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 4/15 Friday, Apr 15 2011 

A cheesemonger's wedding cake.

Cheese @ PG

We’ve brought in some specially-priced wheels of our favorite cheeses.

Fleur Verte

Absolutely one of our best-selling cheeses, now at 5 dollars less a pound. This fresh goat cheese from Périgord is adorned with thyme, tarragon, and pink peppercorns, and it has a dense and cake-like texture. The flavors are lemony and boldly herbaceous. A beautiful cheese to look at and to eat—I call it the “wedding cake” of cheeses. ($24.99/lb)

Chistou: du vache et du brebis.

Chistou

Istara is well-known for their sheep’s milk cheeses from the Basque region. This one’s fun for being a mix of 50-percent sheep’s milk and 50-percent cow’s milk. It’s semi-hard, with a creamy texture. We found it slightly piquant, with equal notes of grassiness and nuttiness. ($15.99/lb)

Tomme de Savoie

A cow’s milk cheese from the mountainous Savoie with a distinctly raw milk flavor: beefy, hazelnutty, and pleasantly milky. With about 30-percent fat content, this is the most creamy “low fat” cheese out there. Enjoy with liver-stoked pâtés and light red wines such as Beaujolais. ($9.99/lb)

Can't go wrong with Camembert.

Camembert le Pommier

Earthy, buttery, and aromatic, this classic cheese from Normandy has a tender crust that crumbles when spread. Small production, high quality milk from family farmers, and superior ripening by affineur Herve Mons make this a superior Camembert to the many mass-market varieties out there. ($7.99/each)

Books @ PG

Two of my favorites from our latest shipment of new releases and new sale books.

Patricia Wells: food legend and cookbook factory.

Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells

After a long winter of hot, fill-me-up dishes, a Big Salad for a meal sounds just about right. There’s a lot going on in this book beyond the obligatory frisée aux lardons recipe; I spot influences from specific French regions, Europe, Asia, and California spa cuisine. There are plenty of meat and seafood-based recipes, along with a few soups, starters, and even a section on bread and other accompaniments. And I have a weakness for cookbooks that don’t skimp on the colorful photos—I often copy the gorgeous plating ideas, even if I’m just cooking for one!

Adam Gopnik: If Molière had been born in Philly.

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, author of the New Yorker‘s “Paris Journal” from 1995-2000. One of my absolute favorite books, and certainly one of the most wry and tender books on living in Paris (in a crowded and sometimes mediocre field of rosy-hued memoirs). Brand new, but only $9.99!

“The chronicle of an American writer’s lifelong infatuation with Paris is also an extended meditation—in turn hilarious and deeply moving—on the threat of globalization, the art of parenting, and the civilizing intimacy of family life. Gopnik’s insights are infused with a formidable cultural intelligence, and his prose is as pellucid as that of any essayist. A brilliant, exhilarating book.”  —Francine du Plessix Gray

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

Paris Grocery News 1/29 Saturday, Jan 29 2011 

The milk of Tarine cows is used to make luscious Alpine cheeses, such as Beaufort, which is our choice when making French onion soup! Picture from Olive White Photography.

Food (& Cheese!) @ PG

“The onion is the truffle of the poor.”

French Onion Soup (Adapted from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells)

I find this version one of the lightest onion soups I’ve tried; perhaps it’s because the onions are roasted first. Be sure to use good white sweet onions (yellow onions can turn bitter). If this is likely to become a family favorite, it’s worthwhile to invest in traditional onion soup bowls. Makes 2 servings.

1 very large (1 pound) white onion (such as Bermuda), thinly sliced

10 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup dry sherry

32 oz unsalted chicken stock, preferably homemade

2-4 slices crusty baguette

2 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Beaufort cheese

1. Heat olive oil and butter in large sauté pan. When butter has melted, add onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook slowly over very low heat for at least 30 minutes until onion is very soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the sherry, turn the heat to high, and simmer for a few minutes until most of the sherry has been absorbed.

2. Turn on oven broiler. Bring the stock to a simmer in a large nonreactive saucepan.

3. Evenly distribute the cooked onions between 2 soup bowls. Pour in the simmering stock. Place a round or two of bread on top of each; evenly distribute the grated cheese. Place the soup bowls under the broiler and broil just until the cheese is melted (2 or 3 minutes). Serve immediately.

Wine @ PG

Yay, wine!

St. Cosme Little James’ Basket Press Rouge NV ($12.99)

Another example of a high-end producer (in this case, Louis Barroul, a 14th generation producer of Gigondas) making a delightful low-end wine that we can’t resist. This 100% Grenache is made using the solera system; it’s bright and juicy with moderate tannins. A great, easy-drinking wine!

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie “Cuvee Alouette” Bourgueil 2009 ($14.99)

Another example of a supremely drinkable 100% Cabernet Franc. This Bourgueil exhibits pure fruit flavors, with a delicious earthiness. Low tannins make it quaffable but it still offers great length and power.

2008 Philippe Raimbault “Apud Sariacum” Sancerre ($22.99)

There is no more beautiful expression of Sauvignon Blanc than the wines of Sancerre. The cool climate, chalky soil, and passion of the small producers bring this grape to the height of its aromatic, austere elegance. Philippe Raimbault, a ninth-generation producer, puts enormous care into his small family of wines. This Sancerre has flavors of limestone, crushed rocks, and a heady, enticing florality that is nevertheless retrained. An excellent, refreshing texture for a pure finish.

Craves @ PG

Gratin bowls

We love ceramics from Graupera; the Spanish Table offers many of their pots, tagines, and casserole dishes large and small. New to Paris Grocery are these stout soup bowls ($11.99), perfect for individual servings of French onion soup. The quality of the glazes and materials means they’ll stand up to heating, dishwashing, and even microwaving for many years to come; we also love how these ceramics tend to look better with a bit of use (we think food even TASTES better when cooked in well-used ceramics).

Gifted @ PG

Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells

This week’s recipe came from this classic, easy-to-follow book of bistro favorites by Patricia Wells. She’s an incredible authority on French cuisine, and this book offers up some choice bistro-culture knowledge as well. I want to try Oxtail Terrine (pg. 125), Leek Terrine with Truffles (pg. 82), and Zucchini Crepes (pg. 92). Her recipe for Riz au Lait (pg. 250) looks promising, as well; it calls for orange and lemon zest which always makes things taste better.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery