Wow! I had this book in my wish list on The Good Cook but it wasn't available until February. Then Santa came early and I have it now. I can't wait to explore the pages. More to follow…
At mid-day the line waiting spilled out of the door and trailed along down the walk. Realizing that Thomas was about the country signing books; we saw little reason to spend valuable wine tasting time on a glorious spring-like day, waiting in this or any line.
The alarm was set and just before dawn the following day, well before the launch of the hot air balloons, we returned to Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. Just a few minutes past the 7 am opening to see just what the waiting-in-line was all about. No line at this time of day, the inviting door opens into a very small shop containing an L-shape arranged display case filled with a multitude of pastry delights that overwhelmed this baker’s senses. Breads lined the wall behind the counter- Epi, cranberry-current, baguettes, walnut, a large Bâtarde at least 3-feet long, many other shapes, sizes and compositions. Expecting a table to facilitate a breakfast sit-down, none could have found any space available- this is strictly take-outside to tables, in the morning cold. Struggling to absorb it all in total awe, I bristled and deliberately ignored the repeated “may I help you?” requests. And “are you ready to order?” Mind you, there are only two of us gazing in wonderment. (I thought, if I was ready to order- I would have…thank you very much!) (don’t you realize that I too am a baker and among the gourmet?) Then came, “do you have any questions?”, to which I replied, “is anything here made with lard?” After a check in the back, the answer was “not at the present time”.
Well then, what to choose? Chocolate or “plain” croissant, pecan-filled individual tart, double almond-filled pastry, cookies, shortbread, bran and other muffin, challah, babka, brioche, panettone- all surprisingly modestly priced- how in the world does one “choose”? No similar such array of picture perfect baked goods has been seen since visiting bakeries in Bonn, Germany. I opted for a ham and gruyere cheese croissant that was delicious beyond words- butter laminated pastry surrounding thinly sliced ham and cheese, break-fast, celebrated in my mouth! No panini could ever compete. A double almond-filled pastry would be saved for a later mid-morning repast.
Thomas’ book will take you to this little bakery in Yountville, California and once there, give you guidance to create some approximation of what is seen and tasted there.