I tried a great little crêperie the other day, Le Vieux Journal (The Old Newspaper), 17, rue Bréa, just a couple of blocks from le Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th Arrondisement. The décor is charming; old newspaper pages are shellacked onto the walls, which gives the interior a golden glow. There are lace café curtains and lampshades. There’s even a restaurant cat. Camillo, the beautiful long-hair moseyed about our legs until the people at the table next to me tapped an empty seat and he jumped up for more attention. Why didn’t I think of that? A sweet couple that seem to be a few decades past the normal retirement age runs the show.
I had a smoked salmon crêpe and a green side salad, always a good choice and I wasn’t disappointed. My dessert crêpe, the Dimitri, was really different. It was filled with fromage blanc, studded with golden raisins, and dusted with cinnamon. My French friends, Léa and Gaspard, gave it two thumbs up when they tasted some of mine. Fromage blanc translates literally as “white cheese,” but this is most inadequate. It’s the consistency of a thick Greek-style yogurt, but has a very smooth taste with no acidity.
Today’s expression, profitez-en (profeetay zon) means “profit from it” but is best translated by the idea that one should grab the gusto, carpe diem. This is why I eat fromage blanc as often as possible in France. Unfortunately, anything I have tried thus far in the US that is labeled fromage blanc is some sort of evil imposter, so I enjoy it while I can plain, with a fruit coulis, or in a crêpe.