It turns out, my mother was right — church is good for you.
On day 1.5 in Paris, we feel drawn to Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. It’s Sunday and the childhood Catholics in us just won’t be silenced. I’m not saying we went to mass — but we did have a holy experience of another sort.
While leaving the church, there it was — tent after tent filled with duck rillettes, honeys, chestnut jams and sweet, sweet strawberries from the Perigord region.
We gawped at the decadent spread and then one another. This street fair — clearly, it had to be a sign. And so we stopped to smell the strawberries.
The Perigord, we had pegged it as foie gras central. Indeed, it is — this street fair was lousy with stalls filled with the stuff.
After some serious tent-hopping, we settled on a favorite, Foie Gras Crouzel, which also happened to have more medals than its rivals, not that we’re counting. We especially loved its truffle-topped foie gras …
A few tents away, at a tiny, easy-to-miss stand, a lone women stood hawking a tray of what looked like large, flat stones.
From behind her food pulpit, she produced a plate of sausage slivers — the “stones” were actually ash-cured sausages by Les Sucres Sales de Mathilde.
But in the end, it was the strawberries that won us over, and not just because one stall had a man dressed as a giant strawberry to hawk its wares. (Who knew agriculturalists from Central France had such Disney-inspired flair?)
We had to admit, these were some of the most flavorful strawberries we’d sampled in a while. But it may have been because most of our strawberries, especially of late, have been wan, softened versions purchased in New York grocery stores.
All too soon, a real meal of oeufs, pain, jambon and confiture beckoned. But not before a little something to whet our appetites …
This Sunday in Paris, it taught us something. If one is lucky, all brunches should begin this way.