I’ve been back from Paris for almost a week now, and am slowly getting back into the groove of things. I’m naturally slow, so it usually takes me a while to find my rhythm again, though I’m (also!*) working on that.
*I know it sounds like working on my stuff is my full time job and, well, in a sense yes, it is!
I won’t try to do a big recap of my trip, because I know I won’t ever post anything if I wait until I have it done. Instead, I’ll share bits and pieces now and then, as they come. Here’s today’s bit!
Last time I was in Paris, I was a vegetarian, more precisely an ovo-lacto-vegetarian. It was challenging at times, but overall it wasn’t too bad. Now, while I’m not (yet) a vegan, I have completely eliminated all dairy products from my diet. This meant that traveling to France would be more of a challenge for me this time. As my brother says: they put butter everywhere! And I’m not even talking about the cheese*… Most importantly, they put butter in my beloved croissant aux amandes – argh! Before leaving, I knew that this would most probably be the hardest thing for me: seeing all those delicious croissants aux amandes right there under my nose, and not being able to even have one bite. Sigh.
*I had asked, well in advance, for a vegetarian meal without dairy on my flight. I was kind of suspecting that there were more chances they would get it wrong than right, but was relieved when I saw it was spelled out on my boarding pass. On the plane, though, they simply gave me the same thing as everyone else, and very reluctantly went to check things on their list when I pointed out I had asked for a veggie/no dairy meal. They finally came back with that day’s veggie meal, which happened to be ricotta-filled manicotti au gratin! So much for no dairy! Good thing I wasn’t totally counting on a real meal, and had taken some food with me…
A quick aside: I have yet to visit New York, but it’s quickly getting higher and higher on the list of places I want to go to. Why? Two words: vegan bakery! Oh my, the day I set foot in a vegan pastry shop, I’m afraid my self-control will be left at the door! No one feels like opening a vegan bakery in Paris? (and in my hometown, while I’m at it!) That’d be so great!
Anyways, back to the croissants aux amandes story. I know it’s not a good idea to go into something with negative expectations, as we tend to do our best to fulfill our expectations. I usually try not to do it, but this time, I couldn’t help it: I knew it would be hard, what with the tempting stuff everywhere… Well, my expectations weren’t fulfilled this time, as it turned out that I was wrong after all: it hasn’t been near as hard as I’d thought, thanks to a subconscious stroke of genius!
My gentleman friend and I were in a grocery store (we had an apartment, so we could make sure I ate at least one or two good meals a day by cooking it ourselves), and as I was choosing some dried fruits, my eyes came upon packages of marzipan. Of course, I really like the stuff (otherwise, why would I miss almond croissants more than plain ones?), and I decided to get a package, with a vague thought that went something like this: “we could get this instead of jam, I bet it would be nice on bread”.
Seriously, it’s only the next morning that I realised what my brain probably knew all along: it was my way of creating a quick and dirty vegan version of those croissants I liked so much!
Creative vegan tip of the day:
A good baguette and some marzipan make for a very satisfying fix when you’re in the land of the croissants aux amandes and no non-dairy version can be found!
Take a piece of a good baguette, open it, spread some marzipan, put the pieces back together. Enjoy!
(I left the two pieces separate for the picture, but I like it best with the two halves together, sandwich-style. Also: the stuff is thick, making for a very non-photogenic – but delicious nonetheless – spreading…)
Aside from eliminating all eventual feelings of deprivation, I found out that this little idea had other advantages:
- No more unsatisfying croissants with not enough of the good stuff! You can put as much marzipan as you want.
- Less fat! Ok, you won’t be biting in a buttery croissant, but hey, let’s look at the bright side of things!
- Cheaper! Even the fancy-schmancy – and, of course, very expensive – organic marzipan I’ve found the day before I came back won’t cost you more than four croissants would have, and it would last you for much more than four servings (unless you’re an adept of the very very thick marzipan coating!). The regular one costs less than one pastry does, so even when you add in the cost of the bread, you’re still waaaaay ahead.
And yes, I did splurge on the fancy-schmancy very expensive organic marzipan! Was it worth it? I’ll find out as soon as I’m done with what’s left of the regular package I had bought before that one. I’ll keep you posted!
Ok, this was a very simple trick, but it made a whole lot of difference in how much I enjoyed my trip! I could step into bakeries and feast my eyes only, and all was well: I had had my fix in the morning already. Yay! :)