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Leaving Paris with a Smile

September 16, 2013

There was a reason I went into advertising many years ago. For some reason or another, I am one of those people who is inescapably drawn to the glow of an electronic screen. If there is a television on, and it is within my line of sight, I am almost incapable of looking away.

Wouldn’t you know, there was just such a screen installed in front of me on the flight home from Paris? And despite my intentions of pulling out the laptop and trying to write a few posts, I was compelled to play round after round of video poker on the screen in front of me. For what it’s worth, I did really well.

The distraction of the screen and the crushing jet lag from last night means that the travelog from my recent trip will have to wait. It was a fabulous vacation, and it’s a really tough city to leave. There were some things that I wasn’t able to do on the last trip that I crossed off the list this time around. But there are still many many more things that were left undone.

It’s impossible for me to travel with at least a few regrets. However, I discovered a way to depart this amazing city without shedding a tear.

Most of the time we were in Paris, the skies were gray. Sometimes it was gray and dry. But most of the time it was a bit damp. On Saturday it rained most of the day in earnest. It was only on Sunday, the day of our departure, that we awoke to blue skies.

My original plan had been to try and eat at least two cheeses and two loaves of bread per day. More on that later. And we had been doing great on that front with only the partial remains of two cheeses left that final morning.

But we still had a lot of butter.

And not just any butter. I had two blocks of some of the best butter you can find in Paris. Presumably there is some better butter out in Brittany that doesn’t travel to the city. Specifically they were the Pascal Beillevaire beurre cru baratte a l’ancienne and the Jean-Yves Bordier beurre doux.

You may note that neither of these is salted. And butter on bread without salt is a travesty. So early in the trip, I popped into a small epicerie and picked up a 115g sack of fleur de sel de l’Ile de Re. And that’s some incredible stuff. One could argue it’s some of the best salt in the world.

You know what the problem is with rainy days in Paris? It’s not getting around, because all one has to do is wear appropriate clothing. No. The problem is that the crust of the bread (and pastry) doesn’t set quite right because of all the moisture in the air. Still, the bread and pastry were both better and cheaper than anything I can find in America.

To make the most of the sunny morning, I decided to find a boulangerie that was actually open on Sunday mornings. It’s a harder task than one might imagine. But I did locate an outpost of Le Grenier a Pain and picked up another two loaves. One of their baguettes and a seeded round. Given that it was morning, and I skipped the breakfast at the hotel, I also picked up a croissant and a pain au chocolat for the road.

The bread was coming with me on the airplane.

Two sections of the baguette were used to make stinky cheese sandwiches. Mrs. Fussy was concerned about breaking out these treasures in the confines of the airplane, so we enjoyed them in the open air of the waiting area. Mine was a pungent variety of brie. Hers was the hard and delightfully salty sheep’s milk cheese.

The rest of the bread served as a butter and salt delivery device on the long plane ride home.

While the rest of the passengers were eating their warm turkey and cheese sandwiches on industrially produced rolls, I was happily munching on my stash of bread, butter and salt. And while I knew this was going to be the last of these delicious things I was going to have in a while, it’s hard not to smile when eating some of the best food in the world.

The butter and bread were never going to make it home. But I still have a good amount of the salt to serve as a reminder of the experience.

I’m going to have to wait a while before I start indulging in bread and butter again. Surely after the last five days, anything I try will be disappointing. Plus, now I’m going to try and begin a slightly more health conscious diet.

You’ll see why when I give you the rundown of the full trip.

One Comment leave one →
  1. ThinkAnd Do permalink
    September 16, 2013 11:04 pm

    So, did you happen to drop by here?
    http://www.mazetconfiseur.com/index.php/les-confiseries-mazet.html
    Qui déchire, as they say.

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