Thursday, June 17, 2010

From a Snob to Foodies – with Love

A couple of weeks ago one of my friends, sipping wine at three o’clock in the morning, made a joke that we were snobs because we live in the sixth arrondissement in Paris. I am not going to explain why do we live here, except for the fact that, by chance, we found this nice (although tiny) apartment for a price lower to those offered in theoretically less snobbish and less expensive Parisian neighbourhoods. But as a theoretical snob I prepared for you a short guide of some foodie places (but not restaurants) that I recommend to visit in our snobbish neighbourhood.

1. For foodies crazy about organic food,

A posh organic food market at Boulevard Raspail. This market is famous especially amongst American and Japanese tourists. If you are there around noon, it is very probable that in the crowd you will hear people speaking English and Japanese rather than French. The vendors do not protest about having pictures taken as they are used to foreigners and their cameras. Be prepared to see some famous actors and bobos, and so on. There is a wide range of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, milk products, cheeses, fish, vegetarian and vegan dishes; meat, dried fruits, beauty products, wines, olive oils and so on. Some genuine Parisians do not advise to do your shopping there, as allegedly certain vendors sell identical products on the regular food market taking place exactly at the same place on Tuesdays and Fridays, but for less money. I do not believe it is entirely true though. Be aware of pickpockets. Before you start your shopping, I advise you to buy and taste some “Potato Pancakes with Gruyere” sold by two guys who have their stall close to Rue du Cherche-Midi. Eating a fat and warm potato pancake before you start shopping will somehow cut your appetite and will prevent you from buying too many unnecessary, though appealing products (one disadvantage: the long line and the guys are absolutely slow).

2. For meat lovers,

A charming place to visit is an artisan butcher shop, or rather a tiny elegant boutique in retro style of Mr Jean-Pierre Bajon located at 29 rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, between rue de Vaugirard and rue du Cherche-Midi. This nice guy, who has a smile of a Hollywood star, sells top quality meat, poultry, hams, sausages and produits traiteurs. “Everything’s natural here” he told me once.  Not only they will slice your meat like a masterpiece, but will also indicate its perfect cooking time and temperature. In addition, one can place special orders. Do not be surprised if you bump into some ex Prime Minister there doing his shopping. In plus, Bajon has a sentiment for Polish people, as two of his interns were from Poland. If you are lucky, you can try his products during “degustations” organized outside his shop. Be cautious when taking pictures, as sometimes Mr Bajon gets a bit tired of his fame and complains about cameras... More about Mr Bajon in one of my coming posts.

If you like old fashioned meaty preparations, you should visit Gilles Verot, the famous traditional charcuterie located at the beginning of rue de Notre-Dame-des-Champs. His sales staff will help you to discover the classics of traditional French charcuterie. I already was mentioning this guy here. Famous for his traditional “Fromage de Tête” for a certain time now, Verot’s charcuterie products can also be found in New York City, in the trendy Bar Boulud on Broadway. Try his rillettes and terrines, too.

3. For amateurs of culinary news, trends and gadgets,
La Grande Epicerie de Paris, 24, rue de Sèvres. It is a large grocery store and it is said to be one of the best in Paris. It will provide you with a great collection of expensive and fancy products. If you want to buy some culinary eatable gadgets for your friends, like funny cookies, fancy fusion soups in jars and cartoons, chocolates, fancy sauces, coffee, tea, spices and foie gras, it is a perfect place to spend 200 € and to leave the store with just a small shopping bag (by the way, Clotilde, the author of “Chocolate and Zucchini” lately wrote that “Parisian grocery stores may hide themselves in comparison to what one can find in Japanese ones”).
I like this shop for its outstanding wine selection at reasonable prices, for example, but on the other hand it becomes more and more mysterious to me why, when I search for a particular item, I do not find it there. That was the case with Italian flour for Italian pasta, Italian cotecchino sausage and graham crackers. They have, however, a great “Traiteur” department, which will provide you with prepared food items from all parts of the World. The Italian corner is good (but why don’t they have this pasta flour - was I mentioning this already?). I never buy fish there (as it is much more money than on the food market), meat (Mr. Bajon is better and besides, their meat department sales persons are masters in ignoring clients); cheese (our “fromager” at the food market is better and cheaper). Be aware that taking pictures is not allowed there.
Further, keep in mind that you actually will get more for your money when shopping on Tuesday or Friday mornings on the market boulevard Raspail. And the quality there is unbeatable.

4. For fans of pastries,

Gérard Mulot pastry shop at the corner of rue de Seine and rue Lobineau (close to boulevard Saint-Germain). This well known, although not glamorous, shop is always open on Sundays. We go there to buy their excellent “pain au levain”, which reminds me of Polish breads. Usually I am so hungry that I also take a “Sandwich Club”, which I eat on my way back home. Gerard Mulot does very good macarons but the range of products is much wider: bread and viennoiseries, savoury items like quiches and tarts, salads, sandwiches, chocolate, ice cream and absolutely fabulous cakes.  Mulot is not as a media-friendly person as Pierre Hermé and his shop is more discreet than for example “La Pâtisserie des Rêves”, which is a new pastry / concept store.

