Paris Grocery News 8/26 Tuesday, Aug 31 2010 

If you’re in the downtown area this weekend, particularly near the Convention Center, you may notice that the conventioneers are just a little bit different than usual. Not to cast aspersions on the techie, giftie, and anime crowds, but these folks are just a bit more steathily chic, a tad more rumpledly intriguing. For they are Cheese Nerds. Yes, the American Cheese Society is hosting its annual Cheese-A-Topia here in our own illustrious Gotham-Lite. Whether or not you’re joining in the festivities, we hope you’ll come see us at Paris Grocery for all your (French) cheese needs.

*Update: Since press time, the list of winners has been announced. We often carry products from multiple winners Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery and Rouge et Noir!

Cheese @ PG

This week we’ve decided to share with you our staff favorites. It was quite illuminating to force all my compatriots from next door at the Spanish Table to come down to Paris Grocery and reassess their favorite French cheeses. While we’re all cheese lovers, I don’t know if we could all be said to be cheese nerds; most often, the cheeses selected as new favorites were tried-and-true “yum factor” cheeses that have been made the same way for ages and remain perfectly delicious, thank you very much. I can promise you that selecting a staff favorite- or selecting several for a cheese plate, for that matter- will not disappoint.

Roll call, staff favorites:

Steve, aka El Jefe: Abbaye Ste-Mère

For the boss, only a true “dude” cheese will do- wash this one down with a Belgian ale. This traditional monastery cheese from Normandy has a creamy yet firm texture. Made with raw milk and washed in brine, it has a fruity, mild, and slightly sweet flavor.

$18.99/lb

$4.75/quarter lb

Sharon, aka the Wine Nerd: Tomme Corse de Chèvre

Sharon has been in love with this cheese since we opened! This rustic tomme from Corsica shows off the flavor of the rough mountain diet of the goats. It has a semi-smooth, textured paste, a fiercely herbaceous flavor, and a wonderful chèvre tang on the finish.

$31.99/lb

$7.99/quarter lb

Isaac, aka El Jefeito: Le Berger Basque

Isaac is so loyal, he couldn’t stray too far from the Spanish border to select his favorite. This rustic Pyrenees cheese is made from raw sheep’s milk in the Basque region. Nutty, earthy, and herbaceous with a wonderfully tangy finish. Pairs perfectly with Pinot Noir.

$30.99/lb

$7.75/quarter lb

George, aka Jorge: Scharfe Maxx

A true cheese nerd, George loves the aromatic cheeses that announce themselves from a few feet away. This is a sweet, barnyardy, and immensely tangy cheese from Switzerland. Aged for 6 months, this thermalized cow’s milk cheese is washed with brine and herbs, giving it a powerful and sharp (scharfe) flavor and a dense, creamy texture. When you need to up the ante on your ham and cheese, give this one a try.

$26.99/lb

$6.75/quarter lb

Priscilla, aka the Thrilla Killa: Bucherondin

Priscilla is a known snacker, and this one flakes every time you cut it, leaving her no choice but to sample it yet again. This tangy and slightly savory cheese from the Loire Valley is like two cheeses in one: next to the rind it’s buttery and smooth, while in the center it’s light and creamy. Amazing with Loire whites and delicious as is or melted.

$15.99/lb

$3.99/quarter lb

Jeff, aka Muscles: Delice de Bourgogne

Jeff may prefer the silence and solitude of the warehouse, but he’s actually a total softie. This delicious triple cream cow’s milk cheese has a lively, piquant flavor that nicely balances the buttery mouthfeel. Try this cheese at the end of the meal with fruit for a truly decadent dessert.

$16.99/lb

$4.25/quarter lb

Abigail, aka the Scholar: Tomme de Hyelzas

This is one you have to think about, with beautifully complex flavors: which describes our recently- left-for-grad-school friend perfectly. This is a stunning raw sheep’s milk cheese from a cooperative that works with eleven producers and shepherds. The rich milk offers flavors of the Causses plateaus: wild thyme,  blue grass, juniper, and lavender. A dense, smooth texture and a super clean finish: absolute heaven!

$29.99/lb

$7.49/quarter lb

Rachel, aka Barbra : Bleu des Basques

I swear, this cheese really sings with a dollop of citrus marmalade- a blue to eat all year. It’s one of our most requested blue cheeses. This sheep’s milk cheese comes from a cooperative in the Pyrenees, has fine indigo veining, and a clean brebis taste. Creamy & crumbly with a faint nutty sweetness. Extremely well-balanced & less salty than most blues.

