All I knew about Aurélie before our rendez-vous at Péclard was that she was French and had a blog about Zürich. I would soon learn more interesting things about her, like how she started blogging because an Argentinian guy had annoyed her and how much she loves pain au chocolat. I also knew something about her taste in cafés - she'd invited me to Péclard, previously called Schober, in the heart of the Niederdorf.
"The pain au chocolat looks fantastic!" Aurélie exclaimed as I arrived, her green eyes sparkling with excitement. Only the French can understand our longing for stuff like baguettes, croissants and cheese- good ones are hard to find outside of France. We looked at the pastries on display: they all looked so French: tartes aux framboises, tartes au citron et macarons... hmmm!
"They even have pain au raisin!" (Another rarity in Switzerland: it's a delicious round pastry filled with raisins and cream). Aurélie was mesmerised by the sights of all the sweets on display, and her expectations were high: "I've been looking for a decent pain au chocolat in Zürich for a long time, I hope they're as good as they look."
I was pleased to be in such a pastry paradise with a real gourmande, like I am. I love food-enthusiasts. We bought 2 pains au chocolat and a pain au raisin to share and found a cosy couch to sit on the second floor.
Péclard is a traditional pâtisserie/tea room. It has a classy atmosphere with its chandelier, grand piano and red velvet seats. When I saw the decorations and the pastries, I immediatly thought about Ladurée in Paris (a world-famous French pastry shop that everyone should know about).
We began chatting about our life in Zürich, food and blogging. Aurélie tried her pain au chocolat first. This pastry can be either excellent or terrible. So when she took her first bite, I stopped talking and looked at her expectantly, waiting for the verdict.
"Oh, it is terrible. You shouldn't even try yours, really you'll be too disappointed," she said.
I believed her for half a second until I saw pure satisfaction shining in her eyes. She looked like a little girl eating her favourite dessert. I tried the pain au raisin and wasn't disappointed. It was fresh, crusty, buttery, melting in the mouth: perfection! We both giggled in delight as we eagerly nibbled our pastries and sipped our rich, creamy hot chocolate.
Aurélie's enthusiasm wasn't limited to food: "I fell in love with Zürich 11 years ago and never left since then," she smiled.
"Is it why you started a blog about the city?"
"Actually, it all began because I got angry at an Argentinian guy. He was constantly complaining about Zürich. It annoys me when expats complain about the city or life in Switzerland. They don't have to live here, they are not political refugees or whatever. That's what pushed me to start my blog about Zürich a few months ago. I wanted to show how cool the city and its citizens were."
"So what can we find on your blog?"
"There is a 'weekend selection' where I describe possible things to do in Zürich weekly. I also made a few portraits of Zurchers who I found interesting and then whatever I want to share about my experience in the city, it's a bit like a guide. I wrote a review of spas recently, for example."
"Do you enjoy writing for your blog?"
"Yes, I love it. It makes me go out more and discover interesting places, meet new people... I wouldn't call myself a writer though. I don't blog to write but really to share my love of Zürich."
Of course, we had a lot to talk about: our blogs, our favorite places, our projects... So when I had to leave to meet another French woman for another Café Correspondent article, I really hoped I would meet Aurélie again soon. Her enthusiasm was contagious and gave me a boost of inspiration for my own projects.
I took a few photos on our way out. There were so many chic details! A queue had formed in front of the pastries; the place seems to be incredibly popular. But even though it was busy, the service was friendly and efficient.
We paid CHF 7.- for 2 pains au chocolat and a pain au raisin. The hot chocolate was 7.50.- Péclard is ideal for a winter or a rainy afternoon with a friend. Be sure to leave some space in your stomach before you go. It would be a shame to go there and just have tea, neglecting all the excellent pastries it offers.
Read my blog: Trying to be Conscious