Chocolate and croissants. Emphasis on the throaty French pronunciation of “kwah-saunts”.
These are at the top of my all-time favorites list. First of all, I love all-things French- save for the occasional bad-attitude waiter in Paris (yes, that is more than just a myth). I have studied the French language off and on since I was 12 and convinced my husband to take me on a two-week excursion through France a few summers back. I had my fill of exquisitely-crafted sauces, street crepes stuffed with everything from ham and cheese to Grand Marnier and sugar, and of course, Nicoise salad on the beach in Nice. But my favorite treat of all in the other nation of red, white and blue? Chocolate filled croissants.
I am not just talking about the taste of chocolate filled croissants. I am talking about the experience of walking into a small bakery in Paris, eye-ing the glass case filled with tiny, hand-crafted chocolates and golden brown, flaky morsels of bread, picking out the prized treat and delivering the sound of a perfectly rhythmic side order of “cafe au lait, s’il vous plait”, then sitting outside the shop on a busy Parisian street corner and enjoying the constantly visible peak of the Eiffel Tower in the distance as you sink your teeth into a perfectly buttery croissant that melts in your mouth at every bite. Add to that the bittersweet chocolate that melts with every sip of cafe au lait you take and you’ve got yourself an amazing snacking experience.
In honor of this memory, I decided to try my hand at making a chocolate and croissant bread pudding. Much to my amazement, I was able to conjure up a perfectly moist, perfectly bronzed, and perfectly delicious dish of bread pudding with a few lower-calorie substitute ingredients. My husband strongly approved of my Parisian-imitation, the Bear stuck close to my side though couldn’t enjoy the chocolatey-goodness, and the dish made it all the way to my in-laws house so that they could share in the calories.
I feel its safe to say that I will be heading back to recreate more of my taste-memories in France. There’s just too much joy in those memories to pass up.
Do you have any foods that remind you of a certain experience? Have you recreated them in your own kitchen?