Chouquettes [19/100]

In the French school system, when I was enrolled in the late 1990s, there were no classes on Wednesday’s. Instead, students went to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. Wednesday’s were reserved for extracurricular activities where kids were to be enrolled by their parents.

At my particular school, every other Wednesday had no classes while the other Wednesday had only a half day of classes, so Saturday and Sunday were free.

When I was too little for extracurriculars, my mom and I had a little tradition on the Wednesdays when I had a half day of classes. She would pick me up close to noon when my classes were dismissed, and she and I would swing by one of the local boulangeries, or French bakeries, in Fontainebleau. Out of the many to choose from, we went to the one near la Place de la Republique where there was a busy parking lot surrounded by little shops on all four sides.

At this particular boulangerie, I often ordered a bag of at least a dozen chouquettes, which I would devour on our way back home or even while walking back to the car. Chouquettes are a unique sort of French pastry that comes in the form of a bite-sized ball of extra light dough sprinkled with crystal-like sugars on the outside. The ball of dough is hollow or empty inside, feels light and fluffy to the touch, and ultimately melts in your mouth. Bite into one, and the texture is unmistakable: crispy on the outside thanks to the baking and the crystal-like sugar pieces, and light, soft, and fluffy on the inside.

Whenever I think of chouquettes, I think of the blissful, carefree half-day Wednesdays I would spend with my mom.