Saturday, July 08, 2006

Petit Dejeuner

Gabriel loves a big Saturday breakfast on the weekends. It's not the English breakfast with sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, grilled tomato, etc. etc but a sort of Swiss thing with "oeufs en cocotte" (soft-boiled eggs), an array of cheeses (here you see clockwise from top: St. Marcellain, Pont L'Eveque, and some kind of goat cheese) toast, coffee and orange juice. This was a weekend staple in Minneapolis but in Italy we almost never have this because Gabriel, cheese expert accustomed to great varieties in Switzerland, finds that most Italian cheeses kind of taste the same. Not bad, mind you, just uniformly salty and pleasant, the key word being "uniformly". So in Paris, we broke out the wonderful (if smelly) raw milk cheeses, the really buttery butter (yum!) and the award-winning baguette (literally!)and went to town. Both on this vacation and our honeymoon, we were priveledged enough to stay in a friend's vacant apartment in the 14th arrondissement very near a bakery that has won the "Best Baguette of Paris, 2004 as well as the "2nd Best Baguette 2003". It's a lot of fun to wait in line there first thing in the morning with all the other people in the neighborhood and get your baguette, petits pains au chocolat and any other pastry that you fancy.


Anonymous Tanna said...

Oh, my gosh, you are two wonderfully lucky beings!!

11:42 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

here's hoping your trip to paris was magnifique! the queso fresco on spanish mornings was delightful, i agree with gabriel. however, my love of cheese could mean that i am half mouse anyway!

5:23 PM  
Anonymous rowena said...

Haha! I will have to agree with you on italian cheese being "uniformly" pleasant. Infact, so much so IMHO, that last night I told the husband that I hoped France would win the cup. "Why?", he asks. "Because then all of those cheesemakers in France are gonna be s-o-o-o happy that they'll make even BETTER cheese for the rest of the year."

My husband couldn't argue with this logic, he LOVES french cheese too. ;-)

10:10 AM  
Blogger a.c.t said...

What about cheeses such as fontina, taleggio, gorgonzola, dolcelatte? Hardly uniformly salty. I have to say though, although very hard to admit, that Roquefort is undoubtedly the King of cheeses.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Mmmmmmm, I'm a bread and cheese girl - always have been, however, there are no really good bakeries where I live, nor is the cheese anything to write home about, so I really envy you guys! Hope your time in Paris was everything you wanted it to be, and more!

2:54 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Tanna, You're right with a free apartment in Paris, we're lucky and spoiled.

HelloMelissa, Yeah, queso fresco with membrillo (quince paste) yum!

Hi Rowena, So, maybe now the Italian cheese makers'll be happy enough to make better cheese. (Maybe those so-local-nobody-knows-about-them caseifici that I haven't found yet)

Hi a.c.t. I'd say gorgonzola dolce and mozzarella di bufala are 2 huge exceptions to the "uniformly pleasant" rule for me. I bought a book of 201 DOP (denominazione di origine protetta) cheeses and have been slowly going through them, sadly with no revelations so far. My problem is that I tasted French and Italian imported cheeses in the U.S. then went to France and Italy to taste the real thing. In France I was overwhelmed by the variety of cheeses and range of flavors and textures on offer there (much greater variety than those sold in the States). Then I went to Italy and found 2 great cheeses. I'm spoiled. This is my problem.

Hi Lotus, (I hate to suggest this, but...) Is there a Whole Foods near you? We used to get many great European cheeses there for a premium price, of course. Even Swiss Vacherin in the fall and winter!

10:37 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Oh, but a.c.t.! I forgot to say that a few Italians have told us about farmers who make great local cheeses that are much better than what we know of. The problem is they have very poor distribution channels so you can't buy them in the markets. I'm still looking and if I find some cheeses that knock my socks off, you'll be the first to know.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Oh, yes, there is a Whole Foods very close to the hospital I volunteer at. I usually go there for a quick lunch but I've never taken a close look at their cheese selection. I now have something to look forward to when I return from vacation! THanks for the tip, Susan!

11:27 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

i had trouble leaving a comment the other day...

welcome home to the country of the world cup champs (from the country of the world cup losers...).

ahhh, cheese at breakfast. reminds me of queso fresco and jamon serrano in spain. yum!

3:39 AM  
Blogger Lea said...

ooh whole foods has some fantastic cheeses... =)

I am green with envy Susan! what a wonderful time you seemed to have had! And that sounds like an absolutely PERFECT breakfast... some of my favorite foods.... CHEESE, butter, and eggs!

10:35 PM  

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