Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Husband and I went to Tours this weekend. We left on saturday morning and came back sunday around noon. Our first 24 hours away from our children ever. Happily, we got along really well and had things to talk about other than the children. While in Tours I learned two things. It was kind of like a field trip.

Mustard has really cool splatter patterns.

Husband and I found a nice brasserie for lunch on saturday. Upon arrival at our table, husband took off his coat with a flourish. And knocked a small mustard pot off the table. The mustard pot fell to the floor right at my feet. There was no mustard on the floor. There was, however, a series of near-linear splatters all over me. We thought it was confined to my coat and hair. Husband sweetly scraped as much as possible off my coat with a steak knife. I went into the restroom to get the rest out of my hair. I came back, we settled in, and ordered. Husband ordered jarret, a small ham. The waiter deadpanned, "Avec de la moutarde, monsieur?" When he came back with our wine he discreetly pointed to my leg and said, "Eh, madame..." There was a long line of mustard splatter from the bottom of my jeans up to mid-thigh. Talk about elegant.

There is a shop in Tours that only sells brioche.

No baguettes, no croissants, no pains au chocolat. Nothing except for brioche. Now, I like brioche as much as anybody. What's not to like? But I did not think there could be a shop where you can only buy brioche. Or that someone could sell that much brioche. There were three, well, four varieties. A large-ish braided loaf, a traditional round brioche, a smaller version of the traditional round brioche, and that same smaller version but with small morcels of chocolat. The shop was right by our hotel in a quiet section of downtown Tours.

You might be thinking, so what? We have bagel shops. Yes, we do. But with bagels you have infinite possibilities. Sweet, savory, toppings, sandwiches, cold, hot, toasted, not. (I must stop this. I miss bagels sometimes.) Anyway. It's not the same with brioche. Brioche is just brioche. It's always sweet and nearly always consumed for breakfast or perhaps at snack-time for kids. That's it. But that's not stopping the people of Tours. They were in and out of that shop all day long. A constant flow of brioche buyers. Which tells me that I have clearly been underestimating the possibilities of excellent brioche.


charlie said...

I've been to Tours. I've 'done' the Loire. Twice. Caught a big fish at Saumur (oh yes I did!). The area is nice. Brioches are nice. Mustard is nice. Even on trousers - and you'll notice how I have resisted temptation there! France is nice. And all these things are infinitely nicer without the kids.

Except the mustard, which better on kids than on trousers.

zeb said...

Yes you have underestimated brioche. Since I only get it once a year so I try to eat some every day I visit. Maybe I should opening a shop over here.

beth said...

Mustard Pot - does mustard really come in pots? Talk about elegant - as far as I knew it just came in jars.
Glad you like the chocolates.

Eric said...

Le Petit Brioche Sounds like a Mall Scotch tape Shop of that cute confectioner "Oh Fudge"
I do like ham and cheese Brioch though. MMMM

Lorraine said...

Your waiter made me laugh out loud.

I love brioche. I love brioche with chocolate tucked inside it. I love brioche with nothing tucked inside it. I love brioche for pain perdu and I love brioche for bread pudding and I love it for crumbs. And in these parts one is hard pressed to find good brioche so I think all those folks from Tours must have been in Seattle at one time or another and realized, when they got home, what a gift it was to have brioche at hand every day.

Also, very glad you and husband had things to say to each other that were not child related. This is an important test and you passed. Yeah!

Nicole said...

Charlie - I had to resist the same temptation. Family reading material.

Zeb - how about in VB when you retire?

Beth- I'll send you some. If you like mustard?

Eric - what kind of cheese? With mustard?

Lorraine - have you ever made it? I'm sure you have. A woman here told me to knead the dough with wooden spoons.

Grish said...

I had brioche once but it was made by an American student for a French class so probably wasn't the same thing you had... :P