One of my treats this week has been to walk to the boulangerie on our street each morning and pick up our breakfast. Oh, the choices!!! They have lovely, hearty multigrain breads, fluffy-as-clouds pastries, the staple flaky croissants and tartines (small baguettes served with butter and jam). What you won’t find here are eclairs, napoleons, or any other French dessert pastry–for those, you go to the patisserie, or pastry shop. You won’t find coffee, either, so for that you go to a cafe or, in our case, Starbucks. While this means we have a divide-and-conquer strategy for petite dejeuner, it also shows that people have a great sense of pride in doing one thing and doing it well. If I go to the local grocery store at home, odds are pretty good that no one working in the bakery section can answer detailed questions. Go to a boulangerie, and they can tell you where the flour comes from, who makes the baked goods and all the differences between the breads. Of course, the assortment of goods in an American grocery is so huge that one person couldn’t possibly know all of it well. In our little boulangerie, we have fewer options, but it doesn’t matter because what we have is enough.
I’m pretty sure I won’t be tackling these at home, but here is an assortment of the kinds of pastries available at our local boulangerie! From the top, they are:
Pain aux raisins
Pain du chocolate (accompanied by a rogue pancake from Starbucks)
Croissant au beurre