A few classic French treats


Yes, you guessed it - millefeuille! Caramelized puff pastry layered with vanilla crème pâtissiére, Americans refer to this particular delight as Napoleon. I did a brief internet search and couldn't find a quick answer as to WHY we refer to this as Napoleon, cuz the French don't. Oh well, it's good no matter what you call it!

Having just returned from a wonderful trip to France and the Netherlands, I wanted to share with you some of the goodies in which I indulged during our stay. I tried to make a point of tasting some of the classic French pastries to be had, whether in Paris, Lille or pretty much any large city or small village in the country. If there's a pâtisserie or salon de thè nearby, you should be good to go.

Although Steve and I were in Paris for almost two weeks, my most memorable classics were enjoyed in Lille, right near the Belgian border. The millefeuille you see above was at the Meert salon de thè, just down the street from niece Christina and her family's apartment in the heart of vieux-Lille.

I joined Christina and her children, Kiera and Liam, for a memorable mid-morning chocolat chaud et millefeuille. Christina had the millefeuille as well, along with the signature "M" inscribed cappucino, while Kiera went for her favorite religuese caramel and Liam devoured L'impérial, a layered chocolate hazelnut number topped with a gilded hazelnut (hey - it's France!).


Later that same day Steve and I joined Christina and her husband Glen for dinner at a lovely restaurant on the ramparts of vieux-Lille. Delicious food, good company and lovely surroundings sums it up.

For dessert Glen had his "usual" dining out treat, the café gourmand. Basically coffee with a medley of small desserts, the selection here was quite the assortment!


Christina and I went with the strawberry-pistachio tart served with a vin jaune sorbet - delicious! The crust was so crisp, the pistachio filling just right and the cool sorbet the perfect complement to the fresh berries.


You might be wondering what the Steve-meister had? He went with dessert wine which is often his answer to restaurant desserts. From a guy who loves pastries? Go figure! He claims he won't eat any dessert that his wife hasn't made. How sweet is that!

How about we end on a more savory note, OK?. In northern France one of the specialties is the planche, a board of charcuterie, cheeses, olives, etc served with bread. For a couple of our lunches at G&C's apartment, they provided us with that particular repast. Nothing like fresh baguette, a medley of cheeses, some saucisson, fresh veggies and hummus, nuts - and let's not forget the wine. Yum!


Thanks for everything Glen and Christina! And Kiera and Liam too!!

Méert pastry shop in Lille

Steve and I arrived in Lille France yesterday to visit niece Christina and her family for the next few days.  I had seen and heard a number of "must visit" comments about Méert, the well known Lillois patisserie, and it was one of the first stops on our hit list.

It turns out the shop is literally around the corner from Glen and Christina's apartment, so once we were up and about and had enjoyed our delicious morning coffee compliments of G&Cs Nespresso machine (with frother I might add!), we headed out the door.

As is true of pretty much all pastry shops in France, the window displays are mouth watering.  Méert's is no exception, although I won't even begin to try and tell you the names of all this stuff!

The viennoiserie case held the classics - brioche, palmier, chausson aux pommes, croissant, pain au chocolat and more.

Christina, Steve and I each sampled a treat and were more than content. We hope to return and experience the salon de thé portion of the shop - we're shooting for Sunday brunch with the MacDs (with more photos to come!).

As an end note, here's a pleasant little travel story - as we were standing in line at the shop, a Lillois woman entered and started chatting with us, giving me a much needed chance to practice my French. Of course, Steve was throwing in some Italian with which she seemed quite delighted.  She spoke English as well, telling us of her travels to the USA in the past - California, TX/LA and New York. She confirmed that our dining out choice for tomorrow night was excellent and gave Christina more tips about places to visit and/or eat. She and I exchanged contact info, and she even suggested we connect via Skype or FaceTime periodically so I could practice my French.  Now isn't that interesting?!

You never know the paths that might cross in life, eh?