July 15, 2005

Catalan Vacation- a coffee in the port

Early Morning Cadaqués belongs to a few old men who sit outside the closed Bar Meliton watching the beginnings of another day—small boats anchor on a very flat surface sea, there is barely a breath of southwind. I join them to take a coffee in the port at the towering white remnants of the turn of the century Casino, the only open door on the beachfront. I am not alone this early: a group of French tourists finish their ‘white night’ with café con leche and large glasses of zuma de Taranja- orange juice; a half-dozen men stand at the bar, their Catalan gossip competing with the clink of cups and spoons and the constant gurgle of the busy coffee machine; three green-clad guardia civil down glass shooters of café solo; a small white truck delivers bread for entrepans from Balthazar’s ubercool wood-fired oven. Day begins in Cadaqués with the smell of scooter exhaust mingling with sea salt and a sugar-scented wave from the pastry shop next door.

La Mallorquina’s window is full of soft sugar-powdered snails, cream-filled beignets and syrup-imbibed taps, a cork-shaped specialty to dip in coffee or soak in rum. Like most of Cadaqués, even the bakery has a sea view. Blanxart chocolate boxes line the back wall and refrigerator cases are already filled with cream cakes and fruit pastries. La Mallorquina is a sweet magnet these early hours and I buy a box of taps to take back to Camont today. This Catalan summer vacation is over but the French Kitchen version now begins back on the Gascon ranch. The potager will have run a little wild, the boat will smell faintly of diesel and dust and DuPont will need a little extra care as we slip back into our day to day adventures in the French Kitchen.

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