$26.99/lb

$6.75/quarter lb

Wine @ PG

Louis Picamelot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut ($12.99)

A dreamy sparkling wine from Burgundy, made of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Bourgogne Aligoté. It is produced in the tradition method, like a Champagne. Bottle-aged for nine months with the lees, the wine has toasty, nut-laden aromas and a creamy mousse. Fresh apple on the palate and a pleasing length. It is ideal as an aperitif, complementing shellfish, cheese plates, nuts, and fruits.

2008 Dom. Raymond Dupont-Fahn “Chaumes des Perrières” Bourgogne Blanc ($32.00)

This Chardonnay is a steal if we’ve ever seen one! The incredibly talented winemaker uses grapes from 40-year old vines in the parcel of land adjoining his Mersault vineyard. The soil in the vineyard was deemed just a hair too shallow to be classified “Mersault”; had the decision gone the other way, this bottle would easily be twice the price. Barrel-fermented, it has a lovely weight, an opulent mouthfeel that is tempered by an elegant chalkiness. Peach, apricot, and spice on the finish.

2009 Château de Ségriès Côtes-du-Rhône ($13.99)

This bistro-style Côtes-du-Rhône is irresistible! Half Grenache and blended with Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault, it’s a young, fruit-forward red with peppery notes and a rich finish. Father and daughter work together in the vineyard and in the cellar to make this food-friendly wine.

2007 Domaine de Font-Sane Gigondas ($22.99)

This luscious Gigondas has been racking up high scores in all the wine publications. The Grenache-based blend comes from 50 year-old vines, and is aged in large oak tanks before bottling. A limited number of cases were imported, and we were able to get  a few bottles at this amazing price!

” Very ripe and fleshy, featuring lush blueberry, fig and boysenberry fruit layered with dark cocoa and black tea flavors, with a lingering pastis note. Long and rounded, with nicely buried grip holding the finish together. Drink now through 2015. 174 cases imported.” 92 points Wine Spectator.

Craves @ PG

Laguiole Cheese Knife Set

A real cheese nerd wouldn’t just hack away at their delicacies with any old knife. Those in the know use Laguiole, immensely attractive knives crafted from high grade stainless steel. We have two 3-piece cheese knife sets: the one pictured ($30.00), as well as a 100 percent biodegradable set from the Natura line ($55.00).

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins

George, our resident Cheese Nerd at The Spanish Table, has taken this mildly weighty tome along with him everywhere in the world. He wielded it as a defensive weapon on troublesome New York City subway rides. He slept on it as a pillow on early morning Seattle bus rides. And he used it as a wedge to stop the ancient cannonball from crushing him while searching for a historically relevant cheese. He always gets out alive when he’s got this classic cheese nerd bible.

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Paris Grocery News 8/20 Saturday, Aug 21 2010 

There goes Tin Tin, unearthing the mysteries behind Burgundy and Bordeaux. (But we don't recommend sharing your wine with your pooch.)

Wine @ PG

Chateau de Campuget Costières de Nîmes Blanc ($9.99)

Nîmes is one of the most charming towns in France I’ve ever seen, and their wines fit the setting. This delightful white is a blend of Viognier, Roussane, Marsanne, and White Grenache. Light and direct, balanced and limey. Delicious citrus peel, green apple and floral notes. Clean, breezy finish.

François Chidaine Vouvray ($24.99)

A lovely Chenin Blanc from the maker of our favorite Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. François Chidaine again shows his craftsmanship with this aromatic wine that holds your attention from the rounded start to the bright, mouthwatering finish.

“Greenish yellow. The stoniest of these 2008s, displaying scents of Meyer lemon, orange, melon and nectarine, all underscored by zesty minerality. Very pure and focused in the mouth, offering juicy pit fruit flavors, a hint of honeydew and refreshing citrus zest notes. Becomes richer with air and finishes with excellent precision and juicy persistence.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer

Bergerie de l’Hortus Coteaux du Languedoc Rosé ($17.99)

A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, this wine is perfect for lovers of Rhône rosés! Full bodied, defined, with ripe red fruit and a touch of pepper. The minerality really shines through at the finish. Refreshing and beautifully balanced, its weight makes it a great match for heartier fare, such as cured meat and grilled seafood.

Domaine d’Eole Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé ($14.99)

This wine comes from a family-run vineyard in Provence. The vines on their 40ha are raised organically, and the grapes are hand-harvested. This rosé is slightly creamy, with plush cherry and berry flavors. The acid is balanced though, with a zippy vein running through the ripe fruit. Come get it while the sun still shines!

Domaine de Piaugier Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Sablet Rouge ($14.99)

Sablet sits just down the road from Gigondas in the Rhône Valley, and is equally blessed with diverse and interesting soils. Jean-Marc Autran is the fourth-generation winemaker for this family-owned estate, and the family’s passion and experience shows in the quality of their wines. The Sablet Rouge is mostly Grenache, with about 30% Syrah. It is superbly balanced, with great texture. The sweet dark fruit is very aromatic, and the fruit gives way to a brooding mid-palate. The finish is persistent, but not heavy. Overall, a delicious wine and an amazing value.

