There were bread crumbs on the table. Crumbs on the tray liner. And more crumbs on the saucers. A nuisance? If the crumbs were from ordinary bread, they would be. But we were having Paris Delice breads for breakfast and notwithstanding the proliferation of French bakeries in the metro, it really doesn’t take a cultured palate to know these breads are different from all that came before them.
Years ago, a popular donut brand advertised its croissants to the strains of French music to convey authenticity. In the same vein, a popular coffee brand showed a couple sipping their instant coffee in lieu of café au lait with Paris in the background. Then, there was also a time when two French-themed bakeries went head-to-head to stage their version of the French Revolution, armed with baguettes and French bread. You’d think by now a lot of Filipinos would be more familiar with French cuisine but ask the casual foodie what his/her favorite French food is and most likely you’d get a blank stare. Or pray you don’t get “French fries” for an answer.
Well, that must be because we don’t really have French influences in our culture, including our cuisine, much in the same way as our neighbors such as Vietnam and Cambodia have, being French territories in the past. Much of what the casual foodie knows about French food points to either the ‘Filipinized’ taste of French breads and pastries or the gastronomic treats that sound intimidating to the ear and even more so to the pocket. Which is why an invitation to sample French comfort food at Cuillere in Serendra at Bonifacio High Street, came as a refreshing and welcome experience, sans pretensions and intimidation.