Paris Grocery News 7/11 Monday, Jul 11 2011 

No sleep til Brooklyn! (Because they're on a sugar high from these awesome syrups.)

New @ PG

Fancy syrups, hearty salami, and a texture-driven sweet: our new favorite things.

Florence Fabricant’s “Food Stuff” column in the New York Times is starting to get downright creepy. Every piece is either about some lovely product we just bought, or some new product we’d be stupid not to get. Thus: Royal Rose syrups! Handcrafted in Brooklyn, these organic syrups beautify cocktails, sodas, and desserts. Available in rose, lavender-lemon, cardamom-clove, and three chiles. Because we will do anything that FloFab tells us to do. $11.99 ($10.99 for the three chiles.)

Our love affair with Zoe’s Meats continues. Just in time for summer, we’ve brought in their Genovese salami. It’s a slightly larger diameter salami that’s completely nitrite free with a lean pork-to-fat ratio. Made with pinot grigio (rather than the sweeter sherry wine that they use in their house salami), its milder, juicier flavor makes for a great picnic salami that will go well with a varied spread. $21.99/lb

Share if you must.

Stroopwafels! (We really like saying that.) These incredible Dutch cookies are also referred to as “butter syrup waffles” (!) or “honey syrup waffles.” What they are: A gooey layer of buttery honey goodness smooshed between two chewy waffle cookies. Some people will say they are a little too sweet. Step slowly away from such people while concealing the bag of stroopwafels behind your back. They’re yours now. $5.39

Wine @ PG

Taking a break from our rosé obsession. (But omg there are so many good ones in the shop right now you have to come buy rosé!)

Yep, we're still buying great whites and reds.

Vignobles Fontan Domaine de Maubet 2010

Gascony whites never fail to please. This blend of Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng, and Sauvignon blanc is refreshing without being too acidic. Tropical fruit on the nose, and an interesting note of grassiness on the finish. The screw-top bottle makes this one picnic-friendly. $8.99

Domaine A. et P. De Villaine Bouzeron 2009

For a perhaps more elegant get-together. This wine is made with Aligoté doré, a regional varietal that makes for versatile and aromatic wines. We love this Bouzeron; it’s crisp and lean with earthy, stony notes. It’s got a ton of finesse and understated earthiness. Excellent as an apéritif, and would pair well with seafood or a plate of cheeses. $26.99

Château Mazeau Bordeaux 2009

For those who still crave a deep red during the summer, we’ve brought in this nice quaffer from Bordeaux. Juicy red fruit flavors that deepen on the palate into a lingering, dry finish. Notes of licorice, coffee, and tobacco (oh, yeah). Can’t go wrong with price, either: $9.99

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

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Paris Grocery News 4/22 Saturday, Apr 23 2011 

A picture of an Easter window display taken by the bosses last year while vacationing in Burgundy. Chocolate creatures sort of blur the line between charming and creepy, don't you think?

Wine @ PG

For Easter (or just taking advantage of a lovely spring day) brunch, I recommend pink and/or bubbles. (Surprise, surprise.)

Pink and/or bubbly.

Jean Paul Trocadero Brut Rosé Vin de Savoie ($9.99)

A vivacious sparkling rosé. Fruit forward, tasting of strawberries and cherries, with immense effervescence, this wine combines the best qualities of rosés and sparklers. A great pick for bridal showers, deck parties, or just lounging on the “beach” (whatever strip of backyard, park, or mini-porch you call your own). Peppery and fun.

Domaine Balivet NV Bugey Cerdon Méthode Ancéstrale ($22.99)

Very fresh and zesty, this sparkling rosé from Savoie complements a varied brunch spread. It’s made in the same process as artisanal cider, meaning only one fermentation as opposed to two fermentations  (as is done with champagne and most crémants). 100-percent Gamay, it’s off-dry and unique, with flavors of cherry and ripe apple with a touch of sweetness. It has low alcohol (8-precent) and shows good minerality and acidity in the mouth, with fresh grape aromas in the nose. Really tasty and a pretty, delicate pink color in the glass.

