Let Them Eat Cake!

Delifrance Kuching

Delifrance Ciabatta Sandwich

Ever wondered why when we eat a cow, it is called beef and when we cook a sheep, it is instantly converted into mutton, why pork is cooked pig. This is because in 1066, Guillaume le Bâtard better known as William the Bastard decided to conquer England. He did conquer England and he became King William II and changed the shape and culture of England forever. William and his fellow Normans became the ruling class of England replacing the original English aristocracy. While the peasants who tended to the livestock calling them by their original English names, (i.e. cow, sheep, pig), the new Norman lords called it by their French equivalents (i.e. boeuf, mouton, porc). No wonder the English hates the French.

William the Conquerer

They have fought each other lots of times in the 1000 years after the Norman’s conquest including the Hundred years war, the American Revolution, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. Of course they had also fought together in many instances in the past 1000 years as well, most notably the two World Wars, the Crimean War and the Eighty years War. So it is quite undeserved that the French are famously called the cheese eating surrender monkeys by Willie the groundskeeper in the Simpsons.

France is also well known for other things, for sure. Like their Parisian Cafes filled with mouth watering, soul nurturing, muse harbouring pastries. Countless of artists, philosophers, poets and even chess players frequented those cafes and I’m certain lots of pastries were consumed.

Women, on a Cafe Terrace by Degas

Pastries also played a part in one of the most famous quotes in the world. Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. Let them eat cake. This phrase has often been attributed to Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France. According to legend, she was supposed to have said this upon learning that her subjects, the poor peasants, had no bread; showing how out of touch she was to the common man. Of course this is all made up since there is no record of her actually saying those words. Oh well.

As luck would have it, I was invited as a guest of another blogger to experience a French themed café. We were attending the opening of Kuching’s first Delifrance. It has been in operation for more than 25 years. I’m also happy to report that Delifrance is a franchise that originated in France and not one of those gimmicks cooked up by entrepreneurs. Serving ‘French Style’ bakery products in a café setting is certainly not new in Kuching but Delifrance seems to be up to the task.

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We were served a 3 course meal starting with a pastry hors d’oeuvre of a croissant and a Danish and for desert we were served 2 types of cake. I’ll talk about the main a bit later but first my thoughts on the appetizer and the desert. I love the croissant. Even just served plain, without butter or any jam, the croissant was still a delicious morsel. The Danish pastry was a tad on the sweet side but still nice. The cakes were not as good as the pastries. They are still decent cakes but quite unmemorable for me. Maybe it is because we were given sampler portions or I was a bit full. In any case, I will set my judgments aside until I have tasted more of it.

Ok. On to the main course. We were served two Ciabatta paninis, Ciabatta Beef Pepperoni S’preme and Ciabatta Tuna D’licious. It was ironic that to find a French styled bakery café serving us Italian bread but hey that’s globalization for you. The bread itself was well done. It was crusty on the outside with a nice fluffy centre. The fillings are what you can expect from any decent sandwich in a retail outlet, enough of it so that it tastes nice but not too much until it hurts the bottom line of the store. Still it tastes decent enough.

My only complaint is that they used raw yellow onions. These type of onions tend to give a stronger flavor that in my opinion is more suited to cooking rather than eating raw. They should have used red onions which tend to have a milder sweeter taste to it. Would have complemented the sandwiches a lot better than the ones they used. Anyway, this is a small complaint on an otherwise good product. For those of you who are sandwich lovers, here might be a place to get your sandwich fix in Kuching and if your partner or kids are not into sandwiches, let them eat cake! Or pastry.


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