Saturday, March 02, 2013

La Fete de la Coquille

Vendredi 1Mars C.B.S. caramel au beurre sale
I went to the annual Breton la Fete de a Coquille in Montmartre in January and was instantly immersed in a bath of caramel au beurre sale much to my delight and horror.
How to resist so much temptation?
Olivier Magny in his book STUFF PARISIANS LIKE has nailed this conflict as he has many other mysterious Parisian ways. This book remains a source of answers in a mysterious town. I'll quote him liberally here:
Sweet in Paris is guilty. Gently. Guilty. Sugar It carries all the afflictions of decadence. It is coating and fattening, sensual and tempting, enjoyable and slippery. Anything sweet in Paris should therefore be consumed in great moderation. (Will I ever acclimate?)
Just enough for the threatening shadow of decadence not to ruin the tender moment of sweet collapse. In that unspoken tug-of-war between good and bad, the Parisian found an ally in caramel au beurre sale.
Le caramel au beurre is as sweet as it gets. Devilishly so. But in all that sweetness and perversion comes a salvatory adjective, a redeeming flavor: le sale/salt.
Taunting and irreverent. Obedient nd rebellious. Le sale makes caramel acceptable.

This is the best koign amann of my life by the way from the fair in Montmartre. Merci deux I only bought one.

I returned to the Agricultural Salon last night to visit the Bretonne section. Le caramel au beurre sale was once a Bretonne oddity.

The uncanny account for the local tradition of salting butter. Salt is one powerful little thing.

The Bretonnes were out in full force last night with plenty of salt on offer...

Caramel au beurre sale can take many, many forms.

At the chocolate salon Henri Le Roux was serving up tiny tarts to die for...

And his classic caramel au beurre sale (C.B.S. for short for the French) caramels.
Olivier Magny's STUFF PARISIANS LIKE has remained on Paris bookshop counters since it came out a few years ago. Evidently Parisians need to bone up on their peculiar habits not just me. It's a terrific reference. His final words on C.B.S:.
...Salt miraculously washes sugar away, brushes off decadence. The Parisian is freed.
USEFUL TIP: When it comes to caramel au beurre, Henri Le Roux is the man.

33 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:40 AM

    Thank you Olivier for a free pass to eating all the caramels I want in Paris
    Bravo
    Food walker

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  2. I've never heard of these so you actually gave me another reason to explore french delights!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uh oh...you are in big trouble
      Danger ahead
      Look out!
      Trop delish

      Delete
  3. Ah! what wonderful words " Le sale makes caramel acceptable"
    it's like music to my ears .... I feel better now!


    "All Things French"

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    Replies
    1. Yes salt can wash away yr sins!
      Excellent think IMHO

      Delete
  4. Oh, dearie dear, Carol and Oliver,
    such good news, I am delighted!
    Now I wonder whether sal volatile was really intended for use as a sweet-antidote. Easy then, having a koign amann and eat it, too!

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  5. Salivating, over here!

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    Replies
    1. Amy, You Have to come next year to the farm salon
      All the regions and all their sweets
      Plus other countries and their sweets-Spain...Swiss etc.
      One whole week! I want to go back again...

      Delete
  6. I'm going to our home in Brittany tomorrow and can't wait to sink my teeth into a nice piece of kouign aman and some caramels au beurre salé. A charming piece, Carol. Olivier's book is charming as well. He's got a great sense of joie de vivre. He should - he's French - it comes naturally.

    Harriet Welty Rochefort, author, "Joie de Vivre"

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    Replies
    1. Yr so lucky Harriet...
      The giant hunk of better is adorning a crepe about to be doused in caramel sauce.
      I could not resist.
      I am afraid to go to Brittany...

      Delete
  7. Carol, what a delightful post. Le caramel au beurre salé has recently topped le café as my favorite flavor on... just about everything. I can't imagine how much damage would have been done at the Salon... As for that crêpe you mention... Mon Dieu. I will think of it and focus on that image when the going gets tough here. It is sure to cheer me up. Merci pour ce billet délicieusement gourmand. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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    Replies
    1. Amazing the powers of caramel to cheer...
      Even just the thought is cheering
      And Who knew the French have guilt like the rest of us about sweets...

