Goodies from France & the Great Baguette Face-off
The Boy’s mother recently arrived from France to stay with us for a few weeks in Hong Kong. With her, she brought a bunch of Frenchie goodies, including jars of indulgent pork rillettes. Now, being a pork lover (despite recently watching Charlotte’s Web – actually, come to think of it, I was eating porky rillette while watching this story about the most adorable little pig!) this lardy concoction of pork stewed to shreds in its own fat always makes me weak in the knees.
There’s just something magical about pork and fat, smeared over a crusty piece of toasted baguette and punctuated by sweet slivers of red onion. All washed down with some quality cider – I feel like a French country girl already!
Yes, the creamy layer on top is indeed, pork lard! When I saw this for the first time in the Loire valley, I found it utterly repulsive and had an awkward moment of trying to toss away what was already on my plate without anyone seeing me, but I was pressured into trying it and was converted!
Other novelty food goodies from France. Sugar in the shape of financiers.
And little sugar croissant, awwwwww………
Because we had so much rillettes, we decided to smear them on different baguettes for a taste test. Contenders of this bready face-off are from the following bakeries (left to right): Mandarin Oriental, Robuchon, Mark & Spencer. *Note, we purchased all the bread on the same day as the taste test*
Oh Mandarin Oriental, how have you failed us! I love the Mandarin Grill and Cafe Causette is not bad either, but seriously, the baguette from their bakery is a total fail! It felt at least a day old, stale, almost impossible to cut, and the ends were burnt. No one in our tasting party wanted to go for seconds on this bread.
Robuchon – I didn’t like it but the Frenchies did. I found it too tough and chewy, pockmarked with big holes from the yeast. But the Frenchies felt it was very “authentic” and “hand-crafted”, go figures!
Mark & Spencer – yes, it doesn’t take much to impress me, but this is my favourite baguette in Hong Kong. The smell wafting out of this bread is just incredible, and leaving this on the kitchen counter will perfume the entire space with its yeasty aromas. Also, I like how it is quite soft but with a nice crust. The Frenchies seem to think that this bread is too “artificial” and “factory made”. Whatever – it’s still my favourite!