The French really know how to do breakfasts. They manage to get huge amounts of chocolate into it. The majority of breakfast cereals on the shelf in the supermarket have chocolate in them. Our favourite has three different sorts! Hot chocolate is the thing to drink first thing in the morning, and pain au chocolat is thing to dunk into your drink. And of course you can always put the ubiquitous chocolate-hazelnut spread on your pdc to make it even more chocolately!
But of course it’s the croissant that most of the world associates with a French breakfast. However, croissants didn’t make an appearance in France until the late 1830s, when they were introduced by an Austrian baker. He sold a variety of Viennese specialities, and the name ‘Viennoiserie’ is often used to describe croissants, pain au chocolats and other pasty based cakes. By 1870 croissants were very popular in France. Recipes began appearing for them in 1906. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s and 90s that they started to take over the breakfast table in other countries. In the UK they now outsell bagels and in 2008 more than £59 millions’ worth were sold. That’s a lot of croissants!
We still like our bacon for breakfast though. We’ve made the transition to lardons since proper rashers are hard to come by in this country. Lardons are chopped-up, small lumps of bacon. You can’t grill them of course, but they fry up beautifully with some mushrooms. Slit a super-fresh baguette open and pile in the hot filling. Yum. And no chocolate in sight.