First someone ate all the pies, now no pizza? Well, at least there were croissants.
In May, when Louie went to the East Cape to go fishing, Madame stayed behind to keep the home fires burning. Chez Louis remained open in the mornings , when you could buy her fresh baked bread but not in the evening for Monsieur’s pizza. That was a long week.
This is how life is supposed to be in Ohope Beach- Tuesdays through Saturdays, the smell of wood smoke wafts down Pohutukawa Avenue. From 8 to noon, bread is baking in Chez Louis’s wood fired oven; then the shop is shuttered for siesta and reopens at 4pm, when you can buy pizzas. Now both Madame and Monsieur have gone away on holiday, the wood shed is closed and the town awaits their return.
In the meantime we dream of pizza.
Smoke! I woke with a start, I wasn’t dreaming, the nightmare was real. We were fresh arrivals in Ohope, still settling into the Granny Flat, on Pohutukawa Avenue. Mr. Bill was at work and I had nodded off whilst reading. My brain felt fogged with jet lag- how Mr. Bill reported to work, after traveling for some thirty odd hours, I never know. I quickly checked the flat, no fire. I dashed up the outside stairs to our landlord’s house, no fire and no one home. No phone either. Besides, I was so rattled, I couldn’t remember the emergency number for the Fire Brigade, anyway. It’s wasn’t 911 you dialed here but something else. Dang! I’d have to raise the alarm the old fashioned way. Faster than Chicken Little could yell, “the sky is falling”, I ran to flag down a passing car. Half way down our steep driveway, my miasma cleared; I remembered that we lived kitty corner across the street, from Chez Louis. We had landed in Paradise.
In the beginning, we ordered our pizza like Americans and ate our delicious mistakes. At 4pm on Tuesdays, Louis posts the Pizza of the Week. Mr. Bill jogs by and reports back to me, what the weekly special is. More often than not, we would choose the pizza of the week. Mr. Bill would call in and say, “I’ll have the special”. Now, they don’t give order numbers, yet every time Mr. Bill has walked into Chez Louis’s, Madame has handed him his pizza order (I think it’s his accent that gives him away). Then with a Merci and an Au Revoir or sometimes a Bonsoir, Mr. Bill would be on his way. Soon it would be Bon Appetit. Invariably, we would have eaten a few slices, before one of us would say,”hey, this isn’t the special. I thought the special this week was potato and ham with camembert. This is tomato, beef, bacon, onions, cheese and herbs. It’s delicious, though. I think I like it better than the special”. We wondered if Louis had misheard Mr. Bill or perhaps had run out of the special and substituted this wonderful pie. Too late to bring it back, we hoped we didn’t have someone else’s dinner. Still, it niggled away until one day I read the take out menu. You guessed it- there’s a pizza called ‘special’.
Ah, Louis, how we love thee. The man from Marseille, makes the best special pizza, in the world.