“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” How many times have we heard that? Mothers, grandmothers, cereal commercials, and nutritionists have been trying to convince Americans of that for decades.
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As someone who has never had much interest in breakfast, I have had a hard time buying into this notion. A cup of tea and perhaps some toast…that seems perfectly adequate to me. So imagine my delight to discover that the French agree with me. Okay, so they substitute café au lait for my preferred Earl Grey with milk and sugar (or honey) but a couple of pieces of toasted baguette spread with delicious butter and jam? Oui, s’il vous plaît!
Let’s take a closer look at the typical French breakfast.
After enjoying numerous servings of bread in Paris I can honestly say I could live quite happily on bread and wine there for several days. I don’t know why a French baguette tastes so different than the ones here in the United States. By law, a French baguette can only contain four ingredients – flour, yeast, water and salt. Yet somehow, in the hands of a French baker these simple ingredients are transformed into something magical.
The usual French breakfast starts with a couple of pieces of baguette, cut diagonally and toasted. These are called “tartines” and are spread with a bit of real butter and some jam.
Croissants are another option for breakfast but most French people don’t eat these rich and buttery creations every day. They are usually a weekend treat.
The usual coffee drunk by the French is a tiny cup of espresso. Strong, bitter and served black, this is what all those stylish Parisians are sipping in those sidewalk cafés. But for breakfast the French enjoy a café au lait (coffee with milk) often served in a bowl:
And that’s basically it. Coffee (or hot chocolate for children) and some type of bread. Orange juice or some type of fruit may be added but for the most part it’s the French version of my beloved tea and toast. C’est parfait!