Today I want to share the experience of walking through the Saint Germain neighborhood on a crisp spring-ish day, only to find an odd sign for a sandwich shop called “Cosi.” That’s funny, you think to yourself. Just like the chain back home.
Then you hear opera music wafting over the tousled heads of the students waiting in line, and catch an intoxicating whiff of something baking in a brick oven. So you decide to step in line and see what this Cosi impostor is all about.
And that’s when you see it: a golden rectangle of crispy, slightly salty flat focaccia bread, ready to be stuffed with the sandwich fixings of your choice. The bread! you shout to yourself. It’s the same bread! What is going on here?
You’re busy pondering the legal implications of such blatant copy-catism when your pesto-mozzarella-arugula masterpiece arrives, still warm, and suddenly you don’t care if the French Cosi is guilty of stealing an American idea. Because they’re doing it so much better.
So much better in fact that you’ll only be mildly surprised to learn why: Cosi is actually French. It all started here in Paris. It wasn’t until two Hamilton College grads on a semester abroad fell in love with the place and asked the owner if they could use the name. And the vague concept. And definitely the bread recipe.
I really wish I could share a bite with you. Or at the very least a nice photo. But I ate it all and forgot to take a picture so you’ll just have to come to Paris and taste the real Cosi for yourself.