France me voilà, Part II

La Bûche de Noël (Yule log)

The “Bûche de Noël” is a cake that is sold end of December. It is part of the Christmas tradition to eat that cake mainly during the “Réveillon” which is the important dinner that the French people do the night of Christmas Eve.

In the picture above, it is a home-made cake with a chocolate cream. In bakeries, you will find the cakes with small Christmas decorations on them. The color of the “Bûche” will vary with the cream that is used.

It is also possible to replace the cake by an ice cream cake, which also has the same shape than a Yule log.


France me voilà (France here I am), Part I

I am currently visiting France for the Christmas holidays, so I will use that occasion to taste a few French pastries. “Few” may not be the correct word, as in two days I already ate two apple turnovers, two chocolate croissants, and one “moelleux au chocolat” (similar to a molten chocolate cake or a chocolate lava cake).

After taking the picture of the chocolate croissant I savored yesterday, I realized that all the ones I tested in San Francisco had only one chocolate bar.

The moelleux au chocolat is one of my favorite desserts when served warm and with the chocolate still melting in the middle of the cake. In this picture the pastry was served with a caramel sauce, but usually it is presented with custard.

When you order a coffee in France, nobody asks you if it is “to go”: we usually sit down to enjoy the beverage. It is served in a small cup, and in addition to the sugar, it is common to get a small treat such as a chocolate or a small biscuit.

Fresh bread in Noe Valley

It is pleasant to walk along 24th Street in Noe Valley. The first local stores that made me enjoying this neighborhood were one of its book stores and its music store that unfortunately closed last year (Yes, I still like buying CDs!).

If you walk until 24th Street crosses Castro Street, you will be rewarded with an interesting choice of bread at the Noe Valley Bakery. Their breads have a crunchy crust. I like their Organic Fig bread, but if you find it too sweet you can opt for the Crusty White bread, for example.

I haven’t tasted all their pies (Yet!), but some of the fruit tarts I tried were yummy. It is not that easy to find good pies that don’t look or taste artificial!

French pastries at Coffee Bar

Usually I like cozy coffee shops and Coffee Bar has a different ambiance; it’s more contemporary but also has an outside seating area, which is nice for sunny days.

I have difficulty finding good chocolate croissants (in French: pain au chocolat), so I was happy to see this coffee shop was selling French pastries from Pâtisserie Philippe, also located in San Francisco.

The pain au chocolat looks and tastes like a French one: the crust is crispy and the inside is soft and tastes of butter. Let me know what you think about it if one day you try the place.

Hello world!

I love food and one of my favorite moments is when I can sit in a coffee shop and enjoy each bite of a good pastry or “pâtisserie”, as I would say in French.

Since I moved from France to California, I like to eat local food because I consider it a part of discovering a different culture. Sometimes I will better savor a meal if its taste reminds me of a familiar flavor related to my past in France (between French and Vietnamese cuisine).

I decided to create this blog because I haven’t found any guide book that lists places with pastries that correspond to my taste. I like chocolate that tastes chocolate instead of sugar (I have a preference for dark chocolate). I come from Brittany, where salted butter is an important ingredient for cooking.

Everybody has his own taste preferences, but hopefully this blog will be helpful to other food lovers.