2010 Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy “Terre de Maimbray” Sancerre Rosé ($24.99)

Sancerre is usually known for its chalky white wines. Pinot Noir also grows there, however, and the cool climate makes for elegant, lacy rosés that are mineral-driven. Located on steep hills, this family-run estate is thought to be one of the finest Sancerre producers in France. From old vine Pinot Noir, the wine is a lovely faded pink, with a perfumey, floral nose and strawberry and cherry on the palate. While cheap rosés from the Rhône and Provence are wonderful, if you’re a rosé lover, you owe it to yourself to try this exceptional rosé from the Loire.

Food @ PG

Last-minute brunch necessities.

Canterbury Naturals Crepe Mix ($4.99/14-oz.)

You asked for it, and now it’s here! Crepe Mix. Just add eggs and water. And nutella and berries (not really, that’s just my serving suggestion).

Comté de Fruitière ($4.25/quarter lb.)

The crowd-pleasingest cheese ever. This raw cow’s milk cheese from the Jura is aged 5-6 months. It offers a fruit nectar aroma and a more delicate nuttiness than more aged Comté. Almost sweet and bursting with flavors of fresh milk and butter. Great melted,  in salads, or with fruit.

D’Artagnan Duck Bacon ($9.99/8-oz.)

This stuff is insanely delicious. Regulars drop by on weekend mornings to grab a package, along with a bottle of sparkling, and it always gives me a serious case of brunch-envy (it’s a thing, look it up.) Made from Moulard duck, with no nitrates or nitrites or growth hormones or anything. A smoky and rich flavor, with a lean texture. Duck. Bacon. Yum.

There are so many things in this shop for brunch, it’s silly. Jams and honey and cheese accompaniments and olives and chocolates and on and on. We ought to rename ourselves the Brunch Store. Come by and see us for all your weekend snack attack needs!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 4/3 Sunday, Apr 3 2011 

The first delivery of rosés! Can you stand it? (You can't.)

Wine @ PG

“April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.”

From “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot

Apparently, perpetual sad guy Thomas Stearns never shopped at Paris Grocery. (Though I love the way he places those gerunds at the end of the line). But it’s hard for us to be cranky about this blustery spring weather when the first crop of rosés has officially arrived at the shop! Like so many shining flowers emerging from the cold bed of winter, these wines glitter with the promise of summer.

Sorry to be so corny. I just really really like rosé.

Chateau L’Ermitage Costières de Nimes Rosé 2010

This Rhône blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mouvedre is a perhaps slightly more fruit forward wine than the Provence rosés. It’s a vivid carmine color, with bright notes of melon and strawberry and a touch of spice and minerals. This is my pick so far for a “summer swiller”: that cheap rose that pairs with just about anything, making it perfect for larger groups getting together for a picnic or bbq. ($8.99)

Domaine Sorin “Terra Amata” Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010

Robert Parker called winemaker Luc Sorin one of the most exciting in the South of France, and his wines are served at some of the finest restaurants in the Côte-d’Azur. They have gained a reputation for being smooth and appealing, making for an excellent match with many styles of cuisine. The Côtes de Provence rosé is their best-known wine. A lovely, dusky pink, it’s light and refreshing, with intriguing notes of herbs. ($11.99)

Triennes Rosé 2010

Primarily made from Cinsault, the juice for this Provençal rosé spent only a couple of hours in contact with the skins, resulting in a very pale color and delicate texture. It’s  bottled early to maintain its vibrant freshness. This one is my favorite, and I think it’s one of Sharon’s, too; it’s just such a beautiful wine. Light strawberry and red currant notes, with a vibrant minerality and an ethereal creaminess on the finish. It’s got that Provençal quality that I like to call “fruit and rocks.” ($15.99)

Château du Rouët Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010

Delicate and delicious; a perfect evocation of Provençal-style rosé. Made with a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. The grapes are hand-harvested from volcanic gravel soils that washed down from the Esterel mountain range. We love the curvaceous bottle! ($14.99)

Cheese & Butter @ PG

Le Wavreumont. (Say that five times fast.)

