I have been waiting for quite some time for an opportunity to get to Vandermeersch boulangerie to purchase one of their famous kouglofs, but rumor has it they only make them on weekends and you better get there early, so you can see that my window of time was quite narrow. And since Saturday mornings are usually reserved for soccer matches or other family activities and Sundays are reserved for church, well, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull this off. And it’s over 10 kilometers away so this is not a quick run or even a quick ride on the Metro.
But when Julian came home from soccer practice Tuesday night with a convocation stating there was not an official “championship” game this weekend and Elizabeth decided to sleep over at a friend’s house on Friday night, I knew the window had been opened.
The plan was for the four of us (minus the missing Elizabeth) to sleep in a little and then take a nice, leisurely run down the Seine to the nondescript area near the perimeter of Paris. The run was quite simple and we were lucky that the rain we had overnight had stopped. So besides a bit of puddle-jumping, it was a good morning to be out. No wind, not real cold and late enough in the morning to enjoy Parisians walking their dogs and stopping at their local cafes (and bars, I noticed!) and tourists crossing the bridges to their chosen museum for the day.
I think the kids were surprised how quickly we reached our destination and how far they had actually run. I’m not sure either Julian or Sarah had ever run anything like a 10k. I’m proud of them for taking up the challenge. Perhaps a yeasty delight is good encouragement for them, too.
There was definitely a little line out the door at the boulangerie and there was a steady stream of patrons the entire time we were there. I snapped a few photos outside before we popped in.
I always feel the need to be very prepared when I go in the bakeries. The pressure of “freezing up” when they say, “Bonjour, Madame” and look for me to respond with my order…well, it can cause me to panic. So I went in prepared, knowing the name of what I wanted, how many, and making sure my money was out and ready. In the end, I was snapping photos and Tom took care of the transaction so no worries needed.
The kouglofs. A kouglof is a yeasty cake, shaped in a pan a bit like a Bundt pan. It’s texture is more like a bread and it reminds me of a panettone because it typically includes raisins, nuts, and sometimes some brandy. Rumor has it they date back to the Magi who had the cakes shaped like their turbans but, honestly, I could probably make up my own story and add it to Wikipedia and someone might be quoting me soon.
What sets the Vandermeersch kouglofs apart is their glaze made of a syrup that has a hint of orange flower water. Then the kouglof is rolled in grains of sugar so the glaze, along with the sugar, give the outside a nice crispness before you get to the chewy bread inside. Those are the individual kouglofs. The large koughlofs looked like they had powdered sugar instead but I loved ours.
We purchased five, one for each of us, and decided to eat Elizabeth’s first. Sorry. If you don’t come with us, you’re out of luck.
Each kouglof had it’s only little paper cup it sat in, so we fished one out of the bag and, standing out on the sidewalk, passed it around between the four of us. We couldn’t get enough of it. Tom turned away and then back toward us with the exclamation, “I can’t believe how good this is.” I think we all agreed.
Sarah closed the bag French bakery-style and we tucked them away during our Metro ride home. Tom and I popped off early to gather Elizabeth from her friends and we were happy that when we arrived home there were still four kouglofs left. We did let Elizabeth share in the next one. We’re not that mean. But I think she was surprised that all four of us had made the trek and is ready and willing to be a part of the next Destination adventure.
Now it is Sunday morning, no one else is up, and there are three kouglofs left. I’ve very , very tempted. I guess someone else will have to let you know if there were any crumbs remaining for the rest of them.