March 8, 2010, PARIS – The highlight of Day 2 was undoubtedly the dinner party at Musee des Arts Forains, which is a kind of interactive museum of carnival rides and games combined with a gourmet banquet hall usually reserved for corporate events. In this case, it was a celebration of Europain and its guests from around the world. I enjoyed a conversation with Pamela Mazurk, associate publisher of Chicago-based Industria Alimentica; Alfredo Nolasco-Meza of Spyral in Mexico; and a couple of Iranian bakers, Hossein Foroughni and Amir Khataei. The rest of the crowd was mainly French-speaking, so we North Americans gravitated toward each other, and the Iranians speak English much better than French. It was enjoyable extolling the virtues of Canada to the Iranian delegation; they asked lots of questions and generally seemed excited about the possibility of doing business with Canadian companies.
The next morning (I guess that means we're on to Day 3, technically), I took the correct train out to Europain and caught up with the Rondo guys again. This time they were showing off their Europain innovation award which had been awarded by the show organizers on Saturday, in recognition of the superb technological achievement of their new Curl & More machine. Urs Wullschleger of Switzerland, who's been with Rondo for 37 years, was entertaining and informing the crowds that had gathered to see the award-winning Curl & More in action as it smoothly and efficiently churned out mouth-watering filled croissants.
I also ran into Brian Sisson and Marcus Mariathas of Canada's own ACE Bakery. We had a nice chat and it was certainly refreshing to catch up with some Canadians at what is an overwhelmingly European show. Brian and Marcus arrived in Paris Saturday morning and were in high spirits about walking the floor and seeing the latest and greatest developments in baking, pastry and confectionery. Europain is certainly the place do just that.
Before I sign off, the weather report: Still cold, and much windier. My Sunday morning trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower felt like a venture to the Arctic Circle. For those who saw my previous post, I got locked into another place. This time it was Pere Lachaise Cemetery (where Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried; it's the most-visited cemetery in the entire world, or so they say). NOTE: The closing time of 6 p.m. really does mean 6 p.m. Consider yourself warned! You don't want to wind up a permanent resident …
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