Un après-midi au Café Fleury

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Since I often work on Saturdays, Sunday is for me the first real day of the weekend. Quite simply, I love it. After a good 10 hours of sleep I awaken to the ringing of the church bells nearby which makes me think of Proust's Combray. Sunday mornings are just the perfect opportunity to feel lazy, drink tea and delve into the Sunday papers in between munching on croissants. Yesterday was so miserable and wet but I found the courage to venture out and meet C. for afternoon tea at Café Fleury near Rosenthaler Platz. To call it charming sounds far too obvious but somehow you'd be hard pushed to find a better description.

Inside it's small and cosy and immediately you forget the rain and the soggy feet. Sunday afternoon is pretty popular and we were lucky to get a table. Inside couples sip coffee and hold hands , women huddle together to laugh and gossip while others simply lose themselves in books or magazines. Time is not an issue here. The café also offers a very nice selection of reading matter so no need to despair if you're ever without a book. I opted for a latte macchiato and a slice of tarte aux poires while C. chose café au lait and cheesecake. The café au lait comes in a comfortingly large bol ideal for dunking and the latte macchiato was creamy and smooth. Needless to say, the cakes were superb, particularly the cheesecake while managed to be light, fluffy and truly delectable. After a while, the lure of the baguette proved too much for me to resist and I was not disappointed. It was perhaps the best baguette I've ever tasted, filled with goats' cheese, rocket and tomatoes. Years of mass produced, hard and stale baguettes have been enough to put me off but this was truly a revelation. Crunchy but not hard and an explosion of
delicious flavours on my tastebuds.

In one section of the café, there are also some shelves stocked with goodies from France; Breton galette biscuits, biscuits de rose and chocolate among other things. Most appealingly, there are some old fashioned tins filled with tisane tea from Provence. They really are most wonderful to look at and touch and it brought back memories of my trips in the TGV between Lyon and Aix-en-Provence when I worked as an economics teacher. In winter it was always such a joy to leave grey, rainy Lyon and see the radiant sunshine, pure blue crystal skies and the snow covered Lubéron mountains as we headed South. Naturally, I had to buy one to take home and also grabbed a couple of madeleines which I know is far too obvious a treat for a Proustian so I won't comment any further on that. The tisane comes in little muslin teabags and every time I open the tin, there's a scent of lavender, rosemary and mint in my room and the landscape of Provence which seems to unfold before me. Truly a Sunday to remember.

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