Monday, July 9, 2012

Cafe Gourmand in Paris

I first saw them at Chez Dumonet, where we shared a beef bourgignon and confit de canard, B's most favorite dish in Paris. Our meal ended with regular cafe cremes and we were happy with what we ordered until...

I saw dessert plates on other tables on the way out. On each plate was an empty cup of espresso, with remnants of a macaron, a cookie, a small cake and a little pot of mousse. I was intrigued--what did they order?

Later that evening, I asked Bea about it and described what I had seen at lunchtime.  She said "oh, that's a cafe gourmand--an espresso with a sampling of the restaurant's desserts."  "Really? since when did they serve those things? This is the first time I've seen them! And why didn't you tell me about it?!" She looked at me like, "huh?.." (as in what's all the excitement about?)

Sometimes you don't realize what's commonplace and what's unique in a place where you've lived for a long time. Bea's been in Paris for almost nine years now.

I counted how many more meals we had on this trip. I was going to order a cafe gourmand after each one, and nevermind if I didn't drink espresso.

I had a cafe creme instead of an espresso here

Restaurants have their own versions of cafe gourmand--some more elaborate than the others.  It's a little surprise at the end of the meal because you don't know what you're going to get. Your coffee bill will go from 2 euro to about 8 euro, but it's a small price to pay for non-guilt-inducing, pleasurable dessert.


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