Paris Grocery News 2/26 Saturday, Feb 26 2011 

"I take it with sugar!" -Paul Verlaine, noted poet, rebel, and absinthe addict.

Food & Sweets @ PG

A shipment of items so wonderful and weird, I have to mention them all.

Absinthe Sugar by Bonnecaze & Cie (5¢). These sugar cubes are ostensibly more “melty” (technical term) than other sugar cubes—the better to pour absinthe over, my dear. Also for people who love tiny things in old-timey packaging.

"To feel bright and alert."

Underberg ($1.79/each or $4.99/3). I was having a drink at 611 Supreme one night and saw a display of this herbal digestive sitting on the bar. The picture on the box—a lady in white offering up a handful of herbs that swirled and floated away to the heavens—was just too much. The bartender recommended we knock back the entire 20 mL (ingredients: water, alcohol, natural flavors from herbs and roots of the genus gentiana) all at once. I have not been sick since, and also I seem to be able to lift cars. No, not really. But this stuff packs one intense and herbaceous punch!

Assorted Chocolate Mini-bars by Ritter Sport (60¢). Many customers have mentioned their love for this German brand of chocolate, so we’ve brought these in as our latest evil plot against you (wherein we place candy at the register and you can’t resist it). Flavors: milk chocolate, hazelnut, marzipan, nougat, yogurt, cornflakes (my favorite!), and butter cookie.

Snack attack.

Orange Oat Crisps by Gille ($3.79). These biscuits from Sweden are infused with orange flavor and drizzled with Belgian chocolate. We love the light, crispy texture.

Crème Brûlée Mix by Dr. Oetker ($2.99). For the lazy chef, we think this brand of dessert mixes from Canada offers the best quality. And, as it says in tantalizing script on the box, it comes “With Caramelizing Sugar.”

Licorice Cats by Dutch Sweets ($2.99). They’re a bit chewy, semi-hard, and shaped like a cat. Eating black cats: perhaps a holdover from our ancient pagan days?

Double Salt Licorice by Gustaf’s ($3.79). We’ve had many requests for this! I fancy myself a bold eater of extreme flavors, but these supremely salty coins of licorice are only for the die-hard fan.

Thank you, Norway!

Gjetost Cheese by Ski Queen ($6.99). This golden brown block of cheese from Norway is made from a blend of cow’s and goat’s milk. The milk is cooked until it caramelizes, giving it a nutty, mildly sweet flavor. We love the red packaging with its IKEA font. It’s best when sliced with a cheese plane and served with fruit and crispbread. It’s known as a skier’s snack in Norway; throw your own après-ski party and introduce your friends to this amazing cheese.

More of our favorite thing: Food en Tube!

Mayonnaise by Mills ($3.29). It’s mayo in a tube from Norway. From their website: “ideal for garnising (sic), enhacing (sic) the taste of sandwiches, dips and sauces, weather (sic) it be for everyday use or on special occations (sic).” Yes!

Pure Almond Paste by Odense ($7.49). Made with mostly almonds, along with sugar and glucose syrup, this brand of almond paste imported from Denmark is widely heralded as the best by the choosy denizens of the internet (we’re included in that category).

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

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Recipe: Hearts of Palm Fries with Chipotle Mayo Saturday, Feb 26 2011 

More versatile than you may think!

We’ve loved hearts of palm in salads (my favorite: hearts of palm, fennel, and grape tomatoes) and pureed in soups. But as we saw in the March issue of Saveur, chef Julian Medina of Yerba Buena in Manhattan had the wisdom to coat them with panko breadcrumbs and fry them in canola oil with a side of spicy mayo. Drop by to grab a jar of Miguel & Valentino hearts of palm ($5.49) and get frying!

Recipe: Hearts of Palm Fries with Chipotle Mayo

Paris Grocery News 2/20 Sunday, Feb 20 2011 

 

Good fonts on the outside, good chai on the inside.

Hot Drinks @ PG

This past Saturday, we were joined by Jillu Zaveri, founder of Seattle-based company Jaipur Avenue, for a chai tea tasting. Thanks to Jillu and her husband for spending time with us, and thanks to our customers for coming by. Lots of chai went out the door, and we’re looking forward to your feedback. Jaipur Avenue makes all-natural, just-add-water chai tea mixes; we sampled Original Masala (a perfect balance of spices), Saffron (exotically sweet), and Cardamon (earthy and fully spicy). These flavors, as well as Ginger and Vanilla, are now available at the shop. The packaging is particularly pretty, and fortunately the product inside lives up to the outside appearance. You may be asking yourself, why chai? Well, why not? It’s delicious, it’s local, we’re cold, it’s warm. Also, George insists that chai tea is all the rage in Paris (note: George has not been to Paris). While he may be making that up, it wouldn’t surprise me. Parisians, for all their sometimes stodgy (yet charming) reverence for their own culture, are a truly metropolitan and increasingly global bunch. And this will continue to be our explanation for the funny things we like to buy for the shop that aren’t strictly French, including Linghams Malaysian hot sauce, Les Moulins Mahjoubs Tunisian olive oil, Finnska Finnish licorice, and now Jaipur Avenue Indian-by-way-of-Seattle chai tea.

