Say hello to my little friend


I have told you about the Boulangépicier on a few occasions before, and I continue to wildly enjoy the bread, sandwiches and pastries that they make. “Be” happens to be just a couple of blocks away from where my grandmother lives, and is thus conveniently on my way from and back to the metro when I visit her.

Just a few weeks ago (before they closed for the month of August, quite cruelly), I noticed a basket next to the register in which they offered little bags of six assorted mini-loaves. I instantly recognized them as the bread they use to make the famed Riviera sandwich skewer — olive bread, tomato bread and basil bread.

My combined weaknesses for sampler bags and all things miniature made this impossible to pass up.

I bought a bag, put it away in the freezer, and since then I have been enjoying the manifold pleasures of the following simple ritual. I find myself alone in the kitchen, hungry for a satisfying single-serve lunch that I could make and eat right this minute. I take one of the little loaves out of the freezer — it has to be a random choice otherwise I agonize over which kind I like best, this can take a while and the freezer door is open. I thaw the mini-bread in the microwave on low, then put it over the toaster for a little crisping-up on both sides. I slice the loaf in two, carefully using my extra-sharp bread knife on my nifty bamboo cutting-board.

After that, the filling really depends on what I have on hand (if you start with excellent bread it takes real dedication to mess it up) but my current favorite, as pictured above, is: basil bread, fresh cheese on the top half, fresh pesto on the bottom half, and a chiffonade of jambon de Bayonne in between — thinly sliced and not too salty.

Add to this a couple of ripe tomatoes, sprinkled with fleur de sel and flaxseed, and what you have before you is a very, very happy girl.


Things Clotilde Loves

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  • Mmm… I am myself a fan of the fresh cheese/jambon de bayonne pair…

  • As usual, I come away from your site inspired. Thank you for such a great way to approach lunch. Have you considered baking the bread? From what I understand that is not a typically French approach, the more traditional route being to purchase baked goods. I wonder how hard it would be to make these little loaves, though.

  • Patsy

    Oh, my Lord! I have had only juice and coffee this morning and your wee sandwich would make the perfect breakfast. Wish you could magically send it to me. Once more your using what is on hand in such a creative way is delightful. Thanks.

  • One of the (many) things I miss about living in the Bay area; access to wonderful little bakeries. Knoxville doesn’t seem to have any…sure, Panera Bread is here, but it’s not quite the same thing, is it?

  • Jenny

    It’s lunch-time here and I am drooling. Sadly, whatever I pick up, will surely not be as pleasing to the eye or the stomach as your elegant sandwich.

  • “mini & at random” – that is great! I will participate in the next WBW by the way. Best regards from sunny Costa del Sol in Spain & morgan

  • Miss Lisa


  • I love my nifty bamboo cutting board too. Its so durable. Your sandwich sounds delicious. I’ll have to try it when I have some extra pesto in the fridge. Recently I’ve being doing prosciutto, smoked turkey, and pepper jack on a tortilla or slices of a leftover baguette. Alternatively, if I have it I’ll do prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted red pepper, and arugula on french bread. Yum.

  • john

    Bilingualism creates interesting slippages. French usually puts attributives after the noun: “wagon-lit,” “bière pression” for example. English usually puts them before: “sleeping car,” “draft beer.”

    “An extra sharp knife bread”–you’re thinking in French, Clotilde!

  • Oh, this is such a cute post! I can’t even tell you how much it makes me miss Paris.

    I love the combo of thinly sliced prosciutto and cheese. And you’re right it cannot be too salty or else you lose the flavor.

  • marcello

    hello chocolatenzucchini girl….i think your work is AWSUM, i love the pics gallery……Vous etes vraiement La Femme de Ma Vie :) pls dont take this as me being offensive..i really think your work is beautiful….just like you :)

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