Pierre Hermé at 72, rue Bonaparte: what can I say. Mr Hermé is one of the most famous pastry chefs in France. Everybody should love him and his products. I do not have such a taste for ultra sophisticated confections and I tend to prefer more simple and hearty classical pastries. Besides, although his macarons are quite excellent, I have found my favourite, macaron au caramel et beurre salé, somewhere else…But once in Paris, visiting one of his shops is a must.

La Pâtisserie des Rêves: at 93, rue du Bac (in the 7th arrondissement, actually). This is a new concept of pastry shop opened by the very famous Pastry Chef Philippe Conticini. The place was already a legend before its opening in September 2009 as numerous articles in the Press and on the web prepared Parisian foodies to rush there. Old fashioned, or rather, classical cakes have endured a huge lifting (or plastic surgery?).They are displayed under glass cloches. Whoever wishes to follow trends in pastries should visit this place and try one of their confections.

Ladurrée at 21, rue Bonaparte. I believe I do not have to introduce them. Famous for their macarons, which I like a lot, the rest of the products, in my opinion, do not always offer the same quality. In particular, their millefeuilles look nice but do not taste as deliciously as they appear.

For fans of bread,

Gérard Mulot mentioned above. Try his “pain au levain”, which reminds Polish breads.

Pain Poilâne at 8, rue du Cherche-Midi. Probably the most famous Parisian sourdough bread; you can buy a whole loaf or just a few slices. Try their delicious small rustic apple tarts and croissants. You can “steal” one or two small “sables” (cookies) which are always waiting for you by the cash desk. Following the sudden death of Lionel Poilâne, his daughter, Apolonia, has been running the business. Right next door, the company opened a small Tartine & Wine bar, which is packed like sardine cans during lunch time (despite the fact that their chairs are not comfortable).

Eric Kayser at 18, rue du Bac (at the corner of rue de Verneuil). Baker and Pastry Chef, Eric Kayser is internationally known and operates several shops abroad (Japan, Russia, Greece, Ukraine and so on). His buckwheat bread and baguettes are very good.

Small boulangerie at the corner of rue de Mézières and rue de Rennes: This is my favourite daily bakery shop. Great baguette tradition and excellent pain brioché to accompany foie gras. “They have gold in their hands”, as my husband uses to say. Always a line.

Bread & Roses, a bakery (selling organic breads), lunch restaurant (tarts, quiches and salads) and small grocery store close to the Luxembourg Garden, at 7, rue de Fleurus.


Szalony Kucharz said...

Ou la la! So you are a snob after all. This is most fortunate, as I am a snob myself. And a nose-picker to boot. ;o)

One of these days, I'll have to visit all those Parisian pâtisseries et boulangeries and see what all that buzz is about. They're probably just shops selling cakes and breads, but with Japanese tourists inside.

But for now, it's lights out for me...

PS. I almost forgot. I made a demi-glace today, from my first ever homemade fond brun. Came out just right, if only a bit too salty, as I disregarded a good chef's advice to season all soups, sauces and reduction AFTER they've obtained their required consistency. Nevermind though, it will go exeptionally well with beef roast and steamed yeasted buns. I dare you to make these (the buns, I mean, a.k.a "pyzy" or "kluchy na łachu"), so you can get a bit of the taste of Greater Poland's cuisine.

citronetvanille said...

Now I am homesick! I think it's time I come home for a vacation! Hope you have a great time in Krakow! Nothing wrong with being a snob! I didn't know the 6th was considered to be snobby more so the 8th and 16th, oh well we are always a snob for someone anyway!

tasteofbeirut said...


Thanks for the recommendations; my friend Anne-Marie, now in Beirut, introduced me to Gérard Mulot; and of course Hermé is famous and we have a Kayser shop in Beirut now. I will keep your list in mind next time I am in Paris.

Inspired2cook said...

Oh, how I wish I could hop a plane right now and try out each of the shops you suggested. What a great travel tip!!! I especially like the butcher & the hunk of beef!
p.s. I just signed up for your email subscription. :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

I loved touring the market with a fellow foodie. It was almost as good as being there. Almost! Your pictures are wonderful and I am bit jealous that you have so much local color close at hand. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Tanantha@ I Just Love My Apron said...

If I have all those places around me, yeah I want to be a snob too! Although, I know nothing about Paris and have no ideas where those places are located, I'm taking note for the up coming trip to Paris!

Okay I admit I'm jealous you have all those wonderful places close by. Love photos as always. The bakery shop where people sit outside makes me want to travel to Europe so bad!

Reeni said...

I loved the insider view/personal tour of your neighborhood! I hope some day to visit some of these places like the infamous Ladurree. Hope all is well with you and your travels!

Anonymous said...

These are terrific recommendations, bookmarking for our upcoming Paris visit.


I'm packing my bags!!! The market looks wonderful!

Karolina said...

Magda, you have done an incredibly good job. :) Well done and thank you. No doubt if I will go to see Paris I am hoping to eat a lunch with you in one of these lovely places. I think I like the butcher best and I can wait to read an interview. :)

Good night!

lisa is cooking said...

