Breakfast in France is quite different from its American counterpart; the classic French breakfast is a simple Spartan affair. Le petit déjeuner (breakfast) is typically a light meal consisting of tartines (slices of bread) served with coffee or hot chocolate for the children. Although fruit and yogurt are slowly becoming more popular breakfast choices, there’s no chance you’ll find eggs or pancakes at the table.
The French favorite at breakfast time remains the baguette which is at its best when still warm and crusty, straight from the bakery, slathered with butter and jam. Fresh baguette is often bought early in the morning at the neighborhood boulangerie just before breakfast, or in a pinch yesterday’s baguette is sliced and toasted.
Contrary to the enduringly popular belief, croissants are not a daily breakfast for most French families. Fresh pastries like croissants and pains au chocolats are usually reserved for the weekends or special occasions like when on vacation.
What makes a simple breakfast like tartines sing is the quality of the ingredients, and nothing quite compares to French butter. Smooth, rich and creamy with a sweet subtle tang, it is spectacular. It has a golden hue, caramelized nutty flavor and a luxuriously smooth texture.
The distinctive flavor derives from the nature of the cream from which it’s made, and from the bacteria indigenous to the dairies where it’s produced. Just as milk inoculated with bacteria yields yogurt, so cream cultured by certain bacteria takes on a form and quality different than in its virgin state. The resulting cultured cream is nuttier and more flavorful than the sweet cream from which most mass-produced butter is made.
Culturing cream is also the first step in making fresh homemade butter. Making cultured butter is remarkably easy, all it takes is the best purest cream you can find, a few spoonfuls of yogurt, and time. The cream matures for 12 to 24 hours to allow for full development of flavor. In a day’s time, you will have a thick rich cultured cream, from which the resulting butter is so silky and sweet that it’s tempting to eat it by the spoon.
Less sweet than jam, more substantial than plain butter, blackberry honey butter is a delicate marriage of flavors. The taste is soft and subtle and the texture light yet luscious. Plump blackberries add sweetness, depth and a jewel-like color to the butter. I’m smitten with this silky, not-too-sweet butter with personality; it has a bit of edge a smidgen of sass. It’s voluptuous and the perfect match for those morning tartines; a truly joyful way to start the day.
Kulsum, of Journey Kitchen has graciously invited me to share a breakfast recipe with her readers. Kulsum blogs about modern and traditional Indian cuisine intertwined with her witty accounts of the humorous everyday trials of love and marriage. She is a dear friend and talented blogger so please join me at Journey Kitchen where I am sharing the recipe for my Blackberry Honey Butter, but before you go, tell me:
What do you like to eat for breakfast?