A Parisian Reminiscence

On a cold February evening nearly ten years ago I walked briskly down a Paris sidewalk with my date.  The cold wind blew drizzle that haloed filthy streetlights.  It was no night to sight see.  The impending rain forced our decision to duck into a corner cafe only a few blocks from our hotel.  Inside, as I faced her from across an an undersized table, a particularly eventful discovery was made – Leffe Blond.

Tracking down bottles turned out to be no small feat after returning stateside.  Local grocers’ imported beer selection was sparse, if at all.  Online research was limited in those days before the current omnipresence of Wi-Fi and e-commerce.  Compounding the difficulty was its pronunciation – was it called lef or lef-fay?  How to find a beer without knowing its country of origin or correct name?  One thing was certain – its distinct yellow label.  And that unforgettable taste.

But persistence pays off and after frequenting far too numerous French and Belgian restaurants, it was finally found – on draft.  Fortunately a local bistro, whose notoriety comes from its rowdy Bastille Day celebration, provides pours of this favorite Belgian in the traditional goblet-style glass the brewers recommend.  Unfortunately the bistro’s tight bar space and severe fluorescent lighting feels more like drinking in Gare du Nord, not that corner cafe.

Today nearly every grocery, urban or rural, stocks multitudes of imported beer – including Leffe Blond (and in some cases, even Leffe Bruin).  What could be once only be found in European cafes is now ubiquitous, the variety of choices astounding to consider.

What a pleasure it is to take an evening stroll to the local market, leisurely browse the beverage aisle, and return home with a few kinds of cheese, a loaf of fresh bread, and some cold beer.  Just like dinner in that cafe, on a quiet corner in Paris, all those years ago.

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm  Comments Off on A Parisian Reminiscence  
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