Paris Grocery News, 6/17 Saturday, Jun 19 2010 

Things Your Dad Likes

Lambic and Orval Goblets, so dad can drink like a (Belgian) king!

Maybe your dad has been glued to the TV at odd hours this past week, watching the World Cup. Or maybe he’s been rushing to the golf course as soon as the sun peeps out from under the June cloud cover. Or maybe he’s been working his way through a new favorite cookbook. Whatever he’s been up to lately, we can assure you he does NOT want to be forgotten this Sunday. So show him love, get him something he pretends he doesn’t want, but will be so happy when he gets it.

Shameless Promotion Alert: Our friend Mike Force, a talented jack-of-all-arts in Brooklyn, created this hilarious site. Check out this field guide to the rare species of American Dad!

Blockbuster Wines

Summer is the time to let your dad indulge in the “bigger is better” mantra. Let him have (or think he has) the biggest grill with the biggest rack of ribs on the block, and give him a blockbuster wine to go with it!

2007 Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras ($29.99)
The 2007 vintage was seminal in the Rhône, with a warm, dry summer marked by strong winds that preserved that crucial acidity in the grapes. The fruit was ripe, concentrated, and balanced, and resulted in exceptional rich, layered wines, like this Vacqueyras. The estate’s 4ha are lovingly tended by Michel Maret and his two daughters, who harvest by hand. The wine is Syrah (60%) and Grenache (40%), aged in large oak casks for 6-8 months. The father-daughter team triumphed in this vintage, with a smoky, full-bodied wine with flavors of blackberry, mineral, and licorice fusing into a finish that is pure velvet.

“Vivid red. Powerfully scented nose displays fresh raspberry, flowers and minerals. Light in body and refined, with sweet red fruit and candied floral flavors and a silky texture. Fine-grained tannins arrive on the long, sappy finish. This elegant wine is balanced to age but you could drink it now for its sexy fruit and floral qualities.” 91 points Stephen Tanzer


2005 Ferraton et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Le Parvis”
($34.00)
Before 2007, there were the 2005s. This vintage was lauded for producing extremely well-structured wines suitable for aging, and luckily, it is now time to test out those promises. Father and son Ferraton give the Marets a run for their barrels with this elegant Grenache. The wine is blended with small percentages of Syrah and Mourvèdre, and aged for 12-18 month in oak casks. Their biodynamic farming practices reflect their passion for the terroir and uncompromising standards.

“Nice garrigue-driven style, with tobacco, loam, mesquite and plum sauce flavors pushed by a ripe, tarry, mouthfilling finish. Drink now through 2016.” 90 points Wine Spectator

2007 Domaine des Soulanes VdP Côtes Catalanes “Cuvée Jean Pull” ($19.99)
This is another estate that has been handed down from father to son, until Jean Pull sold it to his friends and co-vitners Daniel Laffite and Laffite’s stepfather. Today, young Daniel Laffite and his wife, Cathy, run the estate located near the border of Spain. Carignan thrives in the arid, rocky soil of “Les Fenouillèdes”. This blend of Grenache and Carignan is a plucky charmer, with ripe fruit balances by spicy tannins. Delicious with grilled and barbecued meats, sheep’s cheese, and peppery saucisson and paté.

“Intense kirsch, red plum and raspberry flavors give this southern French red real character and power. The finish is spicy, with plenty of finesse to the black licorice notes. Grenache and Carignane. Drink now through 2012.” 89 point Wine Spectator

2005 Chateau Preuillac Médoc
($19.99)
In Bordeaux, 2005 was also kind to winemakers. This 75-acre estate extends over the excellent gravelly soil of the Médoc appellation in Bordeaux. The Mau family acquired the 200-year old estate a little over a decade ago, driven by the desire to bring the well-placed vineyard up to its full potential. Their hard work and investment is apparent in this under-priced wine, which is one of the best the estate has ever made. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) with Merlot (44%) and Cabernet Franc (4%).

“A classic, balanced wine, with a twist of richness. The black currant flavors are almost jelly-like in their sweetness, although these flavors are well balanced with acidity and a firm layer of dry tannins.”
90 points Wine Enthusiast

Other 90+ notables in stