Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Paris 2007: Breakfasts!

Breakfasts! My favourite meal of the day! Like the saying goes, "Eat like a king for breakfasts..."

Needless to say, I love breakfasts in Paris. Why? Because of the 2C's. Excellent coffee and croissants! These two are made so well in Paris that now, I am suffering from withdrawal syndrome.

1st thing in the morning: A definite must for me.
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Coffee or in this case, espresso. I like my espresso sweet and strong. My only complaint is the serving is too small (yes, I do know that this is the standard espresso size). Strange, I couldn't find any long black in Paris. The other option is au lait which I don't really fancy. When I am craving for a larger dose, I just order a grande which is basically, double espresso.

The other must to go along with the coffee is of course, a piece of of bread or pastry. So far, I haven't came across any bakery with yucky bread. Yes, Paris is indeed a heaven for a bread-lover. I like croissants. They are so good; crispy and flaky, even when they are less than warm. But what I like even more is pain au chocolat, which is basically a rectangular croissant-type (puff) pastry filled with chocolate. Eat it warm and you will want more than one.
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Pain au Chocolat
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Croissant aux amandes - usually dusted with icing sugar. Inside: All warm and delicious!

Another variant of croissant that I really, really like is Almond Croissant (croissant aux amandes). Flaky croissants filled with almond paste and encrusted with almonds on top, it is simply divine. And the ultimate best Almond Croissant that I have had was from Pierre Herme. Words can't describe it, but trust me - it's one thing that will really makes you go "mmm.., mmm.., mmm...."
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Best, best, best Almond Croissant!

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Other breakfast staples: Multi-grain baguette, chocolate custard pastry, raisin custard pastry

So while in Paris, a typical breakfast usually consists of a glass of orange juice, a piece of croissant, baguette or pastry (like this):
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or as extravagant as this Sunday Champagne Brunch that my friend made for me at her place in Pornichet, La Baule (a seaside resort town near Nantes).
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Sunday Bubbly Brunch: Moet & Chandon, sweet muscadet (their region specialty), a selection of cold cuts and parma ham, a selection of table cheese, sunny-side eggs, fried bacon on warm toasts, a selection of juices, fresh strawberries and sweet cherry tomatoes. I was SO SPOILED during the vacation!

The best cafe breakfast that I had in Paris was on a cold, drizzly morning (which was rare throughout my trip) on the way up to Montmarte. It was near 11 o'clock and we were famished as we went to a open-market earlier but didn't see anywhere nice for a sit-down breakfast. So we stopped at a corner-shop cafe cum bistro cum bar which didn't looked promising at first but after stepping in, we were enveloped in the warmth of the interior of the cafe. We had their breakfast set: coffee/tea, juice, baguette with jam and butter and a choice of either fried eggs or scrambled.
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I opted for their scrambled eggs and my friend had the former.
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Best scrambled eggs that I have ever eaten.
Once we started eating, silence dawned on us as we made it a point to savour each delicious bite of the eggs and bread. So good, so, so good....



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