I’m bad at choosing favorites.
I went on a date recently where the guy asked me what my favorite music was. Thirty minutes later, I was still listing off everything currently uploaded to my Spotify account. I told him what I’ll tell you: that I have lots of “Top Tens.” But even in those lists, many entries have two- or three-way ties. The commitment involved in choosing The Favorite of anything is too much pressure for me to bear.
That is, until I went to see my friends Céline and Max in the south of France. I arrived late one Friday evening at the Saint Charles train station in Marseille. C. picked me up in her car and drove me back to her beautiful apartment where both her husband and dinner were waiting. One hearty quiche and
several glasses a bit of wine later, and I headed off to bed. Céline never does things half-way…the queen-size bed was made up with crisp, clean white linens. And lying on my pillow was a paper bag full of “navettes,” a Marseille specialty.
I woke up the next morning and tip-toed out to the living room, where Céline and Max were already up drinking their first cup of coffee. Max stood and made me a cup of my own and I pattered back to the bedroom to grab my stock of navettes. “Navette” is the French name for a gondola-like boat, which lends its shape to the cookie/cracker. The navette is semi-sweet, crispy, and infused with what I was about to learn is My Favorite Thing Ever: Orange Blossom water.
There is nothing – NOTHING – in this world that I would rather taste or smell more than Orange Blossom. There is nothing more comforting or perfect or subtle or delicious in this world. I did it. I finally found a favorite.
Céline and Max buy me navettes every time I come to visit. The last time I was there, I placed them on their coffee table and snapped a quick photo. They laughed and pulled out their phones; they had taken the same picture themselves, ages ago.
Orange Blossom is the fragrance and flavor I associate with the south of France, with Marseille in particular, with that apartment, and with those dear friends.