A couple of weeks ago, Ross and I took a day for ourselves in France. No children, no stress, just the two of us, a banging playlist, our motor, and our passports. We both adore France, which probably stems from summer holidays in France as children, our mutual love of French cheese and French wine, and the fact that it’s so close.
Once on the Continent, we drove straight to Cité Europe, which is an enormous shopping centre, complete with H&M (So you can imagine how happy I was). We spent the most time in Carrefour, stocking up on wine that cost €1.50 per bottle, giggling over a bag of mints amusingly called Vag Fresh (are they mints or are they pessaries?), and salivating over the cheese and patisserie.
For lunch, we dined at a typically French bistro in the centre of Calais. We both ordered moule frites, which was a gamble for me as I do not like moule. I ordered them because I figured if I was going to like moule, France would be the place to change my mind. As it turns out, I still do not like moule. In fact, I hate moule. I’ve never really been that keen on things that reside in shells, crab and lobster aside. I can just about deal with prawns (sea beetles), as long as they have been beheaded and I don’t have to pull off the legs myself. But moule is, frankly, revolting. It’s the little sack of green mush that makes me want to heave. And the fact they look like vaginas doesn’t really help either.
I do, however, LOVE the creamy wine sauce they come swimming in, and the skinny fries. I wish I liked moule, I really do, but it’s just not in me. I think I managed about 10 of the hideous little molluscs before giving up and eating chips.
We walked off lunch with a stroll on the beach. It was breezy and we flew our kite and watched a couple of ferries sail into dock. After an hour or so we drove down the coast a little way, ate our religieuse before racing back to catch the ferry home to England. Au Revoir, France!
Religieuse are magnificent. Possibly one of the best patisserie to ever come out of France. They are a kind of éclair, so if you like those, you’ll love these little choux bun nuns. They are filled with crème pâtissière, smothered in ganache and glued together with piped whipped cream. I’d always have room for a religieuse, even after something mammoth like Christmas dinner, or in this case, two portions of chips.
I am looking forward to the next time we go. We’ll take the children, picnic on the beach, have a paddle. Perfect day.