Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On Food … Gourmet Food … Coming Soon to Wellfleet!

“From Sven’s lyrical Swedish welcome to Sandy’s encouraging directions to explore local ponds, Chez Sven has made us feel chez nous,” wrote Ann in the guestbook before heading out to affront traffic, which will only get worse by next weekend, unfortunately. (Read about the outrage and future bridge closings here.) Ann forgot to mention the terrific organic raspberries, last of the season, in my fruit salad, or the fact that she and her husband left with the visiting cards of our other main house guests, who provided pleasant company during breakfast. Such enthusiasm really makes it all worthwhile. One former guest even wrote about Chez Sven on her Mayflower Avenue Blog (Thanks, Shannon!).

While on the subject of food, Sven and I stopped in to check progress at the French bistro (see original report here) yesterday afternoon on the way back from LeCount Hollow. I chatted in French with Boris Villatte, who wore a grin as wide as the Garonne since his bread-making equipment had just arrived. We were able to witness two men carrying in heavy stainless steel slabs. Counters, perhaps? The oven already stood in the right-hand corner, where it will stay and be visible to customers. I asked Boris whether the bakery would really be open all winter and he confirmed this amazing fact. He and Philippe Rispoli are now aiming for a mid-November "ouverture" for PB Boulangerie Bistro.

Here's a peek at the oven. It was the first time Sven and I had ventured inside the finished restaurant. The architect used original ideas, which did wonders with the space. You can see white tiles up on the back wall, where presumably the kitchen will be. I closed my eyes and could imagine elegant diners, background chatter in French, and, of course, the aroma of fresh baked bread.

Last week I saw Julie & Julia with my daughters and could so identify. I had been an American in France, like Julia. During my first year as a housewife, I used The French Chef and tried every recipe, like Julie – only she worked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a more challenging book. There are not many recipes for breakfast – brioche, croissant, poached eggs. Know why? French bread! It is omnipresent in France, available on every corner in most neighborhoods. If someone had told me thirty years ago that Wellfleet would have a French bakery and bistro by 2010, I would have thought it a joke. Well, miracles do happen … From PB’s new Web site, I learned the 60-seat restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner. French pastry, as well as bread, will be sold in the boulangerie. Even cooking lessons are planned. Whoopee! Fans of France, if you have not yet been tempted by a trip to the Outer Cape, now there’s really no excuse. And, Chez Sven will be accepting reservations for the 2010 season shortly ….