Back in stock!

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)

Perfectly round, perfectly yummy.

Soumaintrain

A cow’s milk cheese from Yonne in northern Burgundy. Like Époisses, the wheels are washed with brine and marc de Bourgogne. Pungent, gooey, rich, mushroomy, and barnyardy- some even say it displays umami. Try it with a Chablis for a particularly blissful experience. George, our resident cheesemonger, is obsessed with this cheese.  ($24.99/each)

Beurre d’Isigny

Isigny Sainte Mère is a well-known brand of dairy products. The milk they use comes from the cows of many cooperatives who eat the nutritious grasses of northwest France all year long, allowing for higher trace amounts of iodine and other minerals. These charming paperboard tubs of sweet, unsalted butter are great for use in baking or just as a spread. ($6.99/each)

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 3/18 Friday, Mar 18 2011 

 

(Serving Suggestion.)

Sweets @ PG

Yet another bonanza of goodies, just arrived from France. (We’ve got the excess of packing peanuts to prove it.)

Fig and Walnut Caramels

Some insane trifecta of deliciousness is achieved here with this combination of caramel, fig, and walnut. They’re so earthy and sweet and chewy and crunchy, all at the same time, that you’ll feel deeply satisfied with even just one. (But you better get a few, you know, for later.) (79¢)

Calissons

A traditional treat from Aix-en-Provence. A chewy paste of almonds, sugar, and Cavaillon melon with a touch of orange rind and just the right amount of royal icing. (99¢)

Chocolate Truffles

Supremely creamy dark chocolate truffles, dusted with cocoa powder. Yep. The gold-foil packaging is pretty great, too. (60¢)

Les Confitures à l’Ancienne Drinking Chocolate

This amazing drinking chocolate made with raw cane sugar and the finest cocoa beans won the NASFT Outstanding Beverage Award in 2002. With undertones of fruitiness and natural vanilla, this mix makes a mean cup of hot cocoa. (75¢/sachet or $14.49 cube of 14 sachets*)

*The cube was mistakenly priced at $5.99 and listed as such in the newsletter; $14.49 is the correct price. Sorry for any confusion!)

Marshmallow Ropes

Do like the cool enfants and eat these adorable marshmallow ropes right out of the package! Or cut them into comically large squares and float them in a bowl of drinking chocolate. Pick your favorite flavor: lemon, raspberry, or violet. ($1.99)

Dunk 'em.

And: cookies!

Biscoff

The demand for speculoos spread continues apace here at the shop, so we thought it wise to bring in the original cinnamon-stoked cookies as well. These are a Flanders tradition, known stateside for being served on Delta flights. Make a cup of coffee and sit back like you’re flying Delta first class, unless that sounds awful, in which case think about how you’re enjoying the cookies without having to go through the hassle of air travel. ($3.99)

Fossier Biscuits Roses

These airy yet hardy biscuits from Reims, near Champagne, are infused with a touch of vanilla and dressed with a coat of powdered sugar. They’re meant to be dunked, in anything from milk or tea to wine, an aperitif, or even a glass of Champagne, which is so charming we just can’t stand it. Also, the Fossier website offers recipe ideas for tower-like cakes using the cookies like Jenga pieces that are quite ornate and ladies-who-lunch. ($6.99)

Gavottes Crispy Crepe Dentelles

These biscuits from Brittany are made of many many crispy layers, wound around each other like “the dance that lends them their name.” (A gavotte was, obviously, a Breton dance involving lots of spinning and twirling). Available in regular flaky goodness, as well as with milk or dark chocolate coating. ($4.99)

Wine @ PG

Newest of the new.

This just in! (As in, I just put these new wines on the shelf five minutes ago.)

Domaine Força Réal Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2005 ($8.99)

Crazy good price. This medium-bodied southern red has some intense rusticity, with notes of graphite and dark fruit. A good quaffer, especially with something particularly meaty or savory.

