15/09/2010 by etiennefish
Gluten is pretty much in all the best foods in the world. Fact. Gluten is especially present in bread, which is also pretty much the best food ever. Fact. Gluten makes my stomach a bit over-excited and when I consume more than the slightest amount, it tends to throw raging dance parties that last for days on end and keep me from sleeping at night. Fact.
I love gluten so much, and it is generally all I can do to refrain from maintaining a steady diet of all things bread. This is especially hard when you live in a place like Switzerland, where the bread is so good that consuming it verges on a religious experience and there is a bakery offering straight-from-the-oven delicious-ness all day long. Before moving to Switzerland, I thought I had my addiction (mostly) under control. I lived in a place where wonderful things that had nothing to do with gluten could regularly be consumed in restaurants at reasonable prices, and where substitutes for all my most loved gluten-filled snacks/ingredients could easily be found in (generally slightly less delicious) gluten-free forms at the supermarket. Fast forward to Geneva, where life is (extremely) expensive, and some of the best (and often cheapest) forms of consumption = bread and cheese. Delicious bread and cheese. Needless to say, I had a lot of gluten-related setbacks in my first few months here, especially when I lived somewhere where the ability to cook/store food was extremely limited, they didn’t have the good kind of rice cakes (white chedder), and I was extremely poor (and did I mention how amazing the bread is here?). My stomach was filing complaint after complaint and threatening to quit due to exhaustion, so I finally forced myself to (mostly) stop with the gluten (plus I moved to a new place with improved cooking facilities). I stopped buying gluten-filled products at home (i.e. no to bread and pasta, yes to rice and veg, etc), and limited myself to gazing longingly at bakery windows to two times per week. Then, friends from New Orleans came to live here for a bit. They love bread and cheese with an admiration and skill that I can only hope to one day reach, and they quickly set themselves upon the task of trying as many of aforementioned foods as possible during their stay here. Then, we moved in together. Through my close observation of their activities, I realised that their dedication kindled something in my much suppressed little heart, and I found that I too, must rededicate myself to the love of all things bread. Unfortunately, my stomach called a strike almost immediately (it’s the proximity to France, it keeps getting all these rebellious ideas), and I found myself sadly packing rice cakes for sandwiches once more. But then, I discovered Pain Soleil one lazy weekend morning, and I knew it was all over. I was in love.
Before, I realise now, it was always just an infatuation I had with bread, a crazy whirlwind romance of a fling that left me breathless and begging for more, but also empty, depressed, and disgusted with myself. Pan Soleil is like a gift from on high. I imagine that it’s the ambrosia the gods of Mount Olympus once dined upon with gusto. My stomach has written notes, called, and thrown temper tantrums (at all the most inopportune occasions possible, I might add) in its rage at my decisions, and is currently threatening to walk out on me forever, but what’s a little discomfort when one is in love? Pain Soleil (Sun Bread) is smallish and round, with an extremely flaky/crispy outside and a deliciously fluffy and soft inside. It tastes just as good on the 2nd and 3rd day as it does fresh from the oven, and regularly taunts me to eat the entire loaf in one sitting. Oh gluten, I hate you, but Pain Soleil may be the love of my life.
When I looked up Pain Soleil in google images, this is what I found. Not the bread, but it clearly shows the level of amazingness that Pain Soleil reaches: