It’s 56 degrees in January. Am I in Savannah? Am I in Nice?? Nope. I’m at Southern France in good ol’ globally warmed Chicago!
I’d say Southern France is known just as well for their warmness and hospitality as they are for their flaky croissants and bonbon boxes. Case in point: when I ordered two croissants, a Paris-Brest and a cannelé “for here,” they did not blink twice as they pulled out their pretty china (#manners). Instead, they simply asked if I would like a coffee or tea to go along with my treats. Tea, please.
Before settling in with my full plate, I’d assumed that Southern France was going to be some kind of Provençal cafe. Non, non, non. It’s Southern as in “y’all” and French as in gateaux tous les jours. Possibly the best croissants in all of Chicago: plain, chocolate, pecan, pecan chocolate (pain au chocolat sliced in half and slathered with a pecan spread and then topped with roasted pecans “because we’re cruel like that”).
Paris-Brest every day. Macarons. Religieuese. Mille Feuille. Madeleines. Monkey bread. Pound cake. Almond brittle. Basically anything involving butter is welcome here – just as it is in the South or in France. And I’d say I’m about 70% butter at this point, so I felt very welcome indeed.
Chocolates were sold out at my visit, so I’ll have to return. If the owner made the rounds at the French Pastry School in Chicago, the Chocolate Academy at Barry Callebaut and did research and development at Vosges, well, I’m sold out too.