins at Disneyland Park

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Continuing our look back at the amazing innovations that Disneyland has seen throughout its sixty years, we jump forward now to the 1960s and the invention of Audio-Animatronics technology. Inspired by an antique mechanical singing bird he found while visiting New Orleans, Walt Disney was driven to bring what he saw as three-dimensional animation to Disneyland. He enlisted the help of Imagineer and Disney Legend Wathel Rogers to take the bird apart and see how it – quite literally – ticked.

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It’s a Peaceful Morning at the China Pavilion at Epcot

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Of all the photos we’ve featured in our “morning” series, I have to say that this is my favorite shot so far. The morning sunshine hits the pond, lilypads and temple at the China Pavilion just perfectly. Such a peaceful sight! Now who is ready to explore World Showcase for the day?

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Officially Opens Today at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The collectible souvenir mugs are in at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the doors officially open today.

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Book Fall Walt Disney World Resort Vacations Now for Free Dine Offer

posted on April 27th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Are you planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation? Then we may have just made your day by announcing that our Free Dine offer is back!

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on April 26th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we announced some fantastic new experiences coming to the Disney Dream cruise ship this fall, including interactive youth areas themed to Star Wars and Disney Infinity.

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