[In the Poppy family, I would like the bread!*]
Coquelicot is the name of a bakery on Place des Abbesses, a couple of blocks away from our apartment. Their baguettes are fabulous and hold a special place in our hearts and our bread rotation. In addition to baguettes, Coquelicot makes a variety of specialty breads over the course of the week. And because they’re thoughtful and know how vital bread is, they give out a little time table for you to know which kind can be found on which day.
To their list of specialty breads they recently added a Pain au Coquelicot, red poppy bread, available on Saturdays and Sundays. Since I have been on a red poppy kick lately, this sounded too interesting to pass up and my Saturday morning errand run included a stop at Coquelicot for their namesake bread.
The loaf was beautiful to look at, shaped like a flower and sprinkled with — of course! — poppy seeds. When I sliced off one of the petals (loves me, loves me not) I was sort of expecting little bits of red, but the inside was simply white and speckled with a few grains. Samples were promptly tasted, and while the texture and basic flavor were close to Coquelicot’s classic multigrain bread (golden crusty crust and moist, tightly knit interior), something in the smell of the bread (thus affecting the taste too) was unusual and most intriguing. Strong but not obnoxious, strange but pleasantly so.
After a few bites we were still trying to figure out what it reminded us of exactly, when Maxence said it tasted like summer, and from there pinned it down: monoï! The scent of that loaf of bread was a close cousin of monoï, a Thaitian beauty oil made with tiare flowers and coconut oil, that vahines slather on their skin and hair. It is also an often-used fragrance for sunscreen, hence the summery impression.
Now, I realize that comparing a bread’s scent to sunscreen may not be the most tempting of descriptions but surprisingly enough I, who normally dislike cosmetic tastes in my food, loved that bread. It has a strong personality and it’s definitely not your average oh-I-go-with-everything kind of bread, but I find it interesting to let this trait shine through by pairing it with soft-spoken ingredients. It will perk up a simple butter and ham sandwich superbly, it will work wonders with a salad of young greens and fresh goat cheese, and it is just great for breakfast too, under a thin layer of salted butter and blackcurrant jam.
(* The title of this post refers to the typical phrase that one uses when playing the popular jeu des sept familles card game, called happy families in English, in which you have to collect all the members of one family and then as many complete families as you can — a favorite of mine when I was little.)
24 rue des Abbesses – 75018 Paris – 01 46 06 18 77
By the same owners:
Le Grenier de Félix
64 av. Félix Faure – 75015 Paris – 01 45 54 57 48