Sorry for the silence but my life is in some turmoil right now. I left France and came back to NYC but only for a quick vacation since I just signed a new contract for another summer with my airline back in Germany.
There’ll be a bunch of posts coming up but for now I have some pictures for you from my last days at the Côte d’Azur:
I will miss those colorful houses….
The best part about living at the Côte d’Azur is, hands down, the ocean. This amazing azure blue ocean. I love smelling the salty air, looking at the seemingly infinite waters and listening to the waves.
There is a poem that has been my favorite for years since it captures this feeling of total peace that one gets just lying at a beach and simply being there for no other reason but enjoying the moment.
It’s by Günther Kunert and I’ll share it with you:
In den Dünen sitzen.
Translated to english it goes something like this:
Sitting in the dunes
Between two heartbeats thinking
This is peace.
I am a coffee addict. I know a lot of people say that but it is painfully true for me, I literally get headaches if I don’t get my fix in the morning. While I do need milk in it, I am definitely the strong coffee kind of gal.
In my opinion it comes down to the stronger/more the better which is why I came to love that symbol of capitalism and global gentrification: Starbucks.
It’s strong, you get to add as much or as little milk as you like, it’s a lot for a comparable low price and they let you stick around for hours while offering free wi-fi.
If you’ve ever been to France, you know what’s coming: France is not the place for that kind of coffee addiction.
Now picture this: I am walking around the old town, taking in all the sunny goodness of the Côte d’Azur and think to myself: “I could use some coffee right now”. So I walk into a nice and fancy looking place and apply my best french and smile by saying: “Un café s’il vous plaît”.
The feeling I had when the barista placed the result of my order in front of me can only be described as utter disappointment.
Now I am not saying that France doesn’t have good coffee. There are a bunch of lovely places with hight tech coffee presses that use great quality beans and brew fresh to order. But it comes in a cup the size of my thumb!
So I did a little research and a little talking to the right people and am giving you the Top 5 things to know to maneuver your way to the fulfillment of your caffeine craving in a French café:
1. First and foremost: French “café” is not your ordinary filter coffee – it is what most other people would call “espresso”. Strong, brewed my shooting pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee, served in a teeny tiny cup. If you ask for “un café”, this is what you get.
2. Café Noisette: Literally means “hazelnut coffee” resulting from its rich brown color produced by a splash of cream in the espresso. Equally tiny, just a little less strong.
3.Café au lait: Roughly equals a “latte” with its base being espresso served in a bigger cup that gets filled up with milk.
4.Café American: Now the opinions on this one are twofold: Some people insist that this is filtered coffee, others say ( and that has been my experience) that this is espresso served in a big cup simply filled up with water. This especially makes sense since it essentially goes along with what Starbucks calls “Americano”.
5. Never order coffee to accompany any kind of meal other than breakfast. Having some tarte au chocolat as dessert and want some coffee with that? Forget about it, the waiter will look at you as if you just dropped from outer space. I know, the urge is there but just don’t do it.
I love France. I do. But I can’t wait for the day when I can walk into a Starbucks again and order a nice and simple coffee, Venti please!
So after being with me the last three weeks my beloved boyfriend returned back to New York City. We had an awesome time even though the Côte d’Azur didn’t quite live up to its sunny reputation and it was raining quite frequently. We are in a transcontinental relationship for over two years now and needless to say I love love love the times we get to spend together but there is one thing that always kind of troubles me… I always gain weight!
And it’s not like I don’t know where it’s coming from… We both love cooking (and eating) together and unlike most men my boyfriend is a big fan of chocolate and all kinds of sweet things. While we do eat very healthy and always cook tons of veggies we also indulge in plenty of treats. I guess because we always feel like our time together is something special we are not shying away from celebrating this occasion with treating ourselves to desert every day and just enjoy having fancy cakes and chocolates together.
Nor surprisingly I didn’t really care about lent while he was here although I usually try to cut out sugar during those weeks and I always enjoy the effects it has. Not only does it feel good to break the dependency on sugary treats but I also always feel I can appreciate the occasional chocolate much more afterwards.
So as of today I am off sugar again and as sort of a last supper we treated ourselves to hands down the best cake I’ve ever shoved in my mouth. Yumm……
It was a “pralinè” cake from LAC Chocolatier in Nice. It had macaron and praliné layers and was topped with chocolate and caramelized nuts… heaven I tell you HEAVEN. My boyfriend was actually laughing at me cause I looked so out of this world happy scarfing that thing down :-)
So after walking a bunch over the weekend I treated myself to some Macarons from a place called “LAC Chocolatiers”. It’s a teeny tiny store specialized in fine chocolates and high class treats.
The variety of flavours was pretty big but I opted for “praliné” which looked particularly interesting with the little sprinkling sesame seeds and “amande” meaning almond. Pretty foolproof choices I think.
The almond one was awesome due to the intense flavour of, well, almonds but the texture almost made it seem like marzipan. I love marzipan :-)
The praliné one was out of this world. Imagine a macaron shell with a big plump piece of smooth fudge in the middle… yeah, that’s the stuff …
Sometimes I get lost this way but so far I’ve always found my way back home :-)
When I stroll through the old part of town, I can’t help but wonder what has happened in th
ese old buildings that have been standing there since hundreds of years, being a home to who knows how many families.
Most of the buildings were constructed in the 18th or 19th century while some date back a lot further.
I love that “shabby chic”. It’s all kinda run down a little but that only contributes to it’s charm.
One of the advantages of living in France is that things that are in other parts of the world considered originally french and therefore usually utterly expensive come with a much friendlier pricetag.
Especially things that are currently “en vogue”, like the infamous Macaron, seem to be unreasonably expensive outside of their place of origin. Everyone who has paid as much as 4 $ for a single one of these tiny suckers in various shops in NYC knows what I am talking about….
But alas, I am in France now and not only are these little pieces of heaven available in almost every place that sells cakes and cookies, they are usually around a mere 1€ a piece. Wohoo!
These here are especially wonderful since they are not as heavily colored with artificial food color like the ones I’ve seen elsewhere. And let me tell you… they are heavenly…. seriously, my mouth starts watering just looking at the pic……