Gremi Forners de València, Vicente Martínez
Eating bread is good for health. Homemade bread, of course. You don’t get fat. Bakers Guild of Valencia is showing it with initiatives that highlight the traditional oven. Vicente Martínez, the general secretary of the organization tells us.
The Guild was born in the XV century. What are the origins of the organization? Our Guild is one of the few that has survived. Now, in addition, it survives with an activity full of vitality and content. We are present in the life and history of our city since 1642, although more than one hundred years ago there was no record of the called ‘Gremi de Flequers de València’ (Bakers Guild of Valencia).
What are the main objectives of the Guild? The Guild defends some principles that highlight the traditional and artisanal way of understanding of the craft and the elaboration of bakery products, without sacrificing the new technologies that help us to improve the quality of our products.
And what are the offered services? As we are a business organization, we provide our partners all kinds of services you may need: advice and management of administrative and legal matters related to business activity. It is a commitment to train all levels: professional and specific oven, pastries and cakes; training of sales staff; training in the areas of business management; and also in areas that help the baker to legal regulations in certain areas of health, risk prevention, etc.
You celebrated the first International Competition of Artisan Bakery last April. What is your assessment? Are you satisfied? The new Guild board, led by Juanjo Rausell, has as one of its objectives to recover the visibility of a baker and culture of quality bread. So as a first step, we commit to organize and event which has the first of its kind held in Spain. He made a successful organization and, above all, support and recognition of over 400 professionals who have visited us from all of Spain. In addition, 180 students from eight vocational training centers of Valencian Community have visited us. We have also had the participation of four Spanish and French bakers, the equivalent of the Michelin Stars restoration, and with the participation of teachers and students of the ‘Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat’ from the French Brittany, and one of the most recognized in Europe. And we can’t fail to show our appreciation to the public administration –Generalitat Valenciana, County Council and Town Hall–, as well as to the main suppliers of the sector, which have chosen to support this initiative from the beginning decisively. The event has been, in short, the great festival of artisan bread.
Will you repeat the experience next year? One of the goals of the Guild is to make Valencia, the permanent headquarters of this competition, in the capital of artisan bread. We have the support of our social base and also with the collaborating firms and public administrations. Now, once assimilated the success of the first contest, we are analyzing what the most appropriate periodicity to repeat it would be.
In a certain way, the event aims to help recover ‘the lost culture of bread’. Could you explain this? As I said before, one of the objectives of the Guild is to recover the culture of quality bread. In the other entity already exists, for over a year, a group of bakers that have implemented actions to promote the values and traditional artisan bread. The group is called #Valènciapadequalitat. That group of bakers, with the unconditional support of the Guild is working hard and well to reverse the situation by organizing events, participating in forums and social networks, giving workshops in their own establishments, etc. Currently the bread is not sufficiently recognized by consumers in general. The precarious economic situation facing persists and new buying habits have been placing the bread as a side product in our homes and in our food.
Is it true that bread is fattening? Fortunately, that myth ended. Quite the contrary. The consumption of bread, accompanied of physical activity, helps to lose weight and reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease. Nutrionists experts explained that. They were gathered at the symposium ‘Pa i Salut’ (‘Bread and Health’), organized by the ‘Unió Internacional de Panaders’ (International Union of Bakers, UBIP) and under the ‘XX Congrés Internacional de Nutrició de Granada’ (XX International Congress of Nutrition in Granada). A diet rich in bread, especially in the case of integral bread, may help to decrease the weight and the Body Mass Index (BMI), as Professor Lluís Serra, one of the world authorities on Mediterranean diet claims. And, as statistics show, although in recent decades bread consumption has been reduced, the population has been gaining weight. Especially the whole bread, provides a huge amount of fiber that helps to reduce glycemic load. Bread is a staple in our diet and an important source of carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates are essential to our health. A person should consume between 50 and 200 grams of bread, which give us 22% of the total daily energy needed by the body.
Is the traditional craft or the artisan baker endangered before the advance of industrial development? The danger is that it may have other trades and other products that are committed to quality and mark distances with industrialized production prices i claim. Quality has a price, sometimes, given the results, it ends up being much cheaper than people think. To take a simple example: a good artisan bread lasts longer and better than an industrial frozen bread dough. It can take well over a day, and not just to consume toasted. By contrast, the consumption of bread industrial not beyond their baking the following two hours.
Is Valencia a reference in the artisan quality and other Spanish and European cities bread take us much advantage? Valencia has had historically a small oven model, family type, shared throughout the former Crown of Aragon. An oven that makes and sells its products in the same establishment. It is what we know as the traditional oven. On that basis, it defines us all Spain, Valencia emerges now as a role model for professionals who clearly stationed themselves by craftswomen working and quality. In the contest last April we have had visitors from all over the Spanish geography: Galician, Catalan, Basque and Aragonese people. They have shown their satisfaction with what has been, we have recognized the value that has been achieved and have encouraged us to continue on this path.
Do consumers are increasingly demanding quality bread? We are convinced that the higher demands of consumers, better for bakers who stationed themselves by the quality bread, bread without trickery.