One of the most brilliant aspects about living in France is that the French love food; they're interested in where their foods come from and the ways in which they are produced. The quality of products available is unbeatable and I find that there's always something special and different about all of the small delicacies that are, to the French, common place. The aisles at my grocery store are filled with tiny little jars containing complicated and delicious sounding jams and spreads for bread and hors d'oeuvres...don't even get me started on the yogurt and cheese (an entire aisle of cheese followed by an entire aisle of yogurt, cream, and milk). However, being a vegetarian in France means that sometimes I'm a bit frustrated with my food options when it comes to dining out, and for all of the wonderful new foods I can eat I have to say there are equally as many which I won't. Nevertheless I must admit that I've never felt left out when someone brought out pâté (a spread made from the fattened liver of a force fed goose)...luckily for me this is a country that truly enjoys the decadence of delicious dessert and being vegetarian here means that I have some extra time on my hands and room in my stomach to discover the sweet delights that this culture has to offer.
Today, for example, I came across a silly little jar of rose petal jam that I fell in love with. The jam was such a pretty pinkish/tea stained color with transparent little ghosts of actual rose petals suspended in the jam...I knew it was coming home with me. (I love the way the French use flowers in foods and desserts. One of my favorite flavors is Violet, it makes a delicious drink when you add violet syrup to sparkling water.) As long as I had my jam I certainly needed something tasty to put it on so on the walk home I popped into my local boulangerie for a bit of brioche, which lead me to a delicious little tea and coffee shop I'd always wanted to stop in and see (another thing the French do spectacularly well is different tea infusions)...which lead to the buying of a wonderful tea flavored with dried fruits and flowers. And as long as I'm talking about wonderful and delicious French food did I mention the beurre salé (salted butter)? Beurre salé is a religion for me, it's changed my life and the way I view the world. I want to slather everything I see in beurre salé, I want to brush my teeth with beurre salé, and well, unless you've been to France and tried it you'll never know this fever burning inside me.