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  8. I'd happily succumb to death by koign amann. Love CBS...the book looks interesting, too.
    jeannie

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  9. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Oh, the koign amann! Hats off -
    you only bought one. Kathryn

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    Replies
    1. Great inner battles were fought and won.
      The battle to save it for later was lost and concequences were paid

      Delete
  10. Not to mention that Bretons are just plain sexy. Their culture, their food, their language is so different from France/French -- more wild and magical. Oh lucky you to have been in the neighborhood -- you make Paris in January sound delicious.

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    Replies
    1. Bretons are sexy in their poofy skirts and funny hats?
      I hope no Bretonnes are reading this hmmm...
      Live and learn
      On the other hand Paris anytime of the year is OK with moi

      Delete
  11. My mouth was watering with those pictures and Oliver Magny's descriptions. A very intellectual way to think about the relationship between sugar and salt in the eyes of the parisian. My mind is turning now thinking of Quebeckers here in Canada are similar at all with their maple and caramel.

    I would appreciate it if you stopped by my blog to enter in my #WTFrance2013 giveaway. It is an art illustration of French wine by an artist in Croatia. You enter by telling me what I should do in France as a first timer visiting for a week and a half.

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  12. Non non non. CBS was invented by the devil. First you taste the sweet, then the salt (avec a little crunch, maybe?) and the salt only makes you want more sweet, then more salt, then... pretty soon they're all gone. Even though it was all beautifully explained, I still can't fathom how the French can limit themselves to just a little taste (but admire the restraint).

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  13. I hope you got out of the bath?! Great post as usual. Will be watching Spiral tonight for my weekly dose of all things Parisienne. They don't seem to go to the same places you do?!

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  14. I think your blog is as much decadence as I can take. I'd quickly look like a whale if I was in France.

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha
      Guess who is becoming a whale/balan?

      Delete
  15. Oh I'm definitely with you on CBS- it's exquisite- the caramels themselves, which I first tasted in 1998, and as a flavour for macarons, ice cream, anything. I haven't had it in a jar- OMG, it must be extraordinary. I've not had a koign amann, but am definitely intrigued.

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  16. I was so lucky to be taken to Brittany last year (from Australia!) for the Celtic Festival in Lorient-c'etais fantastique! The costumes were exquisite and the bagard bands tootling away with great music. Are Bretons sexy as per previous comment....? Well the young people we met at Le Festival du Bout du Monde were! Lots of fun and love dressing up. I personally fell in love with the whole place :) and i miss the cider and the seafood but not les caramels au beurre salees parce que ma amie bretonne Annie les avais envoie a moi en Australie!! J'ai la bonne chance :) Merci pour la poste Carol!

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    Replies
    1. That festival sounds Amazing! Would love to attend the 1st week in August..
      Thanks

      Delete
  17. Why am I guessing that with your new 24/7 access, you NOT going to feel any diminished lusting? :-)

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    Replies
    1. Wrong. Familiarity makes it easier to walk on by most of the time.

      Delete
  18. Everything looks delicious!

    Now I am going to be nosy and as for a report on how you ended up moving to PAris, if I may ask. Are you there for good, how did you find an apartment, are you "employed" or self employed?

    Do tell for all of us who a long time readers and visitors to Pairs and hope one day to be brave like you and move there!

    Take care, Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh la la
      It will come...just here a week
      On a long stay visitor visa I hope ...process pas fini encore
      For a year
      On verra bien

      Delete

  19. Aimee would have been a major fan of CBS bien sur...oh why did I start the series in the 90's?

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  20. Oh, God, now you're touching my favorites...mmmmmmmm

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  21. Anonymous9:54 AM

    Beautiful post! The koign amann... *drool*. I am wondering, does anybody have any information on the Breton fair in Montmartre? Perhaps a website? Thank you

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    Replies
    1. It's an annual event that takes place in January is all I know..not a HUGE event like the Agriculture salon. Just in the square at Abbesses.
      Still major fun!

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