If a single madeleine drove Marcel Proust's senses to their heights, penning three volumes spanning forty years of memoir, what could a single gibassier do for the future of literature? Take note you coffee shop Dostoyevsky's--if wheat is the staff of life, a gibassier is the fodder of masterpieces.
Seattle boasts some fine bakeries with real standouts: a warm apple gallette from Besalu in Ballard has me hearing a romantic accordian on the Rue Mouffetard bouncing off the rooftops of Paris; an apricot, ginger, pecan scone & silk-bagged Ceylon from Bella Dolce on a misty morning in the Madison Valley brings me to the rugged cliffs of the Beara Peninsula; fresh rosemary-oiled foccacia cut by-the-foot from the back of La Panzanella's truck at the University Farmer's Market marches me straight back to the hill-top towns of Tuscany where I swore I could consist on white-truffled pecorino & bread alone, no matter how sweaty & stale, hoisted from my traveler's backpack.
But a chord was struck this bright Monday morning at the Pearl Bakery after our minds were over-saturated with turning pages amongst the Minotaur's maze of stacks at Powell's Books & our stomach's needed prelude to a late-afternoon lunch reservation at Masu sushi. Our friends gave us a laundry list of requests to bring back from the bakery, & had our stomach's not felt so full from a week of gustatory celebration I now think that even the ice trays in our freezer would be replaced with gibassier's.
Orange peel, anise seeds, olive oil & orange blossom water form a magical composition, dusted liberally with baker's sugar that leave you licking each fingertip between bites to prolong the experience. Half sweet-bread/half pastry it was the perfect combination of savory delight that makes your mind readjust to every flavor, even after a life-long disdain for bobka, the citrusy Polish bread of my youth. Named after the summit Le Gibas in the mountains of Luberon, this piece of Provence indeed transcends heights, or at least my European wanderlust. Pastry heaven is to be found right here in our sweet little corner of the world, no passport required. If only I could click my emerald heels & be in the city of roses for breakfast tomorrow!
***A very special thanks goes out to Jose behind the counter who was kind enough to lend us his cell phone to retrieve our friend's shopping list after our phone conked out. Good luck to you in Chicago, a wish for great success with your art, & we'll hope to meet up again!
Note: Rereading this blog two years later, I have to say I'm pretty proud of it, but the crowning glory is that this summer Lynn of Sweet Things Emporium actually wrote in with a recipe for gibassier... Sunday mornings may never be the same!
102 NW 9th Avenue (Portland, OR) 503.827.0910