What do pick-pockets and Louise cake have in common? Nothing. They are polar opposites; the pain and the pleasure of my week in Paris. A few days ago on the way home from my late afternoon knitting group session my wallet was stolen out of my handbag as I walked along the busy corridor of the Havre Caumartin metro interchange. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of orange, the colour of my wallet, and guessed what had just happened. A quick rummage in my bag confirmed NO WALLET. I retraced my route, determination in every step. Determined to do what, I don’t know. I knew I wasn’t planning to tackle the culprit and wrestle my wallet off him/her. Ahead of me two young guys were looking intently into something as they walked. At the cross-road in the corridor they stopped and looked back. And there I was, right in front of them, still not sure what I was going to say or do. One fellow was trying to hide my wallet in his man-bag, it didn’t fit. Ha! I didn’t need to say or do anything – he handed it back to me, sneering words as he did. All I heard, and understood, was “little” and “value.”
So, my wallet stuffed full of the necessities for my life in Paris was of little value to these odious little pick pockets. They took the bundle of metro tickets I had just bought, but left the 5 euro note and few coins. They weren’t interested in my bank cards, Velib bike hire card, my French residency permit, healthcare card, my yarn purchase loyalty cards from L’ Oisivethé in Paris and Loop in London, my hairdresser appointment card, NZ driver’s license, a fistful of dog-eared business cards and the label from a ball of handspun angora.
They didn’t find value in the coffee loyalty card of Matamata café in rue d’ Argout, and that is where they made a huge mistake. Had they known that is where you get the best Louise Cake in Paris – perhaps the only Louise Cake in Paris – they would have made off with that too. So this week I will be celebrating my luck with a trip to Matamata for a flat white and, if it’s still on the menu, some good old-fashioned, just like my Mum makes, Louise Cake served with Matamata’s charming blend of kiwi-French hospitality. I shall remind myself to follow my own advice about keeping valuables tucked away securely and I will continue to enjoy being out and about in Paris because one rotten apple will never spoil this beautiful city.
For a treat, here’s a recipe for Louise Cake.