Tarn et Garonne. In Saint-Etienne-de-Tulmont, a century of baking in the Bessou family

the essential
Since 1922, four generations of Bessou have succeeded each other behind the Bakery Bakery in Saint-Etienne-de-Tulmont. A family business that still has a bright future ahead of it. Meet.

In Saint-Etienne-de-Tulmont and the surrounding area, everyone knows the Bessou bakery. And for good reason: Commerce has been a part of the local landscape, Rue de la Mairie, for almost a century. The story begins in June 1922 with Jean Bessou. “The bakery originally belonged to a great-uncle,” recalls Gérard, Jeans’ grandson. The bakery will be rebuilt 100 meters further at the current location. Since then it has only moved to the annex three years ago.

The family legacy is passed down from generation to generation: from Raymond in 1945 to Gérard in 1991 and Rémi, who has been at the helm since 2017. Without forgetting the strong women of the family who kept the accounts.

Homemade classics

However, it was not always a matter of course to take up the torch. Gérard gradually joined after his military service. “I came to help my father: I made him the bread, I put myself on the side of the pastry,” explains the pensioner. Rémi also needed a little time to make up his mind. “I thought it would be a shame to leave it all.” Like his grandfather Raymond, the baker specialized in bread. Since 2010 he has notably developed an organic sourdough range and some baked goods.

At the age of 37, Rémi is now the fourth Bessou generation behind the bakery, at the head of ten employees and five trainees. Gérard, he’s never far away. The workforce has grown in recent years to ensure design, sales in shops, markets, deliveries to health food stores and most importantly tours to the surrounding villages. Because this is an important activity that the Bessou are attached to: “We have always done the rounds. During the war it was my grandmother who took care of it with a carburetor. It was my father Raymond, then 13 years old, that got him going,” says Gérard with a smile.

In the 2022 edition of Gault et Millau

In the back room, everything is homemade and on site. The family has remained very classic in the products they offer, especially in the pastry shop. Simple but effective. Among the great classics of the house are the brioche crisp and the beggar. This Breton walnut shortbread, decorated with coffee diplomat cream, apple compote and a chocolate beggar, earned Rémi the compliments of Norbert Tarayre and Bruno Cormerais while appearing on the show “La Meilleur Boulangerie of France” in 2021.

As the Bessou prepare to blow out their 100 candles in June, they are far from ready to let the curtain fall. Because Rémi is not short of ideas. He is therefore considering launching a range of travel cakes. With marzipan as the centrepiece. “It’s an old specialty that my grandmother used to make,” he explains.

The icing on the cake: the Bessou bakery was recently contacted to be included in the 2022 edition of Gault et Millau. A great way to celebrate a century of craftsmanship.

Leave a Comment