I'd love to visit every place you've mentioned! One of these days . . .

Bea said...

Swietny post Magdaleno! Adresy z pewnoscia przydadza sie, gdy znow kiedys zawitam w Paryzu. Zazdroszcze Ci go, wiesz? ;)

Pozdrawiam serdecznie!

Unknown said...

What a great blog, I love your photos of one of my favorite cities, have a safe trip and I look forward to following you.

my little expat kitchen said...

Thanks for this terrific guide to your neighborhoods restaurants Magdalena! If I'm ever in the sixth arrondissement in Paris I'll know where to eat.

SallyBR said...

Great! Just got your email notification, so all is working now!

nice article!

lo said...

Szósta dzielnica szczęściaro jest też moją ulubioną. Ten post potraktuję jko osobisty przewodnik z rekomendacją autorki. Cieszy mnie też to, że tyle z tych miejsc o których piszesz, znam.

Emily Malloy said...

Ridiculously amazing. The hubby and I are planning a Parisian get-a-way either next summer, or in 2012 (whatever our schedules will permit), because of this, I perhaps found a neighborhood we'll want to stay in :-)

Pille said...

We went to Bread&Roses in May 2006 - and the owner actually left a comment on my blog post about it :)

Magdalena said...

Hello guys! Thanks for all your comments and I hope that my addresses will be helpful one day. I hope all of you will have a great weekend! I will reply in more details tomorrow!

Magdalena said...

In Polish:

Lo, dzieki za docenienie I ciesze sie, ze znasz niektore miejsca o ktorych pisze. Ciekawa jestem Twojej opinii, bo niekoniecznie musimy sie zgadzac.

Beo, dzieki ze tu do mnie znowu wpadlas….wiele osob zazdrosci mi Paryza, ale z drugiej strony w tym miescie nie zyje sie latwo. Za duzy jest dla mnie, zbyt halasliwy, brudny i tak dalej... z checia przenioslabym sie do mniejszego miasta; no ale przynajmniej pod wzgledem kulinarnym mamy tutaj sporo atrakcji.

Magdalena said...

In English:

Kucharz: As regards your visit in Paris, maybe you will be surprised, maybe amazed or maybe just disappointed. Except for those places that I mentioned, you should visit some Japanese pastry shops. They do some pastries which are the mixture of French traditions with a strong Japanese touch. In the Sixth, there is one, at Rue de Vaugirard, close to the Luxembourg Garden. My husband is not a found of that type of pastries; on the contrary, I like their macaroons with Wasabi, for example. Congrats for your demi-glace; by the way, as far as I remember you should not add salt at all into the veal stock…. you only salt the sauce…I will cook “pyzy” one day, that’s for sure; they’re on my waiting list. Little by little, I will be presenting some dishes from other regions of Poland.

Citronetvanille: yes, definitely you should visit your country; if I do not visit Poland quite often, I feel really sick (my husband knows sth about that). As regards the “snobbism” of the Sixth, in my opinion it is not more snobbish than other “arrondisement” close to the center….

Tasteofbeirut: I did not know that you have Kayser. What do you think about his products?

Mary, Inspired2cook, thanks and I hope you will have an occasion to visit some of those places.

Tanatha, come to Paris, come – usually people love it for endless possibilities of foodie adventures…Bread and Roses is a nice place for a lunch, despite that the service is not very polite.

Cinnamon-Girl: well, as regards Laduree, people love their macaroons (and me too). Other pastries not always are extraordinary…rather ordinary, but nice-looking….in my opinion, of course.

Lisa, 5starfoodie, Spicyperspective, My little expat kitchen and Sally: thanks for reading the post, I hope you had a bit of fun.

Karolina, thanks my dear. I expect that you will present more and more foodie places from Yorkshire. Except for London, I have never visited other regions of the GB. You should visit Paris one day. I am sure you would love it – at least as regards the food.

Pacheco Patty, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your warm comment.

Emily, there are other incredible neighborhoods: close to Bastille, or to Monmartre, for example. I wish you a great trip and a lot of adventures in Paris.

Pille, I will check right away what was the comment of the owner; the guy is nice, however the service, not always.

Bea said...

Tak, maszracje Magdaleno, to moze nie jest zbyt przyjazne miasto do 'codziennego' zycia... Ale i tak Ci troche zazdroszcze ;))

I wybacz, ze wpadam tu tak nieregularnie, ale ostatnio z niczym nie wyrabiam... :/

Dobrej nocy! I udanego tygodnia zycze :)

Magdalena said...

Beo, ja tez nie wyrabiam i odkad jestem w Krakowie, nie mam czasu na wizyty na moich wszystkich ulubionych blogach, a tym bardziej na zostawianie komentarzy...niestety !

Lardon My French said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I recently moved from the States to Paris, and am living in the 6eme(temporarily) also. I can't wait to check out all these places!

Magdalena said...

I am sorry for answering only tonight. I hope that you accommodated well in Paris and found your foodie places.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...