Enclos du Petit Chien Cheverny Blanc 2009 ($12.99)

Another fantastic value from the Loire Valley. This 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Chardonnay is, to quote Sharon, “yummy.” Expressions of herbs and minerals, and a nicely round creaminess in the mouth, revealing that the seemingly tiny edition of Chardonnay makes for an excellently balanced quencher.

Domaine des Braves Régnié 2009 ($14.99)

This 100% Gamay from Régnié, the most recently recognized cru of Beaujolais (1988), starts out with some residual sugar and floral hints of violet, but then deepens into dark berry notes and a smooth, refreshing minerality. We’ve noted the exceptional quality of Beaujolais wines from this vintage, and this one is no exception.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 3/12 Saturday, Mar 12 2011 

Do goat cheeses taste better when topped with a cute label? Answer: No (but it doesn't hurt).

Cheese @ PG

A goat cheese with a bit of age and a few washed rind cheeses with a bit of funk.

Crottin Frais du Périgord

These tiny drums of barely aged goat’s milk cheese come from Périgord, a region of Bordeaux known for its goat cheese delicacies. A soft and creamy texture, with a nutty flavor. Fantastic when heated and placed on salads or toasts. $1.99/each or 2/$3

Oh, you monks.

Le Poteaupré

This oozy washed rind cow’s milk cheese was created by the Trappist monks of the Chimay Abbey in Belgium. Intensly earthy, with flavors of wild mushroom, toasted hazelnuts, and a finish that resembles buttered popcorn. Pair with a Chimay or a fruity red. $15.99/lb

Les Frères

Don’t you love it when siblings play nicely? Semi-soft washed rind cheese created by the Crave Brothers in Waterloo, Wisconson. This mild American cow’s milk cheese is earthy and pleasant with flavors of sea salt and bitter herbs.  Pair with white wine or sparkling. $15.99/lb

Trois Laits

Another stunning cheese from affineur Pascal Beillevaire. This Pyrenees washed rind cheese has the creaminess of cow’s milk, the nuttiness of sheep’s milk, and the subtle herbaceous tang of goat’s milk. Rich, complex, and beefy, with notes of Alpine grasses, marjoram, and sage. $32.99/lb

Wine @ PG

It's still cold; we still prefer warmth.

So, we may have gotten ahead of ourselves with talk of rosé season and patios. Here’s a few more delightful reds to keep you warm for this last bit (please?) of drizzly winter.

Domaine Astruc  Vin de Pays de L’Hérault Vielles Vignes Carignan 2008

Smoky aromas. Round on the mid-palate, with supple and balanced tannins. Minerals and spice, with a note of bitter chocolate on the finish. ($9.99)

Chateau Jouanin Bordeaux 2009

Explosive and full-bodied, this 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc is aged for 15 months in new and used oak. Flavors of menthol, eucalyptus, and juicy red and black fruits. ($12.99)

Domaine de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007

Delicious, with loads of minerals and plenty of length. 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. 92 points: Stephen Tanzer, Wine Advocate. ($43)

Craves @ PG

Just think of all the Manhattans you could make.

Les Parisiennes griottines

A customer favorite. These delicious Morello cherries have been pitted and prepared in a Kirsch liqueur. Griottines are famous throughout the world for their freshness and refined taste. And the grand, Belle Epoque packaging is simply too much. Add to desserts, aperitifs, and cocktails. ($24.99/18.5oz jar)

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Called "the poet of the appetites" by John Updike.

We’ve brought in a range of titles from the luminous American gourmand, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (thankfully known as M.F.K. Fisher).  Corny, but: she’s a personal hero of mine. Consider this quote from “The Gastronomical Me” (emphasis mine):

“People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do. They ask it accusingly, as if I were somehow gross, unfaithful to the honor of my craft. The easiest answer is to say that, like most humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it.”

In stock (all are necessary):

Consider the Oyster

The Gastronomical Me

An Alphabet For Gourmets

How to Cook A Wolf

As They Were

Two Towns in Provence

Long Ago In France: The Years in Dijon

Sister Age

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

 

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

Paris Grocery News 11/30 Wednesday, Dec 1 2010 

Warm-You-Up Reds.

