November 24, 2009

Pain au me souviens..

Many, many years ago (far more than I care to admit) I spent the spring semester of my junior year of university abroad in Dijon France. Yes, Dijon, the city made famous for that spicy yellow condiment.  "Officially" I was there to attend a French business school and immerse myself in the language and culture.  Unofficially it was really just an excuse to eat, drink, party, travel and meet fellow students from all over the world.  Without a doubt it was probably the best six months of my life and the memories and friendships created back then continue to stay with me.

Even on our paltry students' budget my friends and I managed to eat very well.   This is France after all, the country that claims over 50 types of cheeses, all protected and regulated under French law.  One of my absolute favorite afternoon snacks after a day of classes was a pain au chocolat from Boulangerie Garcia, just around the corner from my dormitory.  

Madame Garcia, the baker's wife, looked after the shop front, while Monsieur Garcia was happily tucked away in the basement concocting his delicious patisseries.  Madame Garcia was not what you'd expect a baker's wife to look like.  I always imagined someone petite and plump. Mais non! In fact, she was quite the opposite: tall and slender with big hair and a wardrobe that reminded you of a Journey groupie back in 1985.  But she ran that bakery like clockwork and my friends and I went there religiously to indulge in all the fantastic breads and pastries.  Those were the days... 

I often reminisce about the great times my friends and I had  that semester in France, when life seemed  so simple and carefree.   When the nostalgia hits me I normally tend to crave a pain au chocolat.  My version will never taste as good as the ones from Boulangerie Garcia, but until I  return to Dijon they'll have to suffice.

NOTE: Recipe can be found in the "Baking Illustrated" cookbook. 


  1. Hi Truc-san!

    Wow!! I finally got a chance to check out your blog - especially after I received the scrumptious chocolate/peanut treats from you today. Sorry, I'm sure you have an official name for them. But all I know is they are DELECTIBLE!! and I don't even like chocolates that much - those treats are sure good. I have to hide them from Sinh and the kids or else they'll gulp it up in a second. You have wonderful stories on here, especially about the pain au chocolat. I'm telling you, one day, I'm going to see a book published by you all about baking and stories behind them. Also, did you take the pictures posted on here yourself? They are sooo... nice, quite the professional and artiste! Bravo, Truc-san!! Carry on! I'll be checking back often. Bis bis, Mimi.

  2. Anonymous12/26/2011

    hi . it look very yammi , can you please post the recipe. thank you .

  3. My thoughts too, but an excellent job all the same. That little tune will stay in my head for the foreseeable.


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