The Floating Boulangerie is a magical, delicious anomaly. Created by French couple Jeremy Huguet and Lindsay Morel-Huguet during the UK’s first lockdown, the bakery’s menu is abundant with classic French patisseries made with just the right amount of butter and savoir-faire. The secret to perfect pastry-making is one that is closely guarded by the French and, for those outside the circle of trust, even the humble croissant can seem like a baking impossibility.
During lockdown, Jeremy and Lindsay had a lot of free time on their hands – and like many of us, decided to start making bread and pastries. Unlike many of us, what they were making was an incredibly high-quality product. Baked to perfection and freshly made for you to pick up, their warm, fluffy, yet decadent brioche is best enjoyed with a side of your fruity jam of choice. To avoid disappointment, you should consider ordering in advance, given The Floating Boulangerie’s ever-growing popularity.
Operating out of their canal boat (complete with an ever-changing location), the couple have built a solid online following on Instagram, selling out rapidly week by week and keeping their locals extremely happy and well-fed. As well as their heavenly brioche and unsurpassable croissants (made with classic French Isigny butter), their pain au chocolat, with its delightful double lines of chocolate running through the folded pastry and its excessively flaky outer-layer, is destined to change your life; meanwhile, their hazelnut chocolate spread, made from melted milk chocolate, praline, and crushed hazelnuts, can either be purchased on its own or enjoyed as the filling of their divine, signature “Choco-Dôme”.
What is refreshing about The Floating Boulangerie, though, is their pure, salt-of-the-earth love for baking and pastry-making, and their commitment to top-quality ingredients. There is something undeniably heart-warming about seeing two such hard-working people wake up each day and do what they love to do, all the while building a community around themselves. Born during a global pandemic, they in part began their business as frustrated consumers unable to face another day without a proper pain au chocolat.
Lindsay (one half of The Floating Boulangerie) graciously took the time to speak with Hawkker about her newest venture.
When did you decide to live on a canal boat?
We made the decision to live on a canal boat in 2018, after we had spent a few nights on a yacht in Kingston.
Can you tell me a bit about your backgrounds, and how cooking and baking began for you?
Jeremy has always been a chef; food is his passion. I, on the other hand, used to be a deputy manager for luxury brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Paul Smith.
How did the idea for The Floating Boulangerie come about?
The Floating Boulangerie began during the first lockdown when Jeremy was forced to stay home. We couldn’t go shopping unless it was for essential items, so we couldn’t really justify going out to buy fresh bread and croissants every morning… after a while, Jeremy just couldn’t cope anymore and was craving it too much. So he decided to try to make his own. We were giving away the bread and pastries we were making to our neighbours for a while, until the day they insisted on paying.
We did not plan to open a business, especially on a boat! But we were encouraged by our neighbours and friends who kept saying how delicious and amazing our products were so… we just attempted a new adventure!
What have you learned from launching your business this year?
We were extremely surprised at the response we got, and especially by the fact that we’ve been busy since day 1! We are so grateful for all the support we’ve received from customers and the press, alike.
How does the canal system work, and how often do you change location?
We need to move every 2 weeks, and cruise a minimum of 20 miles per year. We can’t pre-book a mooring so it’s a bit tricky to find space for our massive boat! Especially near the popular spots like Kings Cross, Camden, or Little Venice…
What are your future plans for The Floating Boulangerie?
We are hoping to be able to buy another boat (so we can have our home back), and then hopefully we can expand the business by producing more and hosting more people!
After months of hard work keeping the momentum of the business going, Jeremy and Lindsay will soon be taking a well-deserved break over this holiday period, but will be back soon!