Wine @ PG

Some warm-you-up reds, now in stock!

2007 La Bastide Saint Dominique Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($35.00)

80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, and 5%Cinsault. Possesses a dark ruby/purple-tinged color, a seductive perfume of kirsch liqueur, sandalwood, soy, seaweed, and blacker fruits, ripe tannin, good freshness, and a plump style. 90 points Robert Parker

2009 Château de Ségriès Côtes du Rhône ($13.99)

50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Carignan. A transparent ruby red in the glass. Reveals dusty soil notes mixed with kirsch, garrigue, pepper, and spice. Fresh and fruity with ripe tannins. A great choice for a cold night in with a warm meal.

2008 Gouleyant Cahors ($11.99)

100% Malbec, this Cahors is leaner than Argentine malbecs. Elegant and smooth, with a lengthy finish. Delicious and fruity, with notes of toast and black cherry. This wine will keep you warm all winter!

2008 Puyvedal “Chevalier” Syrah Coteaux de Peyriac ($9.99)

85% Syrah and 15% Grenache. From clay and limestone terroir, this offers ripe flavors of dark berries and chocolate, with a smooth, almost dusty finish. A versatile and full-bodied red from a smaller region to the northwest of Carcassonne.

 

Cheese @ PG

Petit Sapin.

It’s the time of the year for cheeses that are delicious, pretty, and festive. Here are my top party cheeses!

Petit Sapin

From affineur Jean Perrin comes this lovely cow’s milk cheese from France-Comté. Matures in its wooden box and wrapped with a piece of pine bark. Creamy, earthy, and slightly floral, you can eat this cheese with a spoon! $20.99/each

Époisses

Brillat-Savarin dubbed this “the King of All Cheeses.” And the man knew his cheeses! This famously pungent, washed-rind cheese from Burgundy has a distinctly earthy flavor all its own and an irresistibly gooey texture. Just may convert you into a stinky cheese lover! $20.99/each

Cabécou Feuille

Underneath the chestnut leaf wrapper lies a tangy, creamy goat cheese. It’s first dipped in plum brandy and then sprinkled with peppercorns. Piquant, sweet, and quite festive. $2.99/each

Palet de Noël

A lemony, melt-in-your-mouth goat cheese, adorned with paprika. The mildness of the cheese is balanced by the slight kick of the garnish. Spread on a turkey sandwich, or try with crackers and a zesty white wine. $10.99/each

Barbichette Sauvage

A pasteurized goat’s milk cheese with a delightfully creamy texture, almost like a whey cheese. The flavor is sweet, fresh, and lemony. A dense coating of herbs adds earthiness and texture. $8.99/each

 

Craves @ PG

Chestnut Spreads.

During the holidays, nothing warms the chilly Parisian streets as much as the steel drums of roasting chestnuts. They’re yummy, smell divine, and truly make it feel like Christmas. While no one has hit on this small business idea here in Seattle (hint hint, someone!), we here at PG know that our customers love all things chestnut. We have Clément Faugier whole chestnuts, unsweetened chestnut puree, and chesnut spread with vanilla. From Les Confitures à l’Ancienne (a brand we love for being made with cane sugar in small batches), we have chestnut spread with pieces  and “Noël” jam,  made with chestnuts, clementines, and cinnamon—delicious!

 

Gifted @ PG

Oil, Vinegar, Salt.

We love food gifts. Why buy someone a sweater that might not fit, or a dvd they may already have? It’s a fantastic idea for the food-lover and home chef on your list. My go-to recommendations are fancy salts, oils, and vinegars—everyone uses them, and most of them come in pretty packages that already look like a gift. My top three:  Le Saunier de Camargue Fleur de Sel, Moulins de la Brague Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Abbe Rous Banyuls Vinegar. Also: I’m armed with attractive bags, ribbon, and paper, ready to make a food gift “set.”

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 10/9 Sunday, Oct 10 2010 

We love you, Cab Francs. No matter what they say.

