Poilane’s Punitions


Like so many tourists from around the world who make homage to this world famous boulangerie, I too visited Poilane on my last trip to the City of Lights and picked up a little complimentary “Punitions” cookie (or two, or three) from a basket by the cashier on my way out. I can still recall the moment the robust buttery flavor and subtle sweetness hit my taste bud – it was heaven. Just like the French culture, these cookies present a paradox that we Westerners often struggle to decipher: how something so simple (cookies made from only butter, sugar, egg, and flour) taste so rich, luxurious, and opulent.


There’s no mystery why these butter cookies from one of Paris’ most famous bakers are called, “Punitions,” or punishment, because it’s just plan cruel to have to wait to bite into them until they cool down. Yep, it was definitely a torture.

You can find the recipe and a lovely story by Dorie Greenspan in her book, Paris Sweets. Or, click here for the recipe. This is one of my all-time favorite baking books.

Parisian Tartine Extraordinaire: Cuisine De Bar

I woke up early on Friday and headed to the Charles De Gaulle airport to collect Maya. It was so nice to see her arrive to Paris safely. I decided not to go to the bread-making class afterall at Le Cordon Bleu because I never heard back from them, even after more than five emails that I sent. I was a little bummed because I was looking forward to it but I’m glad that I had the extra two days to hang out with my best friend. I think I was meant to explore the city with Maya, instead of kneading pastry dough in a classroom.

The world-famous Poilane Bakery

After we dropped off her luggage and rested a little at the hotel, we headed over to Rue du Cherche Midi, a little street with many lovely shops and restaurants, for our first lunch. We went to Cuisine de Bar, that specializes in variety of tartines, using the famous Poilane bread, its next door neighbor. The menu is very straight forward, pretty much serving only those lovely open-faced sandwiches, but the choices are endless.

It was so difficult to decide on one because everything looked so great (or at least they sounded great on an all-French menu), I ended up ordering the tartine with pureed sardine, and Maya ordered the roasted chicken with mayonnaise, capers, and anchovies. Both of our sandwiches came with a side salad with butter lettuce, endive, kidney beans, and raisins, dressed with mustard vinaigrette. The bitterness of the endives went really well with the pungent mustard dressing, and the beans added a satisfying volume to this petit salad.

My sardine tartine was simple but surprisingly filling, with the saltiness of the pureed fish went perfectly with the chilled glass of Chardonnay we ordered.

Maya’s chicken sandwich was smeared with generous portion of what tasted like homemade mayo, and the capers and anchovies on top provided a quiet punch. We weren’t sure at first if the little sandwich would satisfy our hungry stomach but we were pleasantly surprised how filling it was!

But of course, what is Maya and my culinary adventure without ordering dessert? We shared a slice of Flan that the restaurant picks up from Poilane. We were especially excited because the dessert came from the most famous bakery in Paris and perhaps the world, but we were disappointed because it tasted more like a gelatin dessert than the egg-y custard that we were accustomed to. But the bread was surely world class.

Both Cuisine de Bar and Poilane are located on the same street, right next to each other, in the 6th Arrondissement. I know that most people already have Poilane on the Paris itinerary but when you’re here, I highly recommend that you stop by this cute restaurant with communal tables and a bar for quick bite! It’s a perfect place to rest your tired feet, and enjoy a quick and delicious lunch!

Cuisine de Bar
8 Rue du Cherche Midi
Metro: Sevres Babylone (6th Arrondissement)