But on the other hand, this woman cannot live entirely without bread.
Now the thing is, on the whole the Chinese don’t eat bread. Or at least they don’t eat what I call bread. ‘Western style’ chinese bakers shops have sprung up all over Beijing and although the bread looks similar to the breads we are familiar with, they are not the same. They are all slightly sweet and a little too soft, light and fluffy.
So what do I do when a bread craving hits me?
I head for Comptoirs de France which has 6 shops in the Beijing area.
Comptoirs de France bake and sell authentic continental bread made with imported flours, so that they have proper crust and crumb. However they are more than just bakers, they are also a superb Patissierie with a range of the most delicious cakes, tarts, pastries and quiches you could ever wish for.
Then there are their macarons… you would have to have been living on Mars to have avoided the macaron craze which has swept the world, and this is the best place to find them in Beijing. Of course, as this is China, in addition to the usual flavours such as raspberry, pistachio or limoncello, CdF’s pastry chef has created some with a local twist, my favourite is the Chocolate Sichan Pepper , but AMM rates the Green Tea flavoured ones very highly. When we entertain I use the occasion as an excuse to buy a whole selection of their macarons to offer round after dinner with coffee and whiskey – and then I hope that our guests will be so full from the preceding meal that they will leave them for me to eat!
All the CdF shops also double as cafés where you can enjoy a late breakfast or light lunch, with a stunning range of fruit and vegetable juice ‘cocktails’ in addition to the usual latte, cappuccino etc.
Most of the time we eat Chinese food, but every so often it is great to relax in a little corner of Beijing that is forever Paris.
Comptoirs de France
4 Ritan Beilu, Chaoyang District 100020, Beijing Tel: +86 10 8562 3355