Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Finding the right foodstuffs

In my articles of 30 December 2006 entitled My daughter at Gamone [display] and 15 January 2007 entitled Show me your machines [display], I mentioned that I had purchased a splendid cooking gadget, which might be described as a multifunction grill and griddle, manufactured by a US firm named Cuisinart.

There's no problem in using it to make delicious toasted sandwiches of the kind that Australians often eat for breakfast. Recently, I've also used it successfully as a hot plate to cook a Thai dish, hotly-spiced prawn rissoles. But I had never succeeded in preparing one of my favorite foodstuffs: the flat panini sandwiches that I buy on the street whenever I visit Grenoble or Valence. The problem was that I had never found the right resource: that's to say, the basic uncooked panini bread roll. Employees in food shops don't necessarily know from whom their boss acquires their raw materials, while those who do imagine that it's a professional supplier with no retail outlets. Most often, they tell me that I can surely find the panini rolls I'm seeking in supermarkets. But, when cooked upon my Cuisinart griddle, the texture and taste of the rectangular panini rolls sold in the sliced-bread section of supermarkets simply don't end up tasting anything like the products I buy on the street in Grenoble and Valence.

This morning, I finally got around to solving the panini problem. The following photo shows the tasteless supermarket product at the top and, underneath it, a big authentic deep-frozen panini roll of the kind used by professionals.

Early this morning, I happened to be in St-Marcellin to get my car repaired, and I stepped into an excellent bakery to buy a couple of croissants. Once again, I popped the panini question, and the baker's kind wife supplied me immediately with the name and address of a wholesale supplier near Romans who nevertheless sells to ordinary clients like me. As soon as my old Citroën was repaired, I hurried off to the place in question. The only minor problem was that I had to purchase a big cardboard box of forty deep-frozen rolls, and then I had to dash home as quickly as possibly to put them in my deep-freezer, where they occupy an entire drawer.

With cold turkey and tomato filling, and served up with fresh Gamone lettuce, sliced cheese and a sprinkling of walnut oil, the culinary result exceeds my most optimistic expectations.

PS Natacha, who considers (quite rightly) that many of the Earth's finest products come from her native Provence, will be happy to learn that the manufacturer of my deep-frozen panini rolls purchased in Romans has his factory in Tarascon.

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