I am a gal with ten sweet teeth, as most of my friends will know and empathise with. However I’m less of a sweetie monster and more of a chocoholic. That suffix is quite key these days in discussions about excessive sugar eating. The word ‘addiction’ is being used more and more to describe people’s reliance on sugar, and I do find myself craving sugar. After reading an article about how processed foods tend to be more addictive, I decided to make much more of an effort to bake treats myself, which would also help reduce my intake of sugar (I hope). My reasoning is that if I convert fully to eating only homemade sweet treats, first I’ll eat them less often because baking takes more time than running to the shops so I won’t always be able to answer my cravings, and second, I’ll know exactly what’s gone into them.
This resolution will take time to put fully into practice, but I’m hoping I will stick to it and at the same time gradually reduce my sugar intake and dependence. I’m allowing myself to have baked goodies in cafés if they are ‘homemade’. Chocolate is the hardest thing to ignore. When I was younger and faced with the choice of ice-creams, cakes or drinks I always, without reflection, went for the chocolate-based option. While my decision-making capacities have taken a hit, the habit has survived.
After realising I couldn’t remember the last time I actually had coffee and cake, I went to a café called Boulanger Jocteur with one of my friends in Bordeaux, both of us tempted by its rustic interior. It is a superlative patisserie/boulangerie/café, with the soft aroma of freshly baked goodies wafting around the café, charming servers and a phenomenal array of cakes. I also like how the toilet is behind the paying counter so you are obliged to walk through the baking section and look at huge vats of dough, it is very exciting. Because the cakes are freshly made I feel that I can try one or two (questionably hypocritical but better than a biscuit I hope).
I took a sweep of the rows and towers of beautiful buns and narrowed it down to a moelleux citron delicacy, a tarte aux myrtilles or the chocolate mousse slice that my friend had selected, and then I decided that the blueberry tart looked so fresh and juicy that I needed to have a spoonful of that. So I sat down to my noisette and my blueberry tart and had one of the best cakes I’ve had in my time here. It was even juicier that its appearance suggested, and there was so much of the not overly-sweet compote. The pastry again was not sugar central, but had a muffly snap that complimented the fruit beautifully. There was no cream layer which gave it a simplicity and a lovely lightness.
I would like to be able to enjoy eating sugary things occasionally without the horrible feeling of a sugar overload, and without the suspicion that the food has spoons of sugar snuck in. So homemade, or as near to, is going to be my first step.