Wine @ PG

This week we’re featuring some fantastic values in Loire Valley reds. These are all 100 percent Cabernet Franc, a grape that is quite popular in France, especially in the Loire Valley, but is better known stateside as a grape used in blends, particularly those from Bordeaux. Depending on production practices, the grape can produce fruitier or more herbal/vegetative flavors than other varietals. It’s also noted for a certain floral quality, especially violets. Some palates, unused to these qualities, may find themselves off-put by a Cab Franc wine, but we think they’re worth getting to know better. They are typically medium-bodied and easy to drink , but with a cerebral, what-is-that-exactly quality. And at  these prices, you can’t go wrong.

Sables Blonds Touraine Rouge 2009 ($9.99)

This Cabernet Franc is loaded with minerals and notes of earth and dark berries. It’s juicy and lightly tannic: perfect for flank steak. We liked this wine so much that we brought in a case of it to compete with our larger buys of Côtes du Rhone and Bordeaux; like those more typical options, this is one to grab for any simple cold-weather dish.

Saumur Rouge “Les Epinats” 2009 ($9.99)

This Cab Franc uses grapes from a single vineyard that is abundant with silex, giving the wine a dense backbone of minerality. A lovely transparent ruby color in the glass, with delicate aromas of violets. Bright and lively on the palate, with a hint of cherries and licorice. Just enough grip and a supremely balanced finish:  this wine really offers bang for your buck.

Bourgueil  Rouge “Beauregard” 2009 ($10.99)

We tasted this directly after the Saumur, and while it had some similarities in terms of texture, its flavors were slightly more complex. Dark notes of blackberry brush up against something like pencil shavings. Bourgueil is known for being a bit more rustic than its neighbor Chinon, but we sort of like that: this wine really sings when paired with the right foods. The bright acidity and herbal notes of tarragon make it a natural with lamb sausages.

Cheese @ PG

Rogue River Blue

This cow’s milk cheese from Sonoma is aged for one year in “Roquefort-like” caves. It has vibrant hints of hazelnuts and sweet pine, with a clean, woodsy finish. Each wheel is wrapped in grape leaves and soaked in pear brandy, giving the cheese a supremely creamy texture.

$38.99/lb

$9.75/quarter lb

Fleur d’Aunis

This washed rind semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Charentes-Poitou is rich, creamy, and slightly nutty. The rind is brushed with Pineau des Charentes, a fortified wine made with Cognac. A easy cheese for snacking, with just enough complexity.

$15.99/lb

$3.99/quarter lb

Folie Bergere

A fresh goat cheese from Belgium with a savory coating of herbs. The dense texture is similar to a dry ricotta, and it has a less mild tang than other chèvres. Earthy and delicious!

$32.99/lb

$8.25/quarter lb

Back in stock: we have fresh wheels of Morbier (the washed rind classic with a center line of ash), Cantalet Dore (the “French cheddar” that’s so good with apples), and Gabietou (the dreamy cow’s and sheep’s milk cheese created by Herve Mons).

Craves @ PG

Candied Orange Peel Strips

Imported from France, these have a fantastic balance of sweet and tangy flavors and a delightfully toothsome texture. Packed in a touch of syrup to retain moisture and freshness. In addition to myriad baking and confectionary uses, candied orange peel strips make a fantastic accompaniment to cheese or dark chocolate. People have also been known to just eat them, one by one, until they are all gone: but these tales may just be the stuff of sweet tooth legend.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

This attractive and rather huge book promises over 300 recipes from Greenspan’s classic “French dinner table” repertoire . The book is organized extremely well, with nibbles, vegetables, and desserts getting just as much attention as beef, chicken, and seafood. The recipes are surprisingly simple. In fact, Julie Child once told Greenspan,  “You write recipes just the way I do.” High praise from a true master!

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Not just your grandmother’s perfume Tuesday, May 18 2010 

NPR’s The Splendid Table did a lovely little story on orange flower water. This subtle flavoring is as addictive as it is versatile. Listen to Sally Schneider’s stories and tips here (from about minute 8 to 13).