Acclaimed Wholesale Bakery PAIN D'AVIGNON
Has Opened Its First Retail Store--in Essex Street Market

Pain D'Avignon, the Long Island City-based wholesale bakery, has opened its first retail location, at the Essex Street Market (120 Essex Street; 212-673-4950) on the Lower East Side. For years, New Yorkers have enjoyed Pain D'Avignon's breads and pastries at the city's finest restaurants, hotels, and retail stores--from Eleven Madison Park and Dean& Deluca to the Mandarin Oriental and Momofuku Ssam Bar. (For more information on where Pain D'Avignon's breads are sold, click here.)

The bakery's offerings range from Croissants, Baguettes, and Brioche to Cranberry Pecan Rolls and loaves of Seven-Grain and Rye with Caraway Seed. Now these beloved breads can be purchased under one roof (along with coffee and sandwiches, coming soon). To view the Essex Street Market store's current product list, click here.

Pain D'Avignon uses the highest-quality ingredients (e.g. organic sugar, wild flower honey, sea salt, Greek olive oil) in its breads, which are based on labor-intensive traditional European recipes. For instance, the dough is cut and shaped by hand, and most of the breads, including even individual rolls, are made en couche--in roughwoven pieces of natural linen that help maintain their shape and moisture while slowly fermenting (prolonged fermentation creates more complex flavors). Says co-owner Uliks Fehmiu, "We refuse to compromise on the time our breads need to ferment or any other aspect of the bread-making process, such as employing large-scale automated equipment."

Fehmiu, and fellow owners Bane Stamenkovic and Teofil Zurovac, opened their Long Island City wholesale bakery in 2000. (Fehmiu and Stamkovic are also the founders of the Pain D'Avignon that opened on Cape Cod in 1992, and still retain a stake in it.) Fehmiu notes, "We grew up in cities where every neighborhood had a bakery that would make freshly baked bread. There were also markets where on a daily basis we would buy cheese, meat, and produce from local farmers and vendors. Opening our store in the Essex Street Market is a small step toward recreating those memories."

The cozy, warmly lit Essex Street Market store was designed by the New York firm Archipelagos and juxtaposes rustic, industrial elements with vibrant, contemporary graphics. Decorative highlights include: a wheel-hung glass sliding door that protects the baked goods; salvaged-wood shelves with detachable metal hooks for flexible configuration; and an eye-catching black-and-white print of a wheat field. To view photos of the store, click here.

Pain D'Avignon at the Essex Street Market is open Monday-Saturday, 8 AM-7 PM. To reach the Essex Street Market by train take the F/V line to Delancey Street or the J/M/Z to Essex Street. Pain D'Avignon's web site is www.paindavignon-nyc.com.