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  1. #1


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    I am taking a French class in which we're also learning about French culture. Last night we received a handout which showed what the French people ate for breakfast. The most common was tartine at 51%. Croissant was only eaten by 4% of those surveyed. I don't know who was surveyed but I was shocked. When I was in France, I ate (two) croissants every morning, thinking that's what a typical French breakfast was. If not at breakfast, when do the French eat croissant? Not likely at snack since they don't snack between meals, right?

  2. #2


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    I am taking a French class in which we're also learning about French culture. Last night we received a handout which showed what the French people ate for breakfast. The most common was tartine at 51%. Croissant was only eaten by 4% of those surveyed. I don't know who was surveyed but I was shocked. When I was in France, I ate (two) croissants every morning, thinking that's what a typical French breakfast was. If not at breakfast, when do the French eat croissant? Not likely at snack since they don't snack between meals, right?

  3. #3
    When I was growing up in SW France, croissants were for Sundays or special occasions. Considering we added butter to them (the better croissants ooze with butter already , that was a good thing!

    Tartines of baguette bread are popular for the petit dejeuner, with the occasional pains au chocolat & pains aux raisins for kids. I see a lot of my kids' friends eating cereals now too (Kellogg's...)

    This will vary across regions of France, across seasons (we eat more fruit in the summer here in SE France), across families.

    Many kids will snack when they come home after school, often with a piece of fruit and bread and a couple squares off a chocolate bar.

    Bon appétit.

  4. #4


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    My experience is the same as AzurAlive's. Croissants are for special occasions. When you are traveling and having breakfast in a café or at your hotel, you often get a croissant. That's a special occasion. At home, people eat toasted bread with butter and confiture, or cereal (more and more). Often a yogurt, plain or with fruit, or a fromage blanc (similar).

  5. #5
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    Last summer I boarded at a French home for three weeks while attending a French language school.

    Our normal breakfast was: a glass of juice, coffee, a small yoghurt, and one or two tartines with jam-- usually leftover bread from an earlier meal, toasted.

    The only time we had croissants was on a Saturday morning when I went out and got them for my hostess, her visiting daughter, and me.

    At first I was really disappointed in the breakfast. When we are in Provence, my husband goes out almost every day for croissants and baguette for our breakfast. But I think in "real life," it is too time-consuming to go to the boulangerie every day. And it's expensive too-- and probably not as good for you.

    I actually came to enjoy the more basic breakfast.

    Kathy

  6. #6


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    We've told that the French (and Italians too) do not use an electric toaster. If that is so, how do they toast their bread?

    Personally, we like to have a toaster in our rentals since we like our multi-grain or whole grain bread toasted, especially if it's day or two old. With the high cost of energy, I really hate to turn on the oven just to toast a couple of slices of bread.

    With our upcoming long rentals, we already made a decision to buy one if it's not provided.




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  7. #7


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    People in France have toasters. I know I do. The toasters here can accommodate slices of baguettes or regular loaf bread. Toasters and toaster ovens are sold in all the supermarkets. My toaster cost about 10 euros. A toaster is called a grille-pain.

  8. #8


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    When I have stayed with my friend in Provence they eat what is basically the consistency of a croissant (although maybe a bit airier and bread like) and tastes like one too, but it looks like a loaf of bread. They cut off slices of it, put it in the toaster, and then spread it with jam or nutella.

    Does anyone know what this is called?
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  9. #9


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    With so many boulangeries in Paris selling croissants and other similar baked goods, if not for breakfast or for snack, when are they eaten?? Do people eat them for lunch? It's not Sunday (or special occasion) everyday.

  10. #10
    My apologies for gatecrashing this thread on the subject of breakfast in France with a question of my own.

    We are staying in Paris over Easter and have opted for hotel accommodation without breakfast and wondered what is available early morning at breakfast time in the cafes? My husband enjoys a substantial breakfast. I am happy with coffee or juice and a croissant. Have been to Paris and other cities in France but have always had breakfast at our hotel or guest house, so didn't observe what's on offer!

