The dictionary defines a dilettante as someone who only has a superficial interest in something and just dabbles in it before moving on to the next best thing. Is there a word then for the opposite of a dilettante? The new buzzword passionista springs to mind, so it will do.
I have sometimes been accused of being a dilettante in the sense that I plunge headlong into every new interest, become completely obsessed with it, before moving on to something else. It’s interesting however, that of all the things I have ever gotten “into”, I have never let go of a single one – each has found its appropriate place in my life. I realize that the intense and sometimes crazy obsessiveness I show is part of my mental process in wanting to fully experience every new thing that interests me, before my brain decides where it’s supposed to fit.
These thoughts spring to mind because my latest interest in Poilâne bread has generated more than its fair share of strange looks and head-shakes from friends and family. Poilâne bread is the Holy Grail to bread enthusiasts and foodies. While it sells for a fairly competitive price of 8.2 Euros (about 12 bucks for a 4lb. loaf) in Paris, overnight shipping by FedEx to a few select global stores (one in Canada and a couple in the States) jacks the price into the stratosphere when the retailers add their profit margin.
Bypassing the middleman, I ordered the 5-loaf special directly from Poilâne. It’s kind of cool: You get an email confirming the entire supply chain timing, from the moment the bread is scheduled to come out of the oven to the moment it’s delivered the next day by FedEx. The bread arrived a few minutes ago and I haven’t yet opened the box.
I’ve been buying Poilâne from Holt Renfrew’s Cafe Holt these past two weeks, but the price is prohibitive. It nevertheless gave me a chance to try the bread in different applications and determine if I like it enough to order directly from France. It’s a very nice bread, quite different from what we get in Montreal, even from the high-end artisanal bakers.
I’ll write more about it tomorrow.