French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.
My “Madeleine” is called Pain au chocolat. Its melting chocolate, its crustiness, the delicacy of its feuilleté there is nothing above it. Our love story goes far beyond the mouthwatering experience and lasts far after the ultimate crumb.
Tasting a pain au chocolat flies me back to kindergarden; The only way for my Mum to get me out of there would be to point at the bakery. The flagrance of the hot treat is the most beautiful perfume ever. Love at first smell, love at first sight, love at first taste. Not a passionated kind of love that consummates itself in a bulimic way. No, this love is made of admiration, savor, veneration. It is an exclusive relationship, made to last.
I guess my love for the pain au chocolat has crystallised over the years. Asia is not very famous for its French pastries so meeting with a real pain au chocolat on this continent is indeed an unique experience.To an expat, no matter how many decades you’ve been living abroad, a resurrection of the “Madeleine de Proust” can occur at anytime.
Last time it happened to me, in Seoul, I felt the flash again. The time travel machine took me back to France, sharing the 4pm goûter with my crazy brothers. It literally swept me off my feet to sit me down at my grand parents big kitchen table, surrounded by my bunch of hilarious cousins. I had to pause between each bite, to calm down the rush of the memories. Here I am at the terrace of my favorite Parisian café, back from another oversea mission, sipping at this too long awaited espresso, admiring my little chocolated treasures lying in their wicker basket.
Living in Asia has other kind of pleasures, can’t have it all…
Still, I am so looking forward to our European holidays next month. I know what I’ll get for breakfast. Lunch. And gouter. At least for a few days 🙂
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