Friday, February 10, 2012

My first visit to a Salon de Thé

La Boutique du Glacier
1 rue marechal joffre
13100 Aix en Provence

The number of times I've walked past this little Salon de Thé and wanted to go in and I've finally done it! Cafés like you get in England don't really exist in France. We always end up going to a bar for a hot drink, which doesn't seem quite right. I don't mind, but even in winter everybody sits outside and at the moment it's just too cold for that! Granted, there are outside heaters, but I do associate a coffee and a sit-down with being all cosy and warm inside.  Plus, they don't sell those little pastries or cakes that you just fancy with a hot drink. This is where the Salon de Thé comes in. You can sit inside, have a hot drink AND you get to choose a French patisserie to go with it. Perfection. Now this is not something I'd do very often, but seeing as I had my friend Abbey to stay (who appreciates food and eating nearly as much as me!), I thought - why not treat ourselves? So we did. And it was beautiful.

It was a very difficult decision, but I stuck with my favourite, a tarte aux fraises, because I know you can just never go wrong. Although it was actually not a standard tarte aux fraises. No, it wasn't the usual round tart shape and the pastry was more like puff pastry. I must admit, it wasn't quite as good as the usual ones you see (I think the sweet short crust pastry that tastes more like a biscuit in fact is what makes it for me), but it was pretty close. The crème patissière was there anyway, which is really all that matters. I could literally eat that on its own. All day. Custard is probably it's English cousin, so if you're a custard lover, you'll know what I mean.

Abbey had a flan, which looked amazing. That would probably have been my second choice actually. It was huge too! Not to be confused with an English flan either. Rather than a kind of savoury pie as we'd know a flan to be in England, this French patisserie is made up of shortcrust pastry filled with a sweet custard filling. Also extremely delicious. 
Of course, it goes perfectly with a cup of tea. And it just wouldn't be right to go to a Salon de Thé and not have a tasse de thé. Now normally I have a HUGE problem with how the French serve tea, because they just don't know how to do it. Well, they don't make it how I like it anyway. Usually, you order tea and they bring you a cup of boiling (?) water and a teabag with it. Don't they understand that to make the perfect cup of tea the idea is to pour the boiling water on the teabag? I don't know! Obviously not. La Boutique du Glacier has earned my respect though, because not only does your tea come served in a teapot, but they use real tea leaves! Yes, shocking I know. I guess I would've preferred it with milk, but you can't have everything and it was a good cup of tea. I was just happy to be inside, drinking tea, eating cake and catching up with my friend. My idea of a perfect Friday afternoon.

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