Wednesday, October 7, 2009

l'heure du goûter.

coucou, bonbons! this is erin from reading my tea leaves, here for a little visit into deb's sweet, sweet world while she digs deep into life in paris.

over the past week or so i've been thinking a lot about what little part of france i most wanted to write about. i finally decided that more than a certain food, or a specific place, my very favorite thing about france is a particular time. so brew a cup of tea, bonbons, and join me for l’heure du goûter.

i suppose if we get technical, the phrase translates to snack time, but if the term is conjuring images of ants-on-a-log or fruit roll-ups, then, as my dad says, we better stop while we're behind. think instead about a cup of hot tea, a bit of toast, a slab of milk chocolate. a table. some chairs. at four o'clock in the afternoon. l’heure du goûter.

ok, so maybe it's something that's really designed for the kiddos. at four o'clock they've just walked home from school and their little bellies need some filling. but for a girl with an insatiable sweet tooth and a constant hankering for a warm cup of something or another, the ritual is pure bliss--a little moment to reflect on the day, to gear up for the evening, to curb my hunger until dinnertime rolls around.

yes, at in four o'clock in the afternoon in france, i have had some of my favorite moments with some of my very favorite women. there is fabienne, who always made a pot of orange pekoe with milk and lump of sugar; valerie, who always prefers tisanes; marie, a lady grey through and through; marie-paule, who always let me choose my own adventure from her collection of triangular-shaped tea bags; the woman at the corner salon de thé in macon, who would tuck crisp nutmeg-flavored cookies underneath my teacup, and rachel, who i could get to sit with me for a little quelque-chose at just about any hour. so many lovely memories, all the result of taking just one little moment, at the end of an afternoon, to just be.

hoping you all have yourselves a real-life goûter this afternoon.

{p.s. for all of those non-frenchy speakers, the -er at the end of the word is pronounced like ay. superfluous information, i know, but i couldn't have you all walking around talking about how much you want to have a "gouter" just doesn't have quite the same touch...}. bisous.


Thao said...

Adorable! Loved this. We should really install this kind of snacktime in the States--almost every other country has some version! You might have started a revolution, Erin.

olivia rae said...

seriously so perfect. the french have got it together... i wish we had that here. lovely post as always erin!


Camille said...

Hi Erin!
Today we'll think of you when we'll have our "heure de goûter", here in Provence, in France! ;)
Don't worry, at 25 and 16 y-o my brother and I still have it...
today : thé, biscuits, chocolat et confiture...

A bientôt!

Julia said...

You are the most darling girl! I loved reading this. You have such a knack for putting together a beautiful scene, Erin! I wish I could have been one of those women who could share a lovely tea time with you. If I'm ever on the east coast, I'll bring the chocolate and you pick the tea shop and we'll have our own tea time!


Julia (Color Me Green) said...

yes i love that in europe tea is served with a cup and saucer and little cookie and piece of chocolate. really makes it a more completely enjoyable experience. sounds like you've spent a lot of time in france erin!

My Castle in Spain said...

thank you for this sweet adorable post!
when i was little of course we would never miss "l'heure du goûter, pour rien au monde"!
ah..lady it too!

G. said...

Oh <333333333333333 my grandmother used to drink that tea. Your photo has brought make a tidal wave of memories.

Thank you.


Bonbon Oiseau said...

erin! i just returned from my l’heure du goû laduree with my favorite friend here in paris! how absolutely apropos and charming--thank you et merci for such a sweet sweet post! i will show what i had later for you!
oxoxo, deb

denise said...

Oh, Erin... This is a lovely post. You make me think of the difference between having a life that is full for the sake of being full and a life that is full with good and beautiful things. I want the latter. I will not make the excuse that I am not in France. I know what I'll be doing at four o'clock in the afternoon today.

Melissa de la Fuente said...

Oh, how incredibly lovely! I so wish I could have a lovely l'heure du gouter right about now. Thank you so much for this, just what I needed today!

cindy* said...

lovely erin! sounds like the perfect afternoon ritual.

lazysundae said...

i loved this post! made me remember growing up in a filipino-chinese household with a "merienda" time. pastries topped with sugar, butter and cheese. a rice cake baked in banana leaf with salted egg and local cheese.

now that i'm working in an office i still have a little tea + snack time around 3:30 or 4. i walk to the french bakery for macarons or to the japanese cafe for yakimochi.

Amanda said...

Gah! Now I have lovely little name for the snacks I eat at 4:00 each day. Merci!

denise said...

I thought of you, today at 4 o'clock, while eating my toast w/ melted chocolate and drinking my tea. I'm home sick and this made me feel so much happier than I'd felt all day.

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