It’s true, Stephanie indulges in something practically unheard of among her French girlfriends. Are you ready for this?
Stephanie loves chocolat au lait.
Unlike her friends who nibble away on their one (or for those who are really into excess), two small squares of verrrrry dark chocolate per day, she craves milk chocolate. “I’ll eat a bar of milk chocolate during the day,” she admitted.
Now, me being the American where excess is my raison d’être, a bar of chocolate is an entire candy bar. For a Frenchwoman, a bar of chocolate is a row of squares in a bar of chocolate. Depending upon the brand, there are three to four squares in a “bar of chocolate.”
Rarely does a day go by that she doesn’t indulge, but like all of the women in our discipline series she has an extremely active life.
Stephanie is the manager of Babette’s boutique, Côte Rue, she has three children : a daughter, 17 and two sons, 14 and 12. She has — I’m just mentioning this as an aside — quite an amazing wardrobe, which she tells me she often shares with her daughter.
Here is how a typical day in her life plays out:
Tea, “about a litre, no milk”
Yogurt de brebis (sheep milk yogurt)
1/8 of a baguette, toasted, no butter with homemade confiture (“home made by my neighbour”) — apricot, plume or raspberry.
Built on a base of pasta with a tomato sauce with two paper thin slices of ham or an egg
A compote de pommes
Three squares of milk chocolate (one bar. . .)
Green mint tea
An omelette with herbs
Yogurt and a seasonal fruit, “At the moment we’re eating grapes.”
“On the weekends we’ll have roasted chicken, fish, homemade ratatouille, fresh haricots verts. . .” she said. “I have more time to cook and I know the children and my husband have had a good lunch so during the week dinners are light and easy.”
Stephanie drinks bubbly water throughout the day and will drink wine on the weekends when there is more time to relax. Like my French niece, I’ve found that most women equate wine with conviviality, not an antioxidant health potion. Wine equals moments of shared pleasure.
“Sometimes on Friday evenings after we close the boutique,” Babette, Patou (she manages Babette’s shoe store) and two other friends who have boutiques in town, meet next door [she’s referring to a charming/trendy gallery wine bar] for a glass of rosé before we head home,” she said.
Stephanie does “aqua forme” once a week which is like aqua gym on steroids. She rides her bicycle to the boutique, about six kilometres round trip, and on Sunday she cycles at least 15 kilometres and then runs another three.
Ed. Note: In the past, even though she hated it, she allowed me to take her picture. These are from my old camera and I can’t make them larger. If I can convince her to succumb to the ordeal with my new camera, I’ll post more later.