30 June 2006, Champion of Breakfasts

Rosewood jamRosewood bread Wednesday's breakfast at the Rosewood was magnificent (as well it might be, at 26 euros a head), front runner by a large margin for Best Breakfast of the Trip. The buffet was laid out on the counter wrapped around three sides of the open kitchen, and it was gorgeous: seven kinds of bread, three kinds of pastry, two kinds of cake (toaster available); Échiré butter à volonté; fresh whole fruit and two kinds of fruit salad; four kinds of jam and three of honey; applesauce, fromage blanc, yogurt, sheep's-milk curds, prunes stewed with cinnamon sticks; four local cheeses, with the usual cherry jam; local ham, both raw and cooked (note the whole raw ham, with the hoof still on, in the carving clamp at the upper right); two kinds of local dry sausage; smoked salmon, for once curled into neat rosettes easily picked up with a fork, accompanied by lemon slices; excellent sliced fresh tomatoes with salt, pepper, and light olive oil; and a wide variety of dry cereals and fruit juices laid out on a separate table.

Rosewood fruit Rosewood meat A waitress was there to supply whatever hot drink you wanted (coffee, tea, hot chocolate); I chose decaf café au lait. And the breakfast chef who arranged the whole thing (he definitely got an A in "garnishing" at chef school) was waiting anxiously, with nothing better to do, to cook you an egg (or six) any way you wanted them. He was very proud of the spread and seemed a little disappointed that I didn't want an egg or, say, a piperade basque with cheese melted over it.

For at least the first hour I was there (first eating, then typing), I had the entire dining room and both servers entirely to myself. When I asked the chef whether I could take his picture, he seemed very flattered but immediately whipped off his toque—he felt he was more photogenic without it.Rosewood chef

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