Was in Julhès (54, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010) on Saturday doing the weekly-ish deli shop. ‘Deli’ doesn’t really do it justice though – I’d call it more a purveyor of traditional and France-produced delicacies (also because I’m in PR).
Said weekly shop usually consists of cheese, some form of cured ham or saucisson, and yoghurts produced by an independent French dairy. The latter have that inimitable sour taste you rarely get with industrial stuff (even though I also buy various Danone products by the vat).
There’s a brilliant selection of wines too, and a sommelier on hand to advise (although he’s your stereotypical mardy Frenchman who can bring down even the most enthusiastic Saturday morning shopper).
Despite the sommelier the place has that unique power whereby you instantly want to remortgage your house so you can buy everything in there. Thankfully I have resisted so far.
Saw these at the local fish place today (O de Mer, 50 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière in the 10th district). Had never heard of them and thought they looked very like small seabream. It turns out they’re from the same family so I’ll go back and get some next time as I’d already ordered a sea trout today. I’ve looked online and found a couple of nice recipes with tomato that I’ll try out when I do.
Amazing boulangerie – Du Pain et des Idees (Bread and Ideas, although sounds a bit rubbish in English).
It’s at 34 rue Yves Toudic in the 10th district and has won a load of prizes including Best Baker in Paris (no mean feat) and Best Galette des Rois in 2014. Great pain au chocolat too.
The Boucherie Roger Billebault on rue Cadet in the 9th district is what you could call a traditional butchers.
According to the sign they’ve been around since 1899 and you get the impression they probably sold exactly the same range of meats and game at the time as they do now.
We’re lucky to have them near us because the place has a really good reputation, although this combined with the fact that they’re on Rue Cadet (where pretty much all the shops are expensive) means that it’s not the place to go if you’re looking for a bargain.
The average age of the four guys who are front of house is about 45-50, they’re all highly competent and capable of providing cooking tips for everything they sell you. However none is particularly friendly. It has never stopped me from going but always intrigues me: is it because it’s a difficult trade and requires a lot of energy so they’re always knackered, or is it that they know they don’t need to make an effort because the customers will always keep coming as they clearly have done since 1899.
I hope they always do, because it’s a great place, however the two new places in the same street selling good quality meat (Stevenot and Maison Fournier, a traditional traiteur which now has a butchers section) will possibly make them think a bit.
Selection of cooked meats, sausages and beef cuts, all of which are good quality here
Literally the only thing in the place that I will never buy – ‘pied de porc’ (pig’s trotter). It’s still a total mystery to me why people like this.
Easter. An excuse to eat unadulterated amounts of chocolate in all forms: hens, fish, church bells and of course eggs. The hen and the 1901 egg in the picture come from Aurore Capucine, 3 rue de Rochechouart, Paris 9, by far my favourite cake shop, definitely in the 9th and probably in Paris. The egg is supposed to be a replica of a Fabergé egg (!) and to put inside you get the choice between chocolate fish and mini eggs filled with ganache, all made by the pâtissière of course. I went for the mini eggs which tasted great, and much better than the fish.
Aurore Capucine in itself is worth going to even if you don’t buy anything because it’s beautifully decorated and looks like a sweet shop from a Dickens novel.
I could have bought a lot more than I did in the end because everything looks so lovely, but decided to be sensible this time, mainly because it gives me an excuse to go back, Easter or not.
One of the cool things about living in a city is having access to world cuisine. So a couple of weeks ago I ventured to K-Mart, a Japanese and Korean supermarket in rue Saint Anne, one of Paris’ more central Asian quarters (K-Mart, 8 rue Saint Anne, Paris 1).
The idea came about after a weekend at a friend’s place where one of the (Japanese) invitees had prepared some traditional dishes that everyone raved about. So I set out to reproduce exactly the same culinary experience with a little help from K-Mart.
I have to say it’s not every day that you go to the supermarket with bean thread noodles and sweet & sour squid on your list. But this particular shopping experience definitely didn’t disappoint. Not only was K-Mart rammed with people – mostly Japanese and Korean, which is always a good sign – it was also filled wall to wall with foodstuffs that I didn’t recognise and also struggled to fathom due to a distinct absence of English or French on the packaging.
I have no idea what they are either
Despite this my basket ended up with far more in it than I’d set out to get, partly due to a sudden desire to buy lots of sweets and aperitif snacks based solely on the cool J-/ K-pop packaging. I also got 2 containers of sweet & sour spicy squid, 2 packs dim sum (or whatever the Japanese ones are called), 1 pack bean thread noodles and some shredded pork.
All I can say is that the result was interesting. The squid was amazing, although you definitely need an Asahi beer to put the fire out in your mouth. The shredded pork was good once fried up although it will take me a while to get used to the bean thread noodles. The sweets and aperitif snacks however were bizarre, with the sugar content having curiously been switched round so that eating the sweets was like chewing on Blu-Tack and the bar snacks were akin to icing-covered Marmite twiglets. Not good.
Anyway if you live in Paris it’s worth taking a trip down to K-Mart just to experience a slice of another culture – my only advice would be to check out some recipes online beforehand and go down there with a clearish list of ingredients that the friendly staff will help you locate. Not that I didn’t enjoy leaving the place with 2 pounds of Hello Kitty chews and some random meat products, but I think I’ll also try and be a bit more organised next time.