Beyond Chocolate: Why Americans Do Get Fat in France
I just returned from 10 days in Paris and Brittany, France, where my girlfriend and I had a highly delicious time combining refined French cuisine with old-fashioned American overindulgence. They may say French women don’t get fat, but Americans on vacation in France most decidedly do. I mean, there’s a cheese course option at every meal. What can you do?
While desserts aren’t generally my favorite, it was food in that category that we found the most to write home about.
There were plenty of traditional sweets options at Mathray and Robert’s Pain de Sucre in the Marais, but we were most intrigued by their nouveau marshmallows, heavily infused with flavors like saffron (left) and whiskey (right).
Their classic macaroons also have a new school twist, with flavors like cool mint, salted caramel, and passion fruit-chocolate.
Nearby at Francois Pralus, it was the house speciality, la prauline that ushered us in. Invented here in 1955, this oft-duplicated treat is a toasty sweet brioche studded with pralines that are thickly coated in rose sugar.
In Brittany, this legendary local pastry known as a kouign amann just may be the world’s epicenter of sugar and butter. You know how they say each batch of croissants calls for a whole stick of butter? I think this one used the whole cow.
But the best part of France is that approximately three times per block you have an opportunity to peruse a traditional boulangerie/patisserie, an option we took advantage of every day. One of our favorites was la religieuse (the nun) a sinfully rich pastry that is basically one tiny round eclair mounted on top of a larger one. Not the simplest treat to eat, but it’s worth the extra effort.