How to Make Breakfast Like the French, According to a Chef
Say oui to all the bread.
Updated Sep 21, 2018 4:25 PM
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When a country counts a breakfast pastry as one of it’s most iconic emblems, you know it’s a place that takes mornings seriously. But croissants aren’t the only thing that make it easy to get out of bed in France. In fact, there’s a fine art to the French breakfast. And according to chef Christian Sinicropi, who serves a Provençal-inspired spread daily at Cannes’s iconic Hotel Martinez (part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection), it’s not hard to master it on your own.
Instead of grabbing an on-the-go coffee and calling it a meal, Sinicropi says that taking a moment to slowly ease into your day with a well-considered breakfast can get you going on the right foot. It also helps if the whole thing is pretty. “French breakfast has to be beau, bon, et gourmand—attractive, tasty, and gourmet,” he says. “It is all about finesse and the pursuit of the perfect taste.” Create your own French-inspired ritual at home with the chef’s three simple steps.
Take It Step-by-Step
French (especially Provençal) breakfasts happen in two steps. First, you enjoy your coffee or tea, then you have your food. This way, you’re not rushing but rather savoring every component. Use a bit of patience when filling your plate, too—rather than going all out on a buffet, Sinicropi suggests taking it dish by dish. “If I want to eat scrambled eggs, I will order them, eat them, and then think about the next step,” he says. “Everything in its own time.”
Serve Up Bread and Cheese—And Some Extra Touches
Sinicropi follows Provençal tradition and uses local food (honey, cheese, you name it) at Hotel Martinez. But even if you’re oceans away from the lavender fields of Provençe, you can follow his lead by shopping your local farmers’ market. Marmalade, butter, and bread—particularly viennoiseries (sweet, laminated pastries such as croissants) and le pain ficelle (basically a baguette) top his essentials list.
Once you have those ingredients as your base, add some extras. Sinicropi likes setting out plain yogurt that people can customize with jams, nuts, and seeds. He also includes raw fish, vegetables, and fruit for a healthy touch. And don’t forget the cheese: His favorites come from the small mountainside village of St. Cézaire, but any soft goat’s milk or sheep’s milk cheese works, too.
Make It Social
What’s more important than getting your hands on a French chèvre or finding a local bakery that makes perfectly layered croissants? Remembering that a meal—even the first one of the day—should be a time to spend with others. (And no shame if it’s just with your roommate.) “A French breakfast tends to be a time of sharing with our loved ones, where everybody is seated,” Sinicropi says. “It is one of those moments that helps you to start the day in the best way possible.”
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