  11. #11


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    Saint_Bambi, it sounds like that bread you saw in Provence was brioche or some kind of pain brioché. That's bread made with butter and eggs, not just flour and yeast. The croissant is flour, butter, and yeast.

  12. #12
    Sinead,

    If your husband craves an American breakfast one day, there is an American style diner called "Breakfast in America" with 2 locations, one in the Latin Quarter and one in the Marais.

    http://breakfast-in-america.com/main/

    Don't know if it's any good, but I bookmarked it in case I get a craving for pancakes!

  13. #13


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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">If your husband craves an American breakfast one day, there is an American style diner called "Breakfast in America" with 2 locations, one in the Latin Quarter and one in the Marais. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Thanks for the tip on this place. My husband loves breakfast as well. We might give it a try one day.

    Sharon J

  14. #14
    Thank you Sophia. Had a look at the menu, we can try the Latin Quarter place. We're not American, we're Northern Irish, but the american breakfast appeals to my husband!!

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">With so many boulangeries in Paris selling croissants and other similar baked goods, if not for breakfast or for snack, when are they eaten?? Do people eat them for lunch? It's not Sunday (or special occasion) everyday. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Okay, my theory is that many are eaten later in the morning when people have left their homes and are out-and-about.

    Last summer at my language school in Aix, we had a thirty-minute coffee break at 10:30 in the morning. Many mornings my class went across the street to a little coffee shop/boulangerie and had coffee and a croissant or some other wonderful baked good.

    I think you have a croissant when you are "out" for breakfast-- not eating at home before you begin your day. Croissants really need to be fresh, so you've got to buy them that morning. It isn't practical to go out to buy them and bring them home to eat before you go to work.

    I'm writing this from Paris, where we arrived yesterday. You better believe that Charley will be going out to get croissants for our breakfast though! (It was a top priority yesterday to find the boulangerie closest to our apartment.)

    Kathy

  16. #16


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    Our rentals in Italy never had a toaster, but in Paris we did.

    Elly

  17. #17
    With all this talk about croissants and pains au chocolat and pains aux raisins, I had to walk to the boulangerie down the street and fill my bag.

    Flennie, thanks for making this a special-occasion kind of day!

    PS. this might answer your other question: why so many croissants at the boulangerie if no one eats them?
    The French are very good at finding a reason for a special occasion: new flowers in bloom, a friend's visit, a delectable web post


  18. #18


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    Kaydee, the first thing I did in Paris and other towns we stayed in France was to find the closest boulangerie also. I made the trek every morning to buy croissants and pains au chocolat. I also tried the inexpensive hypermarche croissants and baguettes just to see how they compared to boulangeries' (croissants were decent, but not as good; baguettes were not good -- the ones I sampled).

    My disappointment from the survey results was that it shattered the image I had since childhood that croissants were French breakfast food, that I was doing a very Frenchy thing eating croissants for breakfast in France. It may sound silly, but the survey result was a disappointing revelation to me. I also now wonder how that image came about. I don't think I'm the only American who think croissant=French breakfast food(as attested by Kaydee's husband!). Maybe it's because Americans consider croissants as more of a breakfast food -- like breakfast pastry -- thus it's French breakfast food? Sorry for being so analytical (it's my nature and profession. My French teacher thinks that I'm too analytical trying to decipher French grammar).

    AzurAlive, your photo was irresistible. This afternoon, I'm going to stop by Euro Pane in Pasadena, recommended by a fellow STer, to buy some croissants and hopefully croissants aux amandes. I'll eat them as snack.

  19. #19
    Flennie -

    It's truly a sad sign of the times that our long-held fuzzy and happy childhood images can be shattered by a few haphazard internet forum posts !!

    I am here to say that you can keep that image intact and rest assured that the croissant is as near and dear to the French breakfast heart as the pancake is to its American cousin. [rf.1]

    -Kevin

    1. "French and other nations breakfast eating habits", Kevin Widrow, 2008 - as yet, unwritten chapter in as yet unwritten book but based on many years of ernest, if unscientific, observation.
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  20. #20
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    Kevin,
    Am looking forward to more unscientific research from you.
    Btw, you didn't mention sacristan, which is one of the things I love Provence for.
    Do you consider it snack or breakfast?
    I consider it a hard drug.

