Posts Tagged ‘boulangerie’

The Fun Times Just Keep on Rolling

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

The fun didn’t stop after the Paul Klee exhibition – in fact it probably got even better! We had invited our friend, Diogo, over for dinner and he had offered to bring dessert. Diogo has very good taste in food and wine and therefore I happily accepted his offer and was extremely pleased that I had when I saw what he had brought. He had visited a small bakery not far from our apartment and bought a piece of heaven – a Tholoniat. It is layers of sponge, cream, sponge, and then topped with crême brulée and served chilled. It was INCREDIBLE. Diogo had bought a fairly large cake which I cut into six decent sized pieces. But as the cake is supposed to remain very cold (they store it in a freezer at the patisserie), we decided we had better finish the whole thing. So two decent sized pieces of cake later and we were finished.

Tholoniat

The Tholoniat in all its caramelised glory

In addition, Diogo had also bought some chocolate financier which are rich, almondy mini-cupcakes that are also rather delicious. So our dinner was fantastic, as was my morning tea today which involved a left over financier. Thank you, Diogo and thank you France for inventing such wonderful things that I can consume.

Financier

Morning tea

Fun Times Count Down #2

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Day Two of my Fun Times Count Down yesterday and it was a little bit harder to achieve as I wasn’t in the brightest of moods. BUT I had vowed that I would do one fun thing every day and so I purchased a cravate au chocolat – potentially the BEST croissant + chocolate pastry good that has ever existed – cut it in half and shared it with Tom.

Cravate au chocolat

It tastes better than it looks

It did put a smile on my face and it was utterly delicious but I admit it was a poor effort. I did also sit on the steps of the Opera house and walk to Sacre Coeur, both of which were lovely but full of tourists who were particularly annoying while I was in my less that positive mood. Anyway, that was yesterday and today is a new day. I have booked a ticket to see a Paul Klee exhibition at Cité de la Musique. It has been sold out and hours extended due to the high demand. Should be good.

BFFs with the Baker

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

I forgot to mention a significant event that occurred over the recent galette season that has further solidified my position as loyal customer at my favourite boulangerie. When I went with Ben to buy our second galette for the day and two baguettes for our lunch, we arrived at the boulangerie to find it was jam packed with customers buying sandwiches for their lunches. The queue was reaching out the door and the bakery lady was running around serving people with efficiency and speed. I turned to Ben with a gleeful smile and declared that I would be able to jump the queue and receive my baguettes without having to wait in line. “Watch this.”

The bakery lady continued to serve two or so customers until she noticed me and made a call out across the bakery that anyone wanting to only buy bread should “Advancez!” to the cash register. My moment of glory! I excusez-moi-ed my way past people waiting to be served, held my head high and said “Bonjour!” to the bakery lady. She had already prepared my usual baguette for which I thanked her before then asking for a second baguette. I was nervous about my next request as I had declared that I simply wanted a baguette and that I would be leaving her establishment as soon as I had received it, but really I also wanted to buy another galette. So in my politest and most “You are so wonderful” voice I asked, “What it be possible that I also take a small galette?”
“But, of course!” she replied as she dashed over to the galettes and returned within a split second to take my money and wish me a good day.

Galette

A mini galette to finish off lunch

And so I strode out of the boulangerie, two baguettes and one galette in hand, having avoided waiting in line and being served before at least 15 other customers. I have to say I prefer the relationship I have developed with my bakery lady over the creepy lean-over-the-counter-and-stare-with-seedy-eyes I received on my return to another bakery I have to go to on Sundays or when I am feeling lazy. It appears the man in charge at this other bakery was pleased to have the foreign blonde girl back in his shop.

This does lead me to another point which is that I was instantly aware of my return to the land of Frenchmen as Becky and I headed out on our jog the morning after I got back and were wolf-whistled and had eyes stuck to us like magnets. I can’t say I missed it and it was nice to have two weeks in Germany and Holland where no one seems to find me visually pleasing. Although having fat old Frenchmen declaring that, oh la la!, we are “courageuse” and “sportif” can be quite amusing.

Back to Business With Galette

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Happy 2012 to one and all! My year started with insane Dutch people setting off fireworks in their back/front yards, carparks, petrol stations etc., plus lots of olliebollen, appelbeignets and general consistent eating.

Olliebollen

Mmm... olliebollen.

It is strange to think that I have come back to Paris with the idea of now being able to eat ‘normally’ and hence hopefully return to my original pant size. I have hit one slight set back – La Fête des Rois. Also known as the Epiphany when the three Kings or wise men visited Jesus and gave him birthday presents, the French have taken hold of this great day and turned it into something even greater. Everyone eats galettes – a round puff pastry delight filled with almond paste goodness. OH, IT IS GOOD.

Galette

Galette

Inside the galette, the bakers place a small item (yesterday I was witness to the discovery of a jigsaw puzzle piece, a green cow, and a miniature ScoobyDoo) and when the galette is divided, the person who finds the item in their piece of galette is crowned the King. They then get to wear a crown for the rest of the evening, lucky buggers.

While we had plans yesterday evening to have a galette party with the other residents at the Récollets, as Ben is a budding baker, we went in search of a GOOD galette (as opposed to one from a supermarket) for morning tea. We decided to go to Julhès, a family empire of deliciousness where you can buy bakery goods, wine, cheese, tapenade, foie gras, chocolate, and every other delicious thing you can think of. Ben, Tom and I divided the galette into 12 pieces and then invented a complicated mathematical formula for deciding who received which piece of galette. Ben was the winner with his second piece of galette and wore, with pride, the golden crown.

Galette

Keeping things fair

The second rule of galette is whoever is crowned King is also, therefore, rich and must purchase another galette for his lowly citizens/friends/family. So Ben bought a second (smaller) galette from my favourite boulangerie to have with lunch. As this was a galette for one or two persons, there was no item hidden inside so no one had to buy another galette. HOWEVER, we did then meet my fellow residents in the evening for dinner and galette eating. Almost everyone brought a galette so there were plenty to go around. This time we followed even more traditional methods and the youngest person was sent to sit under the table to call out names of people and select which piece of galette they would eat.

The youngest person at the table was three months younger than me, and as he was quite insistent that I take the honour of sitting on the floor, I spent the next 15 minutes or so calling out names from under the table. What fun! I failed at choosing a winning piece of galette for myself on both the first AND second round of galette distribution. Once everyone had had two pieces, there were still a few kings missing but everyone was a little bit sick of puff pastry and almond so the rest of the galettes were attacked with knives to find the final items. It was a lot of fun and galette is definitely high on my Deliciousness list. The search for the hidden item is highly entertaining and the fact that you’re eating delicious galette instead of looking for a penny inside stodgy plum pudding is definitely an additional benefit.

Things are returning to normal now after the Christmas and New Year’s break. I have just dropped my brother off at the train station and sent him back to England to continue his baking. My plans for today mostly involve cleaning as I still have christmas presents, decorations and general “I’ll deal with this later” items scattered around my apartment. We returned from our two week trip in Germany and Holland with a lot of excess baggage in the form of presents and food. Lots of food. Tom got excited by the price and availability of Jagermeister in Germany, while I went a bit nuts buying chocolate sprinkles and biscuits in Holland. Luckily there’s no such thing as customs when crossing European borders. Ben is currently travelling back to England with a two kilogram bag of flour in his suitcase. That flour has been through Holland, Belgium, France and now England.

I am trying to work out how I can bring everything that is delicious from France to Australia. I have 20 days left in Paris until I get on a plane and fly away home. While everyone around me is telling me how great Australia is and how much fun I am going to have, the whole process of having to get on a plane for 24 hours, have jet lag, fly to and from Sydney, and spend the entire time crossing my fingers that I am allowed a visa isn’t really making me jump for joy. Yes, yes, beaches, sunshine and family. But also a lot to think about and hope that the French government doesn’t think of a stupid reason not to let me come back to France. What will I do then? Plus what cheese am I going to eat in Perth?!

Well this post is getting very long and I have cleaning to do. Spread the word that Zaum is back in action for 2012 with more stories, more adventures and plenty of photographs of food.

Stroop wafel

Like this fresh stroop wafel I ate in Gouda

Word Count Update

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Day Three of NaNoWriMo and I have written 6177 of my 50,000 words. Not bad, if I say so myself. I am finding it a lot easier than I expected, although Day Three was a bigger challenge than Day One. I suspect it will continue in this fashion as I run out of things to write and my patience for sitting in front of the computer wanes. Thankfully the past few days have been grey and drizzly so my desire to go outside hasn’t been strong. Right now I am contemplating walking to the boulangerie to buy my lunchtime baguette and we are also in desperate need of toilet paper but it looks so miserable outside. Surely Tom wants to go for a walk instead?

And Again!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

It happened again today! I went to the boulangerie completely expecting for everything to have returned to normal and for my presence to be ignored and unnecessary. BUT NO!! Instead, I was welcomed into the shop and a pair of tourists who were buying sandwiches had their orders put on hold while my baguette was fetched. It was incredible! I received smiles, Bonjours, Madames, Mercis, and Bonne Journées! And the baguette was warm. Life is good at the boulangerie à Paris.

Baguette Club

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Being accepted into a foreign society is hard and Parisians are tough nuts to crack. You are never dressed correctly, you have a strange accent, you drink coffee while eating food, or you nibble on bread before your meal has arrived. All of these things make you stand out as a weird outsider who doesn’t understand the culture and never, ever will.

However, every now and then, the sun comes out from behind a cloud and somewhere you can hear the sound of angels singing as a miracle of all miracles occurs – you feel SLIGHTLY accepted. Yesterday I heard angels.

Every lunch time, we purchase a baguette from our favourite boulangerie around the corner. There are so many boulangeries nearby for us to choose from, but we have narrowed it down to this boulangerie for our baguettes. The baker and his wife (I presume it is his wife) are both fairly grumpy people – they never really smile and they are very ordered and forceful in their approach to serving customers. However, I have great respect for this as often the boulangerie is full of people buying sandwiches and cakes and they take forever to make up their minds. So when people arrive wanting to just buy a baguette, they are told (ordered) to go to the front of the line and then quickly served and sent on their way. Love it.

When we first started going to this boulangerie, I always felt like I had done something wrong as the lady was very brisk and would shove the baguette in our face and turn to the next customer. Recently, however, things have changed as every now and then we get a half smile and she welcomes us with a bit more enthusiasm. Yesterday was the ultimate – as we walked into the boulangerie, she saw us, turned and grabbed un tradition (the baguette) from behind her, put it into a bag as she said “Bonjour Monsieurdame!” and by the time I had reached the till she had prepared our baguette and was awaiting payment. She knew what we wanted, was happy to see us and wished us well for the day. Tom and I left the boulangerie with smiles on our faces as we knew we had made it in the boulangerie. This is a momentous occasion! Your local baker is the person you want to have on your side at all times. If they like you they will give you the good baguette, the tart with more strawberries on top or the pain au chocolat with the crispiest pastry. Loyalty pays. And it only took us 8 months to feel truly welcome. We are on our way to becoming true Parisians.

Baguette

It's worth 8 months of grumpiness