The other day I find myself over a late lunch in Bayonne, France.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I never cease to be amazed by the huge difference a border can make on cuisine. The French and Spanish(Basque) cuisines share many things, but even just at a sheer surface level glance, they are so different. And nowhere is this better expressed than at a simple, everyday lunch. In Spain (Basque Country) you might expect something stewed, some delicious grilled meat, an iceberg/onion salad dressed with apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
Not en France. Baked cheese en croute; jambon de Bayonne; goat cheese tartines, crispy and charred; croque monsieur, covered in broiled bechamel; and a sensational and sumptuous quiche, the French's answer to tortilla. Our lunch was adorned with beautifully dressed salads, studded by lardons and perfectly seasoned.
It's really just too typical. The French lunch is a beautiful, sexy woman, subtle and detailed. The Basque lunch is simple, filling and humble. Viva stereotypes, as long as they are as delicious as these!