On a lazy Sunday afternoon, we stopped at a neighboring boulangerie for a treat after lunch. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed at all the intricate designs behind the glass. A mille-feuille turned literally on its head. A perfectly balanced religieuse. A spray of color on a crumbly fruit tart.
“…What is that.”
Now you know me, friends. I will always be drawn to the…avant-garde pâtisseries in the shop. Consider me the patron saint of the smashed, the lumpy, and the ill-conceived. My blessing is a good jostle in an open-faced box and my benediction smeared chocolate on the inside of a paper wrapper.
It could only be described as a lump of moldy coal. It was a boule noire and Reader, I bought it.
Normally, I like to provide a bit of history and cultural context to my pâtisseries, if only to make up for a lack of description or opinion. This time I can only say: do not Google “boule noire.” Don’t do it. Do not.
We brought it home and cut it open with silent reverence. And like the nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark, we could not look away. The knife kept catching on something inside and the chocolate…scales? that coated the exterior began to melt under my touch.
Our faces melted off and the boule noire sucked them in before snapping shut, taking our identifiable features and our personas with it. In fact, I am writing to you now as la Boule Noire. At last.
All kidding aside, it was méringue. It was filled with méringue, like the world’s most disappointing Pokeball. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to eat an apple-sized méringue, which is essentially whipped egg whites and sugar. It gets old fast. This one smelled kind of eggy, not in a fun brunch-y way but in a oh, that is a bird womb kind of way.
As far as I can tell, there is no precedent for what this pâtissier(e) dreamed up one day: a ball of méringue the size of an apple, covered in chocolate cream with a coating of tiny chocolate flakes and a dusting of sugar.
We all have dreams, sir/madame. I dream of becoming soluble in water. Doesn’t mean we have to follow through. But I will grant you this: innovation is the lifeblood of society. And one day we may all be flocking to Paris for a boule noire and wearing clay versions of it as earrings and misspelling it macaroon- ahem. I get ahead of myself.
For now the boule noire is a hidden treasure somewhere in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, to be found when you least expect it, and you’ll ask yourself, I wonder what’s inside that lumpy black ball thing? And the answer, if you give your heart and 2,90€ to it:
It’s méringue. It’s all méringue.