Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Un petit café crème, s'il vous plaît

After a cosy winter spent sampling the many and varied hot chocolates that Annecy has to offer, (the results of which will have to be reported another time), I have moved on to coffee. I've never been a huge coffee drinker, but I did enjoy escaping down to Fat Boys from time to time for a flat white. After watching David down many a petit café, the french equivalent of a short black, (which frankly has never appealed to me), I realized one could also order a petit café crème. In the best cafés, the milk or better still cream is served separately in a little jug, thereby adding the wonderful tactile pouring factor that so appeals to me about tea. In other establishments, you might get a little UHT pot of cream or milk on the side, or if you are really unlucky, its mixed in already, thereby taking all the fun out of it.

With my trusty sidekick, I've been exploring the cafés here for a quick coffee after dropping Lily at school. I have to drink it early in the morning or I can't sleep at night. We've found some good and some not-so-good. Some notables spots include:

Café Crescendo at Gallerie Lafeyette - there is nothing special about their petit café crème, but its a good spot for a break after shopping and it does have a ballpit to amuse the kids

L'Antidote - just around the corner from home. Its great for a rainy morning thanks to its cheery staff and its wonderful kid's corner with toys, books and colouring-in materials

Café des Ducs - right on the canal with a front row view of the Vielles Prisons, their coffee is Lavazza (yum), is served in a larger cup and tastes remarkably like a Fat Boys flat white. But beware the inflated prices for the tourists

L'Etage in rue Royale - one of my favourite streets. The coffee is good, not expensive and comes with a generous jug of real cream (not UHT). In the early morning, there is a steady stream of delivery trucks passing by, thereby keeping my assistant well occupied

But our favourite so far is at Les Roseaux du Lac - situated in rue du Lac, with its gorgeous old apartment buildings and conveniently opposite the smaller Monoprix which I frequent almost daily. If you sit at the corner outside table you get a lovely little view of the Chateau too. Accompanied by its own dainty white jug of cream, their coffee is yummy, but for the same price, if not less than elsewhere, you also get a delicious square of dark chocolate. Not to mention, their staff are friendly and their pâtisserie are devine.

So to finish up, here's my little helper giving me a hand with this morning's coffee and helping me eat that huge square of choccie!


French for a While said...

This is my favorite post ever -- mainly because I LOVE coffee and Kerri and I live for cafes. I'm a 'petit cafe' guy and my wife is more of an 'avec creme' kind of person. When (if) we get up to Annecy we'll use your recommendations. Welcome to the world of coffee. You'll never be the same again! :)

Penny said...

Hey, if you guys ever come to Annecy, I'd love to buy you both one! You have to admit, there's something great about those little cups of coffee - I guess its all quality not quantity with the french :)

F.O.T. said...

I love coffee and find myself in a nice position to try lots of differences in roasting. (I am from Seattle...big coffee place.) I have found French coffee to be...well...crap. In the area where I will be living anyway.... I intend to set out a mission for the bean.

Rosebank Magic said...

gurfEven in Australia coffee has it's own culture as you know. From the streets of Elsternwick to the rarified atmosphere of Rosebank we are all snobs about which coffee is best. I am becoming an increasing fan of espresso, a quick one and half mouthfuls of intense flavour (so long as it is served in hot cups, otherwise it can be a luke warm disappointment)but I do need a good amount of sugar in it. I've learnt to recognise the difference between burnt coffee beans and poorly made coffee (ground too small or not small enough), it is all a very complex business and our individual tastes also vary hugely. I would suggest that the coffee f.o.t. thinks is crap another could well find just perfect.
Watching the expressions on Jasper's face I would suggest that the morning coffee ritual is very important to him too, he is concentrating so hard on that sachet of sugar or is it the small rich chocolat?

Penny said...

FOT - you see its all about the ritual for me - I'm not much of a connesieur :)

Mum - yes, he loved it all :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not much of a coffee person either but your descriptions of the cafes so makes me want to chill and enjoy a little coffee with cream! Especially if Jasper is there to help with the pouring, he looks like he's really enjoying himself and concentrating hard on his job!

Spk soon