Monday, November 12, 2012

La Noisette

A little taste of smooth and bitter heaven.  A French invention?  Maybe, but after many trips to France, I asked a barista what it is—only to discover that it’s an espresso with just exactly the right amount of steamed milk.  I had always assumed this was some kind of coffee concoction with a hazelnut-flavored syrup—“noisette” being the French word for hazelnut.  

There are béchamel and velouté.  Crème this and crème that—all enhancing the flavor and presentation of whatever the dish is.  It all comes together in a way that is special here—whether we’re in a seaside restaurant or a small neighborhood brasserie.   

I recently discovered a dessert called a Paris-Brest, named for the bicycle tour of the same name beginning in 1891, which makes a route from Paris to Brest and returning to Paris in the same day.  The dessert is a pastry (pâte à choux) in the shape of a doughnut--or bicycle wheel--or circular route, stuffed with crème patissière au pralin (praline cream) mixed with crème au beurre (butter cream).  Intoxicating.

And what they do with the humble cauliflower.  My, my. . .

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