Sunday, August 22, 2010

Life is sweet: Käramell

We all know that the French are extremely gifted for making good food and wine. They excel in everything from appetizers to miniardises. It is indeed a fabulous country to live in! Nevertheless, although the French make maybe the finest chocolate in Europe, there is one culinary domain where they still can make significant progress: "Les bonbons".

I dear to say that there is no real culture for sweets in France. Of course, you find delicious specialities like calissons, fondants and caramels au beurre salé. However, if you want to buy some winegums at the movies, some marshmallows at the supermarket or some fruit gums at the bakery, you are often left with boring and chemical-tasting Haribo.

For sweets that taste more natural, that are more delicate - yes, simply better, I strongly recommend the shop Käramell run by Lena, a Swedish sweet tooth. Lena`s shop is cosy and colourful and the variety of sweets is unrivaled in Paris. Most of the produce is imported from Sweden and tastes way better than what you can find elsewhere in town. Lena also sells some nice accessories and products reflecting where she has her roots.

15 rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris

Métro Notre Dame de Lorette (line 12)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Christian Constant`s tasty street

In rue Saint Dominique Christian Constant displays three nice restaurants.

While Le Violon d`Ingrès is the stylish, all-white place, Les Cocottes is the more relaxed one where the dish of the day is often enjoyed at the counter. Both places serve excellent food, and the service is impeccable. At Le Violon d`Ingrès it is wise to book a table in advance. Les Cocottes, however, does not take reservations. I recommend showing up early (12.15 for lunch and 19.15 for dinner) to avoid standing in line. The third one, Café Constant, is a traditional café with more rustic food that I do not know as well as the two others.

Christian Constant is not a modest man calling one of his desserts at Les Cocottes "La fabuleuse tarte au chocolat de Christian Constant". He is honest, though. The chocolate cake is fabulous and very different from any other I have tasted. It is simply the best. It tastes divine and litterarly melts in your mouth. A must for any meal at Les Cocottes...

135-139 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris

Métro Ecole Militaire (line 8)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A charming, old fashioned grocery: Epicerie Lion

Epicerie Lion is the perfect place for buying nice and original gifts that will not end up in a drawer or on a dusty shelf. If you know the place already, I am sure you have noticed their charming food kits. What a great idea for a gift! All the ingredients required for a given recipe are piled up in a small and delicate plastic wrapping. The kit for the rice pudding with cinnamon tea and tatin apples, for instance, contains a layer of rice, another one of sugar, a small bag of tatin apples and the required amount of cinnamon tea. Everything you need (except milk!) to make your succulent dessert, or to offer an original, tasty and playful gift to a friend. The kits come in salt versions as well. Who wouldn’t care for a risotto with chanterelle and almonds..?

On the wooden shelves you find well chosen products in a wide range of categories: spices, olive oils, premium quality fruit juices (try the summery strawberry-apple), mustards, pasta, sauces, chocolates, biscuits, sweets (do not miss the fabulous marshmallow sticks with great, natural flavours like vanilla, strawberry, anise, orange blossom…), herbal tea and so on.

For the ones that like to tender their own garden, Epicerie Lion sells seedcorn for growing old-fashioned carrots, tomatoes and radish. In the green corner of the shop, you can also find bulbs for four-leaved clovers – allowing you to cultivate good luck. For yourself and for your loved ones.

The staff is friendly and happy to offer advice.

7 rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris
Métro: Abbesses (line 12)

Fabulous lunch, no ruin: Relais Louis XIII

Relais Louis XIII is my absolute favourite address for lunch in Paris.

On weekdays, this 2 stars restaurant offers a lunch menu that represents exceptional value for money: For 50 euros you can enjoy an exquisite and generous meal: appetizer, starter, main course, cheese, dessert and mignardises.

As an illustration, I paste the menu suggested on 26 Jan 2010:

Terrine de coquilles Saint-Jacques à la ciboulette /Œuf mollet et émulsion d’asperges vertes /Coquillages juste cuit en coque, persil et jus de Bellota

Pêche de ligne du jour " suivant arrivage"/ Confit de joue et aiguillette de bœuf saignante,pommes de terre dorées au poivre noir /Cuisse de volaille de Bresse façon demi-deuil, légumes oubliés

Sélection de fromages frais et affinés

Chiboust à la vanille et pomme/Chocolat et praliné façon Paris-brest/Soupe de coco-ananas, sorbet à la mangue

Service is discreet, friendly and efficient in this place where time stands still.

8 Rue des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris
Métro Saint-Michel (line 4)