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Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Need Some Serious Dough

...some serious bread dough, that is.

One of my favorite things is the silken texture of risen bread dough in between my fingers, that with just the right ingredients and conditions, becomes a billowy, delicate mass that willfully yields itself to my prodding and pinching, kneading and pulling,

transforming itself into a delight for the senses whether it is in the form of a Foccacia loaf glistening with an olive oil-brushed surface

or a Ciabiatta with just the right amount of squishy air pockets

that squeak and pop when you take that first bite. The denser, crustier dough of pizza

or an artisan country loaf to tote along on a picnic

will always remind me of my beloved France

where bread making and consumption

is an art.

On my last trip to Nice, I set out early one day to scour the open-air markets to find the perfect loaf for my dinner that evening. It was around 9:00am when the hunt began. No sooner did I reach the end of the long, narrow corridor when there it was; the most beautiful, freshest and biggest loaf I had seen yet, trying to be inconspicuous to other buyers,

but hiding and waiting behind the other loaves, just for ME.

It was love at first sight; I had visions of lugging this large trashcan cover-sized Miette to my apartment and plopping down on my favorite chair

that unfortunately for me, was a bus drive and an hour away. Rather than looking like a glutton with this huge loaf in my arms while shopping for antiques and such,

I took a chance to amble around the colorful market place and come back to pick it up with a slice of cheese and haul it to the nearest park and devour part of, if not all of it, for lunch...yes folks, I have been known to do such things.

To my chagrin, when I came back to the marketplace it was gone.

Not just MY loaf, but everything...there was nothing left...rien, nada, nul, zéro. Not all was lost, however.

Where there's a will,, there's a way; I managed to find another market place where the bread had already been snatched up, but the most beautiful array of fresh, local fruits were still available.

A freshly baked loaf of bread is worth the hunt in narrow, little village paths

and is certainly more delicious when it is made by hand and shared amongst friends around the most elegant tables

or the humblest spreads

as long as there is PASSION, LAUGHTER and JOY.

Now as Tristan would say, "Go out and make something beautiful"

...go out and try making a loaf of your favorite, decadent bread! How I appreciate each and everyone of you and I wish we could all sit together and enjoy the beauty and taste of each others'hands....but for now

A votre santé et bon apétit mes amis!

I would like to also add that everyday, I am so grateful for the abundance of food for the body, and food for the soul that has been accorded to us; my dear friend Patricia from Woolytales Miniatures is a talented artist in various mediums and illustration and watercolor is one of her fortés...she just finished this beautiful watercolor entitled, "When I was Hungry..." and is putting it up for auction. The proceeds will go directly to Haiti's orphans. Please click here to see the details of her auction. Please, if you would feel inclined to do so, ask Patricia if you could add this image to your sidebar and tell your followers about this auction. Merci!

Photo Credits:
Interiors: Trouvais
Last Food Photos: Le Journal Gourmand de Sacha
Sarlat: Castles Crowns and Cottages