Cheese @ PG

We’ve brought in some new cheeses this week, and none of them are French. Mais pourquoi? you ask, Gallically indignant. Parce que they are just that good. The first two are from Belgium, France’s friendly neighbor to the north. The last is from Italy, and we’re sure you won’t have an easy time finding it anywhere else. These are special cheeses, and we’re excited to bring them to you. Tasting is believing, and we’re generous with samples: we hope to see you in the shop soon!

A blue-veined cheese for blue-blooded cheese lovers.

Grevenbroecker

How the cheesemaker produces the attractive paste of this Belgian blue remains his secret, but it’s most likely formed by slowly layering the curds among sprinkles of penicillium, without ever piercing the cheese. Fudgy, buttery, and appealingly mellow.

$32.99/lb

$8.25/quarter lb

Le Wavreumont

A newly commissioned cheese for the Belgian city of Liège, made with raw organic cow’s milk from the area farms. Inspired by the long tradition of monastery cheeses, this has a  creamy, palate-coating texture and a complex, eggy flavor. Deliciously snackable!

$25.99/lb

$6.49/quarter lb

Speziato Al Tartufo

A semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Italy that we couldn’t resist. Black truffles dot the interior, and the aromatic rind is dusted with black truffle oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s creamy and delicately woodsy, and you won’t find it anywhere else.

$27.99/lb

$6.99/quarter lb

Food @ PG

Whether or not the sun shines, we’re still thinking in terms of the easy-does-it, less-is-more summer cooking routines. This week we brought in some new items, and also got some of our customer favorites back in stock, that fulfill the promise of savory flavors and quality meals without taking too much effort.

Rillettes du Périgord from Fabrique Delices isa delicious spread made from duck meat that’s been simmered in spices, juices, and fat, so the meat can soak up as much flavor as possible. Serve with cornichons,  mustard, and
crackers. We like the convenient 7-ounce containers, so that you get just enough to share or save what’s left for yourself.

Escargots In-Shell with Garlic Butter from White Toque is the easiest fancy frozen food we’ve ever seen. Authentic wild Helix snails are prepped and in shells with a divine garlic butter with parsley and red pepper. Just pop the tray in the oven and in 10 minutes, you’re a gourmand.

Mediterranean Fillo Quiches, also from White Toque, make a great appetizer with their summery flavors. Each package comes with 4 each of the following flavors: Artichoke and Sundried Tomatoes; Pepper, Olives, and Feta; and Spinach and Cheese. If you want to make your own fillings, we also carry White Toque’sMediterranean Fillo Quiches, which includes 15 fully baked mini shells, in which you can make your own snacks or desserts.

Cucina Fresca is a local company that makes all natural, small-batch fresh pastas. This week we brought in two of their awesome flavors: Four Cheese Tortellini and Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli. Grab a can of San Marzano tomatoes or a Shepherds Chevre goat cheese log for an easy sauce and you’re set for a late summer meal.

Craves @ PG

Pink Peppercorns! Packed out in 8-ounce containers.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

One Pot French by Jean-Pierre Chalet

A collection of classic recipes with great coverage of the basics. With this cookbook, it is easy to master authentic French recipes.

Paris Grocery News 8/5 Friday, Aug 6 2010 

Don't let this happen to you. We've got all your mustard needs covered.

News @ PG
A nice “spread” about the shop in Seattle Met
We’re thrilled to be included in Seattle Met’s “Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle” issue. They took a cool shot of some of our mustards, which is fitting because this Saturday, August 7, is National Mustard Day (I know, you already had it marked on your calendars). Here’s a quick list of the many, many flavors of mustard we have available:
Dijon
Whole Grain
Green Peppercorn
Walnut
Honey & Balsamic
Basil
Tarragon
Provence Herbs
Blackcurrant
Grape Must
Truffle
Fig
Cognac
“Pompiers” aka Hot Pepper

We’re still on the hunt for pastis mustard. But this ought to keep your charcuterie plates and sandwiches busy for awhile!

Wine @ PG

Last week we talked about the wines everybody hypes, wines with caché. It only seemed fair that this week we let the spotlight turn to the best wines you’ve never heard of. Since it seems that everybody is having a birthday this month, this is a great way to give a gift that stands out from all the other presents. Not that gift giving is a competition (ok, sometimes a little bit). No, but seriously, who doesn’t love the thrill of surprise? Here’s your chance to give someone the wine they never knew they always wanted.

