On Thursday I was in Oxford for a meeting of the Ministerial Training Committee at Regent's Park, our Baptist College, which is part of the university. This was a stimulating and worthwhile occasion. However, it wasn't the highpoint of the visit.
Whenever I go to Oxford, if possible, I get there early enough to taste the delights of Maison Blanc. This authentic French boulangerie-Pâtisserie-Chocolaterie was created in 1979 by Raymond and Jenny Blanc, owners of Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons restaurant. As you might expect they have a large choice of speciality breads, viennoiseries, savouries, and of course the famous patisseries. I'm fairly unadventurous and go for the almond croissant and black coffee, but what an almond croissant and black coffee!
The pastry is soft, on the cusp of melt-in-the-mouth with just a hint of crispness, the crème suffuses the whole, the almonds are plentiful and just the right side of burnt ... it's one of those eternal moments. And as I recounted the experience later on in the day, I came to the conclusion it was almost worth going to Oxford just for another moment.