Wine @ PG

 

Cheap, cheap, not-as-cheap.

Two closeout deals on full-bodied, easy-drinking rosés, and Sharon’s new favorite red.

Abel Clement Rhone Rosé 2009 ($8.99)

Fresh and light on the palate, with notes of wild strawberry and a touch of spice. 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. The perfect wine to enjoy during the ever-increasing daylight hours.

Mas Carlot Costières de Nîmes Rosé 2009 ($8.99)

A more fruit-forward style, with a good amount of body and a clean finish. Stands up to dishes with plenty of flavor and spice; try it with ratatouille or Mexican food. 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah.

Domaine Charvet Moulin-à-Vent “La Réserve d’Amélie” 2009 ($18.99)

Sharon tasted this by the glass at nearby Lecosho, and came back raving about it. It’s her new favorite wine (this week, at least). This is the only wine we carry from this up-and-coming cru of Beaujolais that produces very fine and full-bodied iterations of the Gamay grape. Juicy, dark fruits and a hint of earth.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 2/12 Saturday, Feb 12 2011 

 

Heart-shaped cheese. You know you love it.

Cheese @ PG

Oh yes, we brought in Valentine’s Day cheeses. What do you think, we’re made of stone? Pictured is the delightful Coeur du Berry ($10.99/each), an ash-rind fresh goat cheese with a dense texture and tart notes of lemon. We like the heart shape, but we suggest chopping it in half if you’re feeling rebellious to the saccharine mood. We also have customer favorite Grès Champenois ($7.99/each), a triple cream from Champagne, packaged with a red heart sticker at this time of year. It’s silky, oozy, nutty, rich, and tart—pair it with fizzy for an indulgent evening. L’Explorateur ($9.99/each) is another classic triple cream. Made in Ile-de-France, this cheese has buttery, mushroomy notes and a supremely creamy texture. No hearts on this one, just a rocket ship that celebrates the first U.S. satellite.

Wine @ PG

Heading south for terrific values and big, bright flavors.

Pretend You're in the South of France.

Les Fontanelles Sauvignon Blanc Vin de Pays d’Oc 2009 ($7.99)

With grapes selected from the vineyards of the small village of Puicheric in Southern France, this white is light, dry, and brimming with citrus notes. It offers a great mouthfeel and a clean finish. We are looking forward to white wines and couldn’t resist bringing in this unbelievably priced refresher!

Chateau du Seuil Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose 2009 ($10.99)

A textbook Provencal pink wine: fruit and minerals in harmony. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault. We brought this is last summer, and it’s holding up remarkably well, so we brought some more in. We’re able to offer it at this reduced price (was $14.99).

Domaine la Bastide “Les Genets” Syrah 2008 ($11.99)

Flavors of dark ripe fruit, coffee, and black tea, this 100% Syrah is essentially Corbières without being able to call itself that. This producer is known for exceptional wines, and we couldn’t resist the terrific value on this cuvée.

Craves @ PG

Blood orange: You heard it here first!

We’re more than a little excited about the latest Vosges chocolate offering—a 70% dark chocolate bar infused with blood orange caramel, hibiscus flowers, and Campari. It’s what we imagine a Tuscan afternoon tastes like. While we’re at it, we’d like to officially note that blood orange seems to be the new “it” flavor (we should have been more careful when we called “pie is the new cupcake” and “mostarda is the new chutney”: we didn’t get any credit for those.) Grab one of these attractive and unique chocolate bars for the attractive and unique one in your life.

Gifted @ PG

Nine ways to spice things up.

