Sunday, March 25, 2018

Food Adventures in Bordeaux - where to have a decent coffee

I always planned this blog to be more about food but as our barging adventure began it slowly became more about travel. We have been living in a village near Bordeaux for several months now and have had numerous opportunities to try the food in this great city. Bordeaux has recently supplanted Lyon as being the best food destination in France after Paris and I can see why. There are lots of places to eat, catering to all tastes. The fact that there are so many expats, retirees from Paris, a large student population and closeness to Spain means that there heaps of food options at all price points.
Finding a decent cup of coffee in France can be a bit of a challenge. I think Australians are coffee snobs or maybe we have been spoilt by coffee baristas making really good coffee. Starbucks would never have been our go to coffee option in Australia but sometimes when overseas it's the only way to guarantee a halfway decent coffee.
Over the years we have honed our coffee ordering skills in France - from asking for an espresso with a small amount of warm milk to being told by one cafe owner in Brantôme that we should be asking for a cafe noisette. This has served us fairly well with the quality of the coffee being dependent on how bitter the beans are, what type of milk they use (there aren't too many places that use fresh milk - it's either UHT or even worse evaporated milk) and how long since the machine was cleaned. Sometimes it's better just to order a cup of tea! Or go home and make your own.
Flat white and a yummy cake
Flat white and yummy cake
The first cafe we walked into in Bordeaux was called Books and Coffee. There were a lot of customers and it just looked like it would have good coffee. We didn't even look at the menu - just ordered a couple of cafe noisettes and a cake.

And it was the best coffee we have had in France. Smooth, good crema and no bitter after taste. The waiter/owner was really pleased when we complimented him on the coffee and thanked us for the feedback. On our next visit I actually looked at the menu and was totally surprised to find flat white. It was the first time I had seen flat white on a coffee menu outside Australia and the UK. And the coffee was just as good this time as well.

Window display featuring dunes blanches
Window display of Dunes Blanches
Some Australian friends also recommended another cafe in Bordeaux - the alchimiste. Not only do they make great coffee, they roast their own beans. The cafe is in Rue de Vieille Tour opposite a nice little patisserie that makes these amazing dunes blanches. So you can order these bite size pieces of deliciousness from the cafe for €1 or go across to the patisserie and order a dozen or two. Alchimiste also has flat whites and cortados, both smooth and creamy. My preference is still Books and Coffee but it's probably about personal taste. Books and coffee serves meals as well whereas Alchimiste is all about the coffee.

No comments:

Post a Comment