Saturday, 27 August 2011

le pain quotidien

Le Pain this tempting you at all?

The first said: “Who has been sitting in my chair?”
The second: “Who has been eating off my plate?”
The third: “Who has taken a bite of my bread?”
The fourth: “Who has been eating some of my vegetables?”
The fifth: “Who has been using my fork?”
The sixth: “Who has been cutting with my knife?”
And the seventh: “Who has been drinking out of my cup?”
Then the first looked around, saw a little hollow in his bed and said: “Who has been lying in my bed?”
The others came running, and cried out: “Somebody has been lying in my bed too”
But when the seventh looked at his bed, he saw Snow White lying there asleep. 

Organic bread
The Seven Dwarfs had every reason to be suspicious and inquisitive about their unexpected intruder, but the happy vibrant 'whistling work' that Snow White casted on their lives, is the same spell that Alain Coumont has dusted over our cafe culture when he founded Le Pain Quotidien in Brussels in 1990.

Infact, he's created an atmosphere so relaxed and inviting I half expect to see Snow White, mouth open, dribbling and asleep on one of the long wooden communal tables, that dominates each store.

Le Pain Quotidien's bakery beginnings, ensures that bread is still the cornerstone of the menu (you don't need to hear my 'pro' carbohydrate talk again), but I'm just so darn excitable about their specially, expertly and organically made bread without yeast. After hearing that only organic stone ground flour, salt and water are 'kneaded' then you might think twice about picking up a loaf of bread from the supermarket that has 25 ingredients!

Kneading the right ingredients

Organic rye bread

Organic porridge, honey and banana
I have many fond memories of LPQ since it's hit London. I've taken clients for breakfast in High Street Kensington. I've picked up a fruit salad on my way to work in South Kensington. I've cured a heavy night with an organic ham, gruyere and mustard filled baguette in Parsons Green. I've filled up on wine, tarts and tartines during Nottinghill Carnival in Nottinghill. I've soothed aching 'invisalign' teeth with organic porridge, honey and banana on Kings Road. I've delivered fresh coffee, and hazlenut flutes to a friend in need, and I've spilled the entire pot of pepper over my scrambled eggs.

What keeps drawing me back is the quality of product. The environment keeps me in with its warmth. There is no pretence. One can whip out their laptop with sufficient work space, and you could stay all day and not be frowned upon. How would you like to entertain friends in your kitchen? How would you like your kitchen? Let's call LPQ your home away from home, where you don't have to do the work!
Cup of coffee or tea?

If you are not enticed by the bakery then there are soups, hot dishes, a dinner menu and Coumont's RN13 label of organic wine to tickle your tastebuds.

Are you salivating?
There are also plenty of kitchen cupboard essentials, like the organic jams or the 'to die for' organic artichoke spread with extra virgin olive oil, and then there are the 'Le Pique-nique Box' choices which I think are very reasonably priced (compared to another Italian chain out there) and even a canape service. Is there no sign of this chain slowing down?

Organic artichoke spread

Now that it's raining, all I can do is take my purchases home, curl up on the sofa with a slice of rye toast and make sure to spread it thick with a generous helping of Noisella!! (sorry Nutella, but I've been cheating on you!).


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