Often times (or maybe not so often), when one is pressed for time to eat everything one wishes to eat while in a foreign country, it is necessary to cast aside all preconceptions of what a meal should be, to be replaced with the limitless appetite of a child who naively believes one can never consume too much sugar. Yesterday’s lunch was one such time.
As my travel companion and one of our friends from school eagerly devoured their kebabs, I insisted upon a lighter lunch in anticipation of my second and third lunch. Ignoring the tempting, unhealthy call of my favorite beignet from the bakery near to the kebab stand, I settled instead for something slightly more wholesome: a slice of pissaladière with a marvelously unbalanced ratio favoring the delicious caramelized onions to crust. Sadly, standing in the middle of the street eating a slice of pissaladière does not make for an ideal photo taking opportunity. But imagine, a square slice of thin pizza, the sauce and cheese replaced with caramelized onions, a few anchovies, and an olive (or two if you’re lucky). This is pissaladière.
In addition to being delicious, pissaladière also makes the perfect light salty “lunch” before two scoops of what some claim is the world’s best ice cream. I can’t affirm if it is truly the world’s best but of the flavors I have tried from Fenocchio’s (coco, almond, pistachio, and cafe) the coco and pistachio were the best I have ever had. Mind you, I’m not an especially avid ice cream eater, but I like to think I can appreciate a good ice cream when I taste it. As I ate my two scoops of ice cream (one almond, the other pistachio), I wondered, how do the two other ice cream serving establishments within one minute walking distance stand up to this sort of competition? Here you have a wonderful establishment which does in fact serve pretty damn delicious ice cream. So what would make one think one could ever stand a chance against a place such as this that serves a myriad of delicious flavors from the customary vanilla and chocolate to the not-so-customary riz au lait and tomato? I’ll leave this question unanswered for it would require many more months of research and ice cream eating from numerous ice cream serving establishments, and I simply don’t have that kind of time. I’ve got other countries to travel to.
Plus, I’ve got hot chocolate (chocolat chaud) to discuss. After lowering my internal temperature with ice cream, I was prepared for a sugar coma inducing cup of hot chocolate.
I can confidently say that chocolat chaud is one of the things I really like a lot in this world. I usually have difficulty naming favorite foods because all foods hold a special place in my heart and stomach. But to put my love for chocolat chaud in words, it is on the same level of love as sunshine, peanut m&m’s, puppies, kittens, and listening to Bob Marley. As avid consumer of chocolate, there is something fabulously naughty (and delicious) about drinking your chocolate. Mind you, I speak not of Swiss Miss or of some sort of processed powder that’s supposed to resemble chocolate when added to hot water. I speak of a beverage of a completely different nature. I speak of what hot chocolate should be – so rich that it makes you almost uncomfortable. So chocolaty that you suspect somebody must have melted an entire bar of chocolate into your cup when someone wasn’t looking in an attempt at assassination by chocolate. So velvety smooth that it is as if you bought your tongue a new velvet sweater made of chocolate. So delicious that you have to re-assess what your definition of delicious is. This is chocolat chaud.
And this is the absence of chocolat chaud.
And so concluded yesterday’s lunch. With a surprisingly non-churning stomach, brain function fuzzed by the large quantity of sugar coursing through my blood stream, and a deep sense of content that I had accomplished something terribly important. That’s my kind of lunch.