12 October; Alice Delice

Posted: 15 October 2017

Coming across a genuine French café in the middle of Fort Kochi was not something that was high on my list but that is exactly what I found in Rose Street.
     Alice Delice is a delightful boulangerie run by Alice and Julien Flock who, after running their organic bakery business Paroles de Pain in Brittany for almost 15 years, decided to open up Fort Kochi earlier this year. 

     With its red checkered table cloths you would be forgiven for thinking you were sitting in a pavement café somewhere in rural France, an image which is enhanced the moment you step inside and see the display of freshly baked bread and pastries. Old black and white photographs of Montmartre, the Sacre Coeur and various Parisian street scenes cover the walls while, in a somewhat incongruous fashion, a portrait of Picasso shares a space with a carving of Ganesh, the famous Hindu elephant-headed god 


 I happily stumbled upon Alice’s one morning as I walked around Fort Kochi. That morning as I sat in the rear garden, a peaceful, cool haven, with a distinctly Mediterranean feel, I tried the Café Gourmand, excellent Café Presse with two different types of bread with unsalted butter, fresh butter as my grandmother always called it, some of Alice’s home made pineapple and ginger jam and a piece of chocolate brownie. Even before I had tasted it I knew I would be back again and again. 

 ‘Is your bakery in France in Paris?’ I asked Alice. A reasonable question I thought as we were surrounded by all thing Parisian. She shook her head.
     ‘No. Never in Paris. I was born in Paris but I do not like Paris. Our bakery is in Brittany. It is much nicer there.’
     ‘And why did you come to Kochi to open a café?’
     ‘We were here visiting and just fell in. Love with the town. It is a beautiful place.’
     Two days later I was back for lunch. I was going to a local school that afternoon so I had my guitar with me.
     ‘Will you play?’ Alice asked as she served me my lunch, a gorgeous platter of Salade de Fruits, a selection of freshly baked breads, Pain au Chocolate, croissant, more of the delicious jam and coffee and all for 300 rupees, about £3.50. 

     After playing a few songs in the café we moved outside where my playing seemed to generate quite a bit of interest from the locals. While I was playing a film crew passed. In Kochi there always seems to be a film crew somewhere making what they hope will be the next Bollywood blockbuster. 

   What do you do in circumstances when you are asked by a glamorous young film star, whose name I have forgotten, I am ashamed to say, but I am sure she doesn’t remember mine either, if she can sit beside you while you play? As I sang and played she posed and smiled. Film cameras rolled and stills cameras clicked, especially Alices’s who had decided that this was a sure fire way of getting some local attention for the boulangerie. This is the second time I have been filmed in Kochi. Last time I was here I was filmed by the BBC for their series ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ chatting to Denis Taylor, Amanda Barrie and Lionel Blair but my role as ‘British customer in a  fruit and veg market’ ended up on the cutting room floor and I fully expect the same fate awaits this. Who can tell, though. I may be just about to make it big in Southern India as ‘vagrant itinerant minstrel’. Still we all have to start somewhere. 


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