  21. #21


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    Kevin, the pancake/croissant comparison is a good one. Not many Americans have pancakes for breakfast every day.

    AiP, isn't it sacristaIn?

  22. #22
    Ken -

    Around here it's sacristang -

    And Americana is quite right - further unscientific research has clearly demonstrated that if a breakfast table is set with a basket of sacristains and one of croissants, it's the former which seems to always empty first.

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  23. #23
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    Ken, sacristain is it?
    As soon as I saw the letters s-a-c-r-i-s-t..., I was sooooo ready to do it intravenously I never got to the end of the word. In fact when I first mentioned it in this thread, I wrote "sacristie". C'est dire...

  24. #24


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    Through the years staying with friends or at a B&B, we were served tartines and croissants.

    Kaydee, say hi to everyone and have a wonderful time

  25. #25


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    when staying at a B&b in Normandy suggested by Pierre Franney, we had the oddest selection of things including chocolate pudding!!

  26. #26


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    Kevin, I like the pancake/croissant analogy - thanks for the commiseration. I look forward to your book one of these days. Ok, now I have another food item to look for when I'm in France (or is it Provence only?) - what is sacristan? I could not find it on google; sounds like it's related to the church, but must be great to eat!?

  27. #27


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    sacristan Cake made from trimmings of puff pastry, dusted with sugar, and baked in twisted strips.

    my mom born in Italy made the same thing except the edges were pinked.

  28. #28
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    Here is a link to the French wikipedia article with a photo.

  29. #29


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    The family with kids situations I have been in in Normandy and Province show that the kids have cereal with milk and chocoate powder or toast with nutella. The adults coffee, bread or baguettes either toasted or not.

    At the bar on the corner here in Paris and in many other bars I see very many people with coffee and a cigarette maybe a croissant. There are also quite alot of people with coffee, a glass of white wine and a cigarette way before 10 am.
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  30. #30

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    While I would never consider this typical, the picture below shows what we were served this morning by our hosts. I'll miss shopping for breakfast early in the morning at the boulangeries, but not that much!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC_2488_2.jpg  
    Alana

  31. #31
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    For those that want a "substantial" breakfast in Paris, I can recommend the little restaurant on the corner across from the Musee Rodin in the 7th. I can't remember the name of it, but its at Rue de Varenne and Blvd des Invalides.

    Incredible omelettes, french toast make with the most heavenly sweet bread of some kind and excellent coffee to boot. The egg dishes were around E10+ each, but enough to keep you going until well into the afternoon.

    Linda
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Copy_of_Europe_2006_068.jpg  

  32. #32
    In response to Saint-Bambi, yes it is brioche you are referring to. There is also pain brioché and I'm not sure if this is one and the same thing (does anyone know?).

    If you are in Paris you must, must, must go to Du Pain et des Idées at 34 rue Yves Toudic, 10th, where Christophe Vasseur makes a divine pain brioché flavoured with orange flower water and called Mouna. It is worth crossing town for this boulangerie, which is gorgeous to look at and has rediscovered traditional ways of baking. The croissants are amazing (see below). Christophe told me that they don't even teach croissant-making in French baking schools any more! But attention, it's only open on weekdays.

    As for when people eat them, I agree it's both for special occasions, a mid-morning snack, or as a gift when coming round for morning coffee. Most people don't have time to go to the boulangerie before leaving for work or school in the mornings.
    Edited to reduce size of photo

    [img]croissants.jpg[/img]
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 5671044724_croissants.jpg  

  33. #33
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    The latest Trader Joe's "Fearless Flyer," which arrived in my mailbox today, is claiming that the French eat brie for breakfast. I've sure never heard of brie as a breakfast food. Is this just TJ silliness, or is there any truth in the statement?

    - Roz

  34. #34
    In the words of my beloved, "N'importe quoi !"...

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  35. #35

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    Pain brioché and brioche aren't the same thing... pain brioché is half regular toast, half brioche, somehow.
    Brie for breakfast isn't a french tradition! Camembert tartines in cafe au lait maybe...

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