Culinary Ambassadors: Breakfast in France

Serious Eats' Culinary Ambassadors check in from time to time with reports on food fare in their homeland or countries of residence. Here's the latest! (Find out more about CA or join here!) —The Mgmt.


[Photograph: Pamela Poncelin]

20100928-ca-breakfast-france-02.jpgConsidering the average French person's sweet tooth at breakfast, it's almost a wonder the French Paradox exists at all. Savory is rarely done this early, but why would you want to when you've got all the butter, bread, and pastries on your doorstep? In my area alone, I have five boulangeries (bakeries) within a five-minute walk of my apartment. Each one staggers their days off, so at any time of the week, I can buy fresh breakfast goodies whenever I want them.

Traditional breakfast fare includes a tartine — half a split, buttered baguette with your choice of conserves (jams) to dip in your very own bowl of café au lait or chocolat chaude (hot chocolate). Croissants are not an everyday item, but for those not counting calories, you'll see them at the table as well. Dipping is not only reserved for kids. Fully grown adults do it, too (it's not uncommon to see men in business suits dip the corner of a croissant into their coffee). Let's not forget the obligatory glass of juice (orange or multi-fruits seem to be preferred by most) and a quick expresso (espresso) to prepare an eater for the day.

As an expat in France, I've definitely picked up the tartine habit from my French husband, although most mornings it's a quick bowl of cereal and glass of juice rather than a full tartine breakfast. On days off or when there's a little more time, one of us runs down to the boulangerie for a fresh baguette while the other prepares the table with all the tartine trimmings (jam, butter, juice, etc).

Pamela Poncelin (aka Chocapic on SE)

Want to tell the SE community about breakfast where you live? Go here! »

To find out more about the Culinary Ambassadors initiative or sign up, see this SE Talk thread »

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