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{24/06/2012}   Big love for French fooderies

                I love so many things about French food and it seems that there’s a shop for most of my favourite foods, all of which I made purchases from/ate from yesterday in Le Touquet and Coquelles: creperie, fromagerie, patisserie, boulangerie, poissonerie, charcuterie, macaroonerie, chocolaterie; music to me ears, calories to my body, weight off my wallet and all round joy.

                Thanks to the creperie, I downed a crepe suzette with uncharacteristic lack of dribbling.  Emma, however, demonstrated an absence of French style by not only dribbling melted chocolate down her hand, in rivulets, and around her face, she also stumbled off the pavement – not faltering in her pursuit of remedying the very messy and public crepe consumption!  I was in the unusual position of being quietly smug, on hand with cleaning gel!

Patisserie:  having checked out a few, all with variations on similar subjects – strawberries, lemon, rhubarb, chocolate (oh, it’s almost too much to write about without having samples to hand!)- I settled for a cherry, creamy, marzipan coated vision of pink perfection (sorry, no photo, it’s been devoured – very rich!) and (to be shared with Chris who was at home to sample our purchases) a very dark, melty, rich chocolate vision of loveliness filled with more chocolate and meringue (extremely rich chocolate countered by meringue, part hard and part gooey, a vision of dark brown and white loveliness inside).  Emma quietly but contentedly made quick work of consuming a classic, if somewhat shaken in transit, strawberry tart.

Boulangerie: there is a bakery in Le Touquet where you can see the baguette making machinery; long floury troughs where the baguettes are shaped.   From there, I bought the prerequisite baguette.  Unusually, I managed not to nibble one end before the inevitable cheese, meat, bread and salad fest earmarked for the evening (we got far too carried away with the beach and food to even think about the dinner out we’d anticipated before heading under the sea to get home – such a novelty, especially now I realise I can leave Calais at 8.50pm and be home before 8.50pm thanks to the time difference and living in Folkestone!).

I suspect the macaroon shop wasn’t called a macaroonerie but as all things delicious are sold in –eries, it would be wrong for the macaroonerie not to be mentioned!  Possibly one of the most beautiful shops in the world is the macaroonerie in Le Touquet.  I was going to buy six, then eight, then, well, the photo reveals the ten I ended up with.  As I recall: pineapple, poppy flower and seed, champagne, pear, blackcurrant, rhubarb, apricot, coconut, salt caramel (oh my) and pistachio.  It may have been remiss of me not to have got the cinnamon and sanguine orange.  Or the rose.  It seemed cruel to not just have one of each.  They are beautiful.  Almost – almost – too beautiful to eat.  That shop also sold eclairs (I didn’t dare give more than a look of admiration and awe, otherwise I would also have had a box set of them): toblerone éclair, salt caramel éclair (oh my), pistachio éclair; the toppings were shiny, the eclairs were displayed like the works of art they were.  Indeed, everything was made at the back of the shop.  Oh, and they sold marshmallow things and pates (dips, they were posh dips – salt caramel for example (oh my)!

I wasn’t feeling the chocolate love yesterday, so, apart from the chocolate cake, I didn’t buy any chocolate.  But I did look in the window.  Chocolateries always make me think of the book and film of Joanne Harris’ “Chocolat”; I am left wondering how much I could eat if I were left in the shop overnight.  I actually thought that more in the macaroonerie though!

I was clearly feeling the sweet love yesterday so I will merely summarise the savouries by outlining dinner, as per the picture: cheese, meat, bread, fish and salady things.  End of.  Absolutely formidable!  I love cheese too much to detail in a few sentences.  And all things charcuterie (we had smoked duck, peppery salami, delicate ham, farmhouse pate).  And brown shrimps … yikes, I’m now re-feeling the savoury love.  Sod that, I’ve just remembered, I bought croissants and pain au chocolate from the boulangerie for breakfast.  I’m off to the kitchen.

I suppose I should at least make an effort to conclude: the French do –eries that match my favourite things and food shopping in France is a joy.  Plus I never even mentioned we had a fab day, time running about on the beach, a great lunch out, lots of food shop visits (including to buy another bag from the most beautiful tinned fish shop imaginable – I have no interest in tinned fish, despite their beautiful packaging, so I have taken to buying their lovely brightly coloured fish bag every time I go there!) and a mammoth supermarket shop, consisting largely of, ahem, wine!

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