“You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,’ [Chef Bugnard] said. “Even after you eat it, it stays with you – always.” – Julia Child, My Life in France
Gateaux by Marc Frissard is a salon de thé on Hampton Street, the main drag of Melbourne’s bayside suburb of the same name.
I first came across this small, pink and white shop in early 2011. After gaining… let us just say a lot of weight during my first pregnancy, I was walking my way to salvation… but ended up at salivation instead. 30 mins or so into this ill-fated foray into exercise, I was taking my first bite of what I am convinced is the world’s best pain au chocolat.
“How do you know it is the best in the world? Have you tried them all?” you may well ask. While I would be most amenable to the idea of trying all the pains au chocolat in the universe (time and finances permitting) I simply don’t need to. I am THAT sure.
We are talking crisp-topped, cushiony-soft, light and buttery (never greasy) pastry, wrapped around a still-molten chocolate centre (well, they are at around 8am when I eat them fresh from the oven!). Good chocolate too. Not the dreadful compound stuff they use at many inferior non-Gateaux bakeries around the place.
I could go on about the croque monsieur (tasty? It defines the word!), the hot chocolates (real chocolate melted in warm milk – the sure cure for the worst of bad days) or the tiny jewel-like cake confections in the glass cabinet, but they are none of them the hero of this story…
What is truly miraculous about Gateaux is the fact that each and every time I bite into one of those pains au chocolat, it restores my faith in humanity.
Marc is an artist. His wares are both beautiful and delicious, the kind of “good” that can only be a reflection of their creator’s very soul. The best I can figure, despite all the terrible things that happen, if there are still people out there who have so much goodness inside them that they can create such beautiful things, we may yet be OK.
There are few things in life that offer this sort of reassurance. That is why, even though I have now moved far away from Hampton Street, I still sometimes make a three-hour round trip to drive my husband to work… and stop at Gateaux on the way for a car-party for four!
Do you have a special something in your life that makes you feel this way? For your sake, I hope so!
PS to any readers that do not reside in Melbourne, Australia, I say this: a plane ticket is a small price to pay for perfection!