A Year In Food

From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sept. 3.

Bordeaux, Part Three - It was our last day in Bordeaux and I was thoroughly enchanted. I spent hours just walking around, taking in the easygoing ambience. But my enjoyment only grew when we went to a supermarket called Auchan for lunch. It was massive, almost the acreage of a Wal-Mart, and it had three aisles dedicated to cheese alone. Going through the store, I got samples of an incredibly juicy cantaloup, bread, bouillabaise, dark chocolate and three kinds of cheese. Perhps even more excitingly, Vince and I found a two-liter bottle of spring water for 17 cents, shattering our previous record. Once the shock of possibilities wore off, we split a toasted sesame baguette and a smoked sausage that was very reminiscent of Polish kielbasa.

After lunch, we went to the bustling shopping district and visited the Cathedrale St. Andre. Then we drifted out to the more rundown area closer to the train station, where I found myself drawn to the mix of Arabic and African restaurants. But after walking through the Basilique St. Michel, it was back to the Auchan to dream up another meal. Somehow, this one turned out even cheaper as we split yet another damn baguette and a large 90-cent wheel of Camembert, France's favorite and smelliest cheese. Both were passable but the real star was our other buy, a package of two caneles.

I had developed the tendency of freezing in front of every patisserie I passed, gazing open-jawed at the glittering array of tarts and pastries. I knew most of them all too well, but foundmyself confounded by the little cake-like creatures in the shape of a lampshadeand the shade of a varnished deck. With a little investigating, I learned they were called caneles and the ones in Auchan's pastry department turned out to be the cheapest we could find. I took a bite of mine and immediately loved it. It was exceptionally moist with very prominent flavors of eggs and rum. It was similar though better than a baba au rum. I wished that I could have a few more, but unfortunately, my time in Bordeaux was through.


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