I can hear you thinking: “Hm, could this be a pain au chocolat? Is that a bit of ganache coming out from the side? …then again it looks a bit like black olives, no?”
You have a point. They are indeed black olives, and the little guy on the picture is an olive and tomato pain spécial, purchased at Pain de Sucre, a previously mentioned pastry store in the 3rd.
It is made from a rectangular strip of bread dough spread with fresh tomatoes and olives, then rolled onto itself and baked. The outcome is a handy and tasty mini-loaf that you can bite into as a street snack, pull apart and nibble on with a salad, dunk into a bowl of soup, slice in two and fill with a bit of cheese or charcuterie to make a sandwich, or just hold in your hand for comfort and warmth.
I am seeing more and more of these rolls in Paris bakeries (latest sighting in the excellent boulangerie at 24 rue St-Martin in the 4th) and they come in different tempting flavors — cheese and walnuts, sesame goat cheese and honey, chorizo, olives and herbes de Provence. Specialty breads are usually made with ingredients that aren’t very perishable (nuts, dried fruits, etc.) and they are not really meant to be eaten on their own. I like that these include hefty doses of fresh and flavorful ingredients, making them a real treat in and of themselves. I also like that they’re individual and pretty-looking, and — a substantial plus — that they look so much like savory pains au chocolat.
[Oh and I feel I must tell you this: as we were contemplating the display case at Pain de Sucre, Thierry Lhermitte stepped inside, in a rush and wanting to purchase two large cakes. All went eerily quiet in the small boutique, as everyone pretended not to have recognized him, looking away but still trying to catch his reflection in the glossy brioches. When he was gone (this took barely 30 seconds), everyone went back to their business, but the flustered boulangère had a bit of trouble counting out her change.]
Pain de Sucre
14 rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris
01 45 74 68 92
24 rue St-Martin, 75004 Paris
01 48 87 46 17