Thursday, 7 March 2013

Love bites

I think it's fair to say that I don't give my heart away easily. I kissed a lot of frogs before finding my prince, and have been faithful to him for two whole decades. But last week I had a chance encounter in our capital city that changed my life for ever.

Red pepper, feta and olive brioche on white plate with fork
Love at first bite

It was a bleak day with a hint of snow in the air. I'd missed breakfast and my body was starting to complain so I stepped into the fug of the artisan baker's. The back of the shop was crammed with people hunched over designer coffees looking meaningful; the front had a large, central table groaning with sweet and savoury baked goods for all to peruse at close quarters. I was tempted by the array of muffins, cookies and glossy hot cross buns, but as it was nearly lunchtime I decided to go savoury and try a red pepper and feta brioche.

The walk home was quick and cold; the brioche sweated in its bag. Standing in the kitchen, I pulled it out and took a bite... still-warm ambrosial brioche, silky-sweet red pepper, salty-creamy cheese and a tangy black olive all in one go. I veered between hasty, greedy mouthfuls and lingering, savouring ones and being of the 'save the best for for last' school of thought, made sure the last bite would be mostly cheese. Unfortunately the feta toppled off its tiny base and bounced down the front of my black jumper dress. Monica Lewinsky, I know how you felt.

A week later and I can't get the taste out of my mouth or my mind. Other foods pale in comparison. I have become the lovelorn pining princess of fairy tales, doomed to live the rest of my days in rural exile from the urban red pepper and feta brioche.

If you are lucky enough to live in London, you can try it for yourself at one of the branches of Gail's Artisan Bakery. Also available from some branches of Waitrose and Ocado. They have not paid me to write a word of this, but did very kindly supply the photo.

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