2008 Domaine Castera Jurançon Sec ($16.99)
This dry and lively white from Southwestern France is made from two native Basque varieties- Gros Manseng (95%) and Petit Manseng (5%)- and aged on the lees. This grape has a storied past in France: it is rumored that the lips of King Henry the IV were rubbed with Jurançon, and Colette claimed, ” I was a girl when I met this prince; aroused, imperious, treacherous, as all great seducers are.” We certainly have been seduced by its aromatic, refreshing qualities and lovely body. Bright and tangy, with green apple, tropical fruit and limestone notes; try with scallops in a light cream sauce!

2009 Domaine Schoffit Alsace Veilles Vignes Chasselas ($21.99)
Chasselas is the grape of 100 names. The obscure Swiss varietal is grown in only a handful of countries, and each country has its own name (or names) for it. In Alsace, it is often blended with the better known Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Blanc. But under Schoffit’s guidance and his 80-year old vines, this white grape shines on its own. Racy, but with soft floral and honeyed notes; incredibly bright and refreshing despite the concentrated flavors and slight richness on the palate. We oohed and aahed as we tasted it and immediately placed an order.

2007 Tissot “Singulier” Arbois Trousseau ($34.99)
Nestled between Burgundy and Switzerland lies the Jura, France’s most exciting wine region. To say that it’s exciting because it is up-and-coming would be inaccurate. It is one of the oldest regions of wine-making, and there’s no sign of traditions being abandoned. The wines produced here, from vaguely sherry-like vin jaune to light bodied reds, are made from grapes unheard of. They remain some of the world’s most distinctive wines literally unlike any other in the world. They are described as “geeky” and “unique”. But we love them because they are incredible food wines. Being situated along the Jura mountains, the climate is cool, much like in Alsace, even though the soil is much like Burgundy’s. The elevation and climate is excellent for preserving the grapes’s natural acidity, and the resulting wines are agile, savory, with an impeccable array of flavors. We brought in a 100% Trousseau, from Arbois, one of the sub-apellations in the region which produces mostly reds and rosés. The wine is quite light-colored, but the low yields ensured a concentrated, complex bouquet of aromas. Earthy forest notes, red fruit, and blueberries with pepper notes. Amazing with steak and sautéed mushrooms.

For more information about this wine region, click here or here for articles.

2005 Chateau Montus Madiran ($37.99)
Madiran is a tiny appellation in Southwest France, where the deeply colored, tannic grape Tannat is grown. It yields strident wines that are perfect with grilled and gamey meats. The Chateau Montus is one of the best wine from Madiran. The blend of Tannat (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) is made by Alain Brumont. It is a lusty wine, its inky color suggesting the richness on the palate and the nose. Aromas of toasty blackberries, leather, and oak make a complex and deep bouquet. The wine is firm, with well-integrated flavors of blackberry, raspberry, smoke, and clove. The finish is superb, lengthy and flavorful. It is powerful without being harsh or unduly tannic. This wine will cellar for several more years. Lovers of Bandol and Cabernet Sauvignon should definitely try it!

Meat @ PG
Not even a little bit “boar”ing.
In the oak forests (“la dehesa”) of Western Spain, Iberian pigs roam and sleep and feast on acorns. The black-hoofed descendants of an indigenous breed of wild boar, these pigs are specially cared for and catered to before their sacrifice (as the Spaniards have it): they are destined to become the superlative Ibérico de Bellota.

Yeah, they pretty much have better lives than we do.

This has only been available in the States for a number of years, and it’s definitely rare and pricey- but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring it to you. This richly marbled pork loin is infused with the flavor of acorns, their favorite food, and it has an inimitable rich and nutty flavor and a tender texture to die for. This is jamón heaven.
Lomo Ibérico de Bellota
Sliced to order. $91.99/lb – $22.99/quarter lb

Craves @ PG

Ficoco

Ficoco. Say it out loud- it’s fun. It’s also delicious- a fat-free spread from Croatia made with figs, pure cane sugar, and cocoa. From the famous Dalmatia brand of fig jams. Ficoco.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Down and Out in Paris and London

I was assigned to read this book while a student in Paris, and it gave me something to relate to (I also know how to nurse the same cup of café for hours without attracting ire) but also some much needed perspective. It’s a bleakly humorous and soulful portrait of poverty, told through the adventures of a young writer who has found himself truly “down and out.” A somewhat lesser-known gem from Orwell.

Taking Dijon to the next level. Sunday, Aug 1 2010 

Sometimes I think Florence Fabricant is psychically connected to the shelves at Paris Grocery. We’ll find a product that we think nobody’s ever hear of, and lo and behold, she reviews it. She’s on top of her game, Flo Fab. She’s praised Nocciolata, Speculoos Cream, Kusmi Tea, Goat Milk Caramels, and now Edmund Fallot Walnut Dijon Mustard. What can we say? We must have similar tastes. That is to say, good taste.

7.4oz/$5.99