Well before the food truck trend came to Paris a New Jersey native named Michael Healey founded O'Regal Muffins and set up shop in a two-and eventually four-wheeled Muffin mobile at the Marché Bio de Raspail.
In the beginning, Michael brought freshly baked english muffins from his left bank atelier to the "boulevard bio"-boulevard Raspail- in the 6th arrondissement. The muffin man found a receptive audience at this organic market, popular amongst ex-pats and well-travelled Parisians who literally ate Michael's muffins up.
Once he had earned enough money, Michael invested in an equipped camion complete with a brick oven that allowed for muffins to be baked on site.
The inventive American and his moveable feast attracted an adoring audience at the weekly market, including the ardent admirer Valerié Debiais, who would later marry Michael and join him in the O'Regal Muffin enterprise.
While Michael's showmanship and flair can be credited with making O'Regal Muffins a market legend, it is Valérie that keeps that legend living.
Taking over the laborious task of spending Saturdays baking hundreds of each variety of muffin (not to mention brownies and French canelé), Valérie prepares the baked goods that she will bring to the market early the following morning.
The camion, whose technical maintenance has become too complicated to keep on the road, sits stationary at the family's home in the Loire Valley about 150 miles outside of Paris. However, the brick oven and the muffin mobile still serve as O'Regal's bakery and it is here that Valérie uses locally sourced ingredients to make her delicious organic muffin varieties.
The star ingredient of O'Regal Muffins is without a doubt the locally milled flour which comes from a farmer less than 5 miles away from the family's home. Working with heirloom varieties of wheat, this farmer grows his crop organically in a rich and diversified environment, resulting in a high quality product that renders the muffins not only enjoyable but also apperently easier to digest- Valérie told me that even gluten, or glutton, sensitive customers have told her that they are relieved to find they can enjoy O'Regal Muffins!
Along with english muffins, you can also find other favorites such as apricot and coconut, lemon poppyseed, carrot, and banana muffins at the O'Regal stand on Sundays. For a warming winter treat, stop by to see Valérie and grab a cup of chocolat chaud or an organic coffee to start your day at the market!
Thanks so much to Valérie for sharing the story of O'Regal Muffins and thanks to both Valérie and Michael for bringing muffins to the market!