This week’s Instagram picture is from my Sunday afternoon goûter, as they call it in French.
From Umami Matcha Cafe 22, rue Beranger, 75003 Paris. Open 7 days a week.
There’s not a perfect translation for the small afternoon meal you eat to hold you over until dinner. Maybe it’s the equivalent of afternoon tea in England, but it’s not that fancy. Snack might be the best word for Americans. But to me, snack means something you graze on, something mindless that you reach for often because you’re bored, or stressed.
In France goûter is ritual. Kids expect it when they come home from school around 5pm. Sometimes you even see children eating their gouter as they walk home, anxiously babbling about their day even while their little feet drag the ground and their tired eyes droop. It’s what you invite friends or family to come by your cramped Paris apartment to enjoy while you catch up on life. It’s what keeps you at the table during a lazy vacation from breakfast to dinner. For a few families gouter is ALWAYS savory, like cheese or a bit of saussicon and a baguette. For others, it MUST be sweet, like a morsel of dark chocolate and a pastry.
For me, goûter is the chance to explore on weekends. There are chic hotels or smart-looking cafes that I don’t dare enter wearing my grubby, writing clothes during the week, but come Sunday afternoon, I put on something civilized and go in search of a treat.
In this case the the decadent goodness came in the form of a matcha cheesecake, matcha latte, and a matcha smoothie bowl in no particular order. Obvs I have no rules about savory or sweet gouter. I just want something that will feed my soul.