If I hadn't spent some wasted time today drooling over pictures of pastry in Google images, I never would have stumbled upon photos of my old staging spot in France!
Okay, a little more background. Just after culinary school, I went to Europe for 6 months where I worked as a trainee for La Varenne. I applied for the scholarship through Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, which led to being whisked away to lovely Burgundy for two months of recipe testing and kitchen assistance with five other lovely ladies. In exchange, we were granted the opportunity to stage for a month with a real French chef, and voila! Instant fairytale.
It was like a dream. And I didn't want to wake up, so I stayed an extra month before a backpacking extravaganza.
That was back in 2005. Was that really seven years ago? I've done a terrible job of staying in touch (mostly due to my poor written French skills), and after some basic updates over the years, the last I heard was the shop had been quiet in 2008 when I referred a friend there to do a short stint in the kitchen. As of today, I wasn't even sure the shop was still open!
Until I found photos from Adventures in Toulouse (top and bottom), who even linked to the chocolaterie's web site (middle two pics). They have a web site now! I love the internet for eventually closing in on all communication gaps in the world. I'm still in shock, although I shouldn't be, since everyone has a website or facebook page now.
The memories are coming back in full force. I can almost taste the lemon tarts.
The irony being that I have been writing a book about this shop for seven years and am now kicking it into gear to get it to press. Wow, I think that's the first time I've announced the project. This was a real kick in the behind for me to get back in touch and move forward.
And all I needed was an American in France to remind me of that.