The first time it happens I’m hovering in front of the glass cabinet at a patisserie in Chamalieres-sur-Loire, deciding between vanilla and chocolate éclairs. I order both. The red-headed woman behind the counter has a lace-edged apron tied around her waist. She narrows her eyes, tongs poised above the perfect pastries at the front of the cabinet closest to me, and asks: “Tu es Belge?”
“Non, je suis néo-zélandais,” I say.
Her smile brightens and her tongs move closer to her, towards the largest, freshest éclairs at the back.