A Note Regarding French Desserts

We have taken our studies of French culture extremely seriously, particularly our examination of French pastry and French desserts.

Thanks to our wonderful hosts, Jim and Ellen, who have compiled a treasury of the best restaurants, bakeries, markets, stationery shops, etc. near the apartment, we have been able to focus our efforts directly where they belong–finding the best pastries and desserts made by the best bakeries.

As always, our efforts have been richly rewarded. For breakfast pastry, the almond croissant receives three votes, while Theo votes for the pipette au chocolat, a delicious confection consisting of brioche, chocolate chips, and creme.

As for dessert, we have unanimously determined the winner to be the following:

The best dessert ever. Worth the trip to Paris, I promise.

The best dessert ever. Worth the trip to Paris, I promise.

Neither words nor pictures can really do these things justice. They are like a cream puff, but the filling is absolutely extraordinary. Imagine pure, dark chocolate, not too sweet, laced with a subtle infusion of rum, slightly cool, and entirely smooth and creamy. Be still, my beating heart. They come in two flavors–chocolate and coffee. If not for the chocolate, the coffee would be the greatest dessert you could ever eat. But the chocolate is measurably superior to the coffee. One of each is pictured–they only had one chocolate left. Oh, the cruelty!

Admittedly, we have had some confusion over what these things are called. They are always in the same place in our Patissier’s display case (immediately to the right of the delicious, but ever-so-slightly inferior eclaires), but the little signs that identify them seem to move around a bit. Today when I went in, the sign said “religeuses,” which I took to mean “religious experience.” I told the very nice lady that they were indeed my religion, and that I was ordered by God to eat at least two or three every day. She muttered something and made a hand gesture to ward off the evil eye. I think my French is finally improving.

But the first day Lisa and the kids tried these treasures, the sign in front of them identified them as Paris-Brest. Somehow, this got translated to “boobs,” which can only be the result of a misunderstanding of the word “Brest,” and clearly has nothing to do with the appearance of these magical creations. Anyway, for our family at least, “boobs” they will remain.  So today when Lisa suggested that we better get a boob or two to celebrate our last day in Paris, I cheerfully reminded her that it is inconceivable that anyone would want just one boob. That settled the matter.

Vive les boobs!

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4 responses to “A Note Regarding French Desserts

  1. Harold & John

    When you get home, I’ll show you a coffee table type book which is about the top Paris patisseries. Many are historic and more than 100 years old, and are famous for certain items such as macaroons.
    Incidentally, went to a preview of Julie and Julia which opens in August with Meryl Streep and Julie Adams. Meryl makes an astonishing Julia Child and the evocation of 1950’s Paris is great.

  2. j’ai besoin d’un boob!

  3. As i sit here in Dublin drinking my Barry’s tea and eating kellogs bran flakes for breakfast the only thing missing from my usual denver b’fast is the sunshine.We’re back to previous summer weather cool and rainy!!!
    One thing dublin is not famous for is it’s pastry shops-oh but the black pudding and sausage is yummy!!!!!

  4. Laurie Romer forwarded to me a link to your blog. You guys are my heroes for undertaking this amazing journey. Prior to reading your blog today, I thought I was pretty lucky for getting to eat a Winchell’s doughnut this morning. Have fun!

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