I thought, as I weaved my way through the streets with my glasses rhythmically steaming up with each breath, I’m not really into writing about food, but when one eats the King’s Cake (Galette des Rois), it must be reported. Almonds, stewed fruit, a sweet, soft crust. As self-proclaimed expert (and researcher) of this genre of confectionary, I share my opinion with pleasure: C’est très bon ! (In English that translates as ‘bloody delicious, but not quite a koeksister’.)
I’d also like to spill the beans on the gaps in my education. In this regard, etiquette on how to eat escargots. I herewith openly admit that I have no idea how to use the tong-like tool and tiny fork to eat garlic snails without employing my hands … as distasteful as it may be.
It works like this: You remove your jacket, you take an improperly big gulp of wine, you push up your sleeves, one after the other, and you pick up one of the small shells. With sensitivity and intense focus, you manoeuvre the tiny fork delicately around the curve of the shell, find the snail and pin it down. The garlic runs out over your fingers. With closed eyes you groan during every divine experience of slipping and swallowing … you lick your lips. You sponge the little cups empty with the bread and lick your fingers with abandon (nobody likes a wine glass with fingerprint smudges). You glisten. Your hands, your mouth – and maybe, especially your eyes. You have specks of parsley somewhere in the reflection of your chin, and here and there in-between your teeth. But it’s not as if you want to smile – you’re busy. Intense pleasure is a serious matter.
And then suddenly your plate is empty. Your tongue glides over your teeth and as a extra after-surprise, you bite through a small piece of garlic that was hidden undiscovered somewhere in your mouth. Your exhalation feels soft and warm and wild and your inhalation settles somewhere in the deep waters of your enjoyment. You feel satisfied. You feel soulful. And grateful.
Lastly: The French have a light touch with salt.
I like that.