SucreéBarcellos Salon Sucré is open 4 days a week, from Thursday to Sunday. On those days, Eric Muller wakes up at 3 a.m. and works 14 hour days.
When I visit on Saturday, he is scooting around frenetically. Having baked most of the pastries on display earlier that day, he is now in serving a steady flow of customers. Most of whom speak French and appear to be regulars. Muller addresses everyone with Monsieur or Madame and it seems to be part of the treat, for French customers to interact in their own language and non-French to resuscitate forgotten snipets and fragments.Normally, I don’t make people aware that I will be writing the visit up for my blog. In the spirit of preserving my instinctual reactions rather then getting muddled between liking the people versus the restaurant or whatever. But in this case, photography is forbidden without permission so I begin to speak to Muller.
“Let me explain my philosophy” he quickly interjects.
“Life is short and money is not the most important aspect of it. My wife and I decided to open this place. She has her hair salon, I have the shop. 4 days a week, we work hard, close to each other. The rest of the week we are free to spend quality time together. And, December and January we close and go to Brazil (where Katia Barcellos is from) and spend time exploring.”
I’m winded by such a sensible awareness of life, of how to best parcel it up so that you are almost able to eat your cake and have it too. I mean we all – somehow – are aware that life is short. And just as that awareness sets in, life ups the pace, so that it feels like you are stationary and it is hurtling past. But kids, deadlines, mundane things keep you from stepping off to the side for a moment or two and thinking of where you are actually trying to get to.
And here these two, while not being able to stop time, have been able to consciously decide how they want to spend it. Which is kind of fantastic. And inspiring.
All this background goes a way towards explaining why the breathless young woman who comes in asking for an apprenticeship is turned down, unapologetically before she even finishes her explanation.
“I get 10 people a week asking to come work in the kitchen. But I have all I need. I don’t want to get bigger, or open more shops.” It’s uncanny, to encounter such peerless self-awareness. There is no “let’s see” or “perhaps someday”.Oh! And there are croissants, 4 kinds: plain, with chocolate, cheese, salmon or ham. They seem to be the main draw of the place, usually to go with a tall milky cafe latte. I try a rustic wedge of leek and broccoli quiche. Followed by a light cheese tart with softly whipped cream and summer fruit.
This is a small shop on the slow part of Görlitzer Strasse but it’s proprietors and goods are huge personalities.
Barcellos Salon Sucré