We love to buy spices and herbs in bulk; it avoids the price of expensive packaging and gives us a chance to offer a great value. We’ve put together these fantastic boxes of nine herbs and spices; they’re sort of a starter set for French and Moroccan cooking necessities. Just the right amount to experiment and find your new favorite seasoning! Each box includes the following:

  • Tarragon: French tarragon has a mint-anise taste that is particularly suited to vinegar and fish. It also goes well with poultry, vegetables, and fruits. Use it in the classic sauces remoulade and béarnaise.
  • Sel Gris de Guerande: This fine French sea salt with traces of mineral-rich grey crystals has been hand-harvested in Brittany. Its high moisture content gives it resilience on red meat, vegetables, cheeses, and chocolates.
  • Juniper Berries: A bittersweet, piney aroma. Crush juniper berries before using them in marinades for game, beef, or pork.
  • Lavender: A soft, floral aroma and taste pairs nicely with dishes both sweet and savory. Use in baking or roasts.
  • White Peppercorns: White pepper has a slightly musky aroma and flavor which goes especially well with meats such as pork. Gentle heat and invisible color make them a great alternative to standard black peppercorns.
  • Herbes de Provence: A mixture of thyme, marjoram, savory, and other herbs, but it’s the dried lavender that gives this blend its unique flavor profile. Pairs well with poultry, soups, and sauces.
  • Green Anise: Very sweet and aromatic, with a licorice-like flavor. Used as often in savory dishes with seafood or poultry as in sweet pastries and desserts. An essential herb for many French and Moroccan dishes.
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds: The most commonly used mustard seed. Used in pickling, sausage-making, and boiled vegetable dishes such as cabbage.
  • Berbere Pepper: A melange of spices made with chile pepper, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, fenugreek, and garlic. Sort of a cross between a spicy paprika and a curry, it’s commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine.

 
Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 2/2 Wednesday, Feb 2 2011 

Bright, chilly wines for bright, chilly days.

Wine @ PG

Looking to some whites and a sparkling to lighten the mid-winter stretch.

Chidaine Touraine 2009 ($16.99)

This is a perfectly executed and endlessly refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Very aromatic, with fresh citrus notes, it has a chalky texture and a brilliant minerality. It drinks well above its mid-teen price point, rivaling some Sancerres. With the hints of sunshine, we’re starting to look more to crisp whites, and this is one of our favorites. Pair with Le Chevrot.

Domaine Pierre Sparr Marquis de Perlade ($9.99)

Made in the traditional method, this sparkling wine is ideal for festive gatherings.  It is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Macabeu, and Chardonnay from the wonderful Alsatian producer Pierre Sparr.  Crisp, with lovely notes of green apple and a touch of honey and toast, this sparkling wine complements cheese platters, fruit and nuts beautifully.  It’s also a super value! Pair with Chaource.

Domaine de l’Idylle “Cruet” Vin de Savoie 2009 ($11.99)

Savoy is a region better known for its landscapes and cheeses than its wines, and that’s a crying shame. Just west of Burgundy, in a cool climate with steep terrain, grow a range of rare grapes, aromatic and bright. Domaine de l’Idylle has been making wines in the village of Cruet since 1840. This one is 100% Jacquère, a native variety that is vivacious and fragrant. Exuding pear, citrus, and floral notes, with bursts of green apple and minerality. The short period of sur lie aging gives a nice complexity and sleek body. A perfect foil to the richness of fondue and raclette, it also makes a wonderful choice for Kir (white wine with crème de cassis). Pair with Raclette.

Cheese @ PG

Old favorites, back in stock.

Le Chevrot

Try this full-flavored goat cheese with a Loire Valley white. Le Chevrot is produced in the Poitou region. It’s wonderfully “wrinkly” rind is fully edible, and the interior is creamy. Le Chevrot displays sweet, nutty flavors with a zesty, almost lime-like finish. ($11.99)

Chaource

The ultimate party cheese! This triple cream cow’s milk cheese from the Champagne region has a slightly fruity taste and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. Creamy and buttery, it’s amazing when paired with sparkling wine. ($11.99/each)

Raclette

This is an incredible value! A raw cow’s milk cheese with a supple texture and a full, beefy flavor. Even better when melted to make the traditional warm-you-up dish, raclette savoyarde. ($12.99/lb)

Craves @ PG

J'adore le saucisson.

We love products from Fabrique Delices because you know you’re getting a minimally processed product made without artificial ingredients. Rosette de Lyon is a dry salami made with all-natural pork raised with no antibiotics, no added hormones, and 100% vegetarian feeds. Slice it roughly and snack on it with some crusty baguette, hard cheeses, and olives or pickles. Francois, one of our wine reps, knows this is the real deal, Lyon-style saucisson, and he always grabs one or two when dropping by with wines for us to try.

Gifted @ PG

All dressed up and nowhere to go (thankfully).

This week’s suggestion for a Valentine’s Day gift: make your sweetheart dinner, and make it in 10 minutes. We love this black and white bowtie pasta from Donne del Grano; it’s an artisanal durum wheat pasta that looks as good as it tastes. For sauce, we prefer San Marzano arrabiatta sauce, because a little spice never hurt anybody.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery