My Parisian Restaurant Map

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Paris-baguettes and chouquettes

Alas, many things have changed in a very short time. 

I have moved to Paris, following both love and my stomach. I needed to stave off the dull palatte that too many years in Holland was giving me.

So I decided to postpone the Masters since I couldn't afford it anyway, and move to one of Europe's foremost culinary capitals (I will not say THE culinary capital, as my Italian step father might chop my head off).

Arriving in Paris and being unemployed is not an easy thing. Especially when one is surrounded by the most tantalizing and seductive patisseries, brasseries, boulangeries, bistros, and restos. It's times like these when one suddenly realizes that, to be a successful gourmand, you have to have money. (A conclusion which worries me a little, seeing as my dream of being a food writer may result in my starvation; and the two don't seem to go hand in hand)

So I started off enjoying the simple things in life. Sampling different types of baguettes, for example. The ones to be found in the supermarket can't nearly compare to the bakery I frequent around the corner from my house, needless to say. But even other bakeries don't seem to measure up to mine. Bias, perhaps? Or just convenience that what I consider to be the best baguette in Paris is being made one block away from my house?

After the baguettes came the chouquettes. Although they're a little pricey at my bakery (in fact, much more pricey than at any other bakery Ive been to) they are little puffs of sugary heaven. In principle, they're the baby girl of the mommy cream puff, minus the cream. (see image above)
To be bought by the 100 grams or the kilo, and not the piece, these little bundles of joy are usually placed in a small basket, hidden discretely next to the cash register. Sometimes they aren't even visible; instead, you have to ask behind the counter if they have them, and then theyll probably be unearthed from some obscure hiding place.

 I often find myself wondering why such an amazing feat of bakery isn't being displayed in a matter more fitting to its nature. Why isnt it being flaunted, advertised, framed, or publicly fondled? It seems to be an accepted part of French nature that some good things don't need be talked about, advertised, or shoved right in front of your nose. Some good things, which are so simple, and yet so elegant, are simply there, waiting to be discovered; it's like they're too good for the non locals to enjoy. They won't be given the privelege. 

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