A French breakfast, or petit déjeuner, is a simple meal, often consisting of a hot drink and a simple pastry or piece of bread. Petit déjeuner is literally translated into "little lunch." As the name suggests, a French breakfast is not a overwhelming feast, although it can be filled with rich and indulgent foods.
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Coffee is an important component of even the simplest French breakfasts. In fact, while many may skip breakfast or enjoy a "petit" meal, coffee will nearly always be part of the experience. The French often sip a café au lait, or coffee with milk, alongside their breakfast. For a peppier version, they may opt for an espresso or a coffee with chocolate. Coffee is also served as a dip for a pastry or bread.
Pastries and Breads
Croissants are a popular breakfast pastry. They are flaky, buttery rolls, often twisted into a loose knot or overlapped shape. French people eat croissants plain, or slather them with butter or jam. The pastries are also available filled with chocolate. The French often prepare French toast from a loaf of bread from dinner the night before. The toast is dipped in a beaten egg mixture and placed on a hot pan or skillet to cook.
The Telegraph released a story in July of 2007, in which Peter Allen explained that while coffee and pastries made up the traditional French breakfast, many younger Parisians and French citizens and visitors were opting for a healthier morning meal. Trends showed that while many were still indulging in a hot cup of coffee, some were opting out of the additional hot chocolate or milk. Also, many were topping a cup of yogurt with jam or jelly, rather than spreading the fruit spread on a buttery roll. Cereal and juice was also becoming more popular. Many, young and old, opt for a fresh piece of fruit from a farmers market, rather than a roll or baguette from the local bakery.