“All sorrows are less with bread.” – Miguel de Cervantes
One of the most powerful fragrances known to humankind is that of freshly baked bread. A scent so delightful that it becomes almost palpable as it wafts across the kitchen, carrying with it fond memories of blue skies and simpler times. And while not all of us hail from an idyllic country homestead where bread cools on a windowsill in an open meadow, a love of fresh baked goods transcends into all walks of life.
“I was living in Burgundy [France] at the time where my parents were restauranteurs,” shared Mathieu Choux, owner and founder of Gaston’s Bakery. “While I knew I wanted to be in the field of cooking and baking, I also knew I wanted to do it somewhere else.”
And as luck would have it, Mathieu had two friends recently move to Idaho to attend Boise State University and he decided to pay them a visit. It became immediately clear that this is where he would put down roots and in 2002, he opened Le Café de Paris on Capitol Boulevard.
It came as no surprise that the demand for Mathieu’s products grew quickly and by 2006, Gaston’s Bakery opened its doors. Named after his grandfather, Gaston’s hit the ground running to fulfill the long list of coffee shops, restaurants, and supermarkets that wanted to carry and serve Mathieu’s baked goods.
Gaston’s latest location opened in 2022, inside BODO’s new Warehouse Food Hall, and offers grab and go sandwiches and desserts with a rotating seasonal selection of menu items.
From scones and croissants to brioche buns and rustic loaves, Gaston’s products have become a staple all over the Valley. They are rapidly becoming a national name as the products branch into other states. And Gaston’s now has a global presence as well, with the recent 2021 opening of the mill in Lyon, France. “The wheat is different there and the idea is to show that it is possible to re-localize flour milling. The dream is to provide customers with high quality, whole-milled flours made from a mill that is designed for regional production using local cereals.”
Mathieu was born with a passion for food and comes from a long line of cooks, bakers, and business owners and grew up in a classic French restaurant. “It is a very rewarding feeling to make bread and pastries for others and to see them enjoy it.”
“Today, I think the most important aspect of baking bread and pastries (aside from the craft and challenges of making large quantities of dough daily) is the flour. Around 10 years ago, more and more people were feeling discomfort or becoming sick from eating bread and other products containing wheat. That really troubled me as a baker. Our main ingredient, one that has been used for thousands of years to feed civilizations, is now making us sick.
‘That didn't make sense to me, so I started to educate myself on wheat breeding, farming, milling and baking practices. The answer was clear: it is not the wheat that makes us sick but the practices in large industrial operations. So, I started to test small mills and we bought a Unifine mill to mill some of our own flours. In our breads we also use a lot of starters which—on top of providing great flavor—helps the digestibility.”
Mathieu would like to extend a series of thank you’s to his family for their unconditional support and to his Boise team for their hard work and dedication to the craft. “And of course, to the customers in the Treasure Valley for their patronage over the last twenty years.”
To learn more about Mathieu, his team, and where to find their delicious baked goods, visit GastonsBakery.com.