With the exception of one overly-gamey piece of chicken, just about everything we ate in Paris was aces. Fresh baguettes. Buttered almond croissants. Nutella crepes. All aces. So why are the Donuts so awful?! Seriously, we thought for sure the culinary center of the world, and the birthplace of the Beignet, would certainly fry up a top-notch Nut. Not so. Many of the Parisian Beignets and Donuts we encountered were nearly inedible and every one of them scores near the bottom of the Blognut 10-point scale. Maybe it's that this overly-sophisticated food Mecca is inherently unable to successfully produce a food as simple as a Nut. In fact, I doubt most Parisians would even consider Donuts a worthy feed for their fattened geese, as even fois gras liver can't detoxify something so vile. This said, France does have a rich, if cloudy, donut history.
The word "Beignet" comes from the early Celtic word "bigne," meaning "to raise." In France, it would later come to mean "fritter," referring essentially to any clump of fried dough. Exactly when the Beignet arose in France is unclear, but what is known is that 18th century French colonists brought the recipe for so called "Beignet Fritters" to New Orleans, Louisiana, where they exploded with popularity and have since become associated with the city. Though there are numerous variations on the Beignet, the base recipe calls for deep-fried dough, usually sprinkled with confectioner's sugar (like so many other International Nuts). Over the years, French culinary tradition has snubbed its fried creation and the modern day French beignet has become a sub-standard, recycled version of the 20th century American donut.
Without further ado, here's a run down of all the crappy donuts I ate in Paris:
Beignet de Framboise (Raspberry-filled Beignet) - sitting in a large, empty glass display case were these two pathetic little donuts. They tasted like stale dinner rolls stuffed with cheap and sugary raspberry jelly.
Here's a picture of me eating a disgusting Beignet de Framboise on the street and washing it down with a Kronenbourg. The only thing worse than a French Donut is a French Beer.
This donut sucked.
More sucky donuts. This time, they were actually called "Donuts."
I've saved the worst for last. This is a Beignet au Miel, or Honey Beignet (pictured above), which we purchased in Montmarte as a pre-dinner snack. It weighed roughly two pounds and had the consistency of a hard, dried-up sponge. It tasted like burnt plastic with a slight honey aftertaste and was hands down the worst thing we ingested the entire trip. We took one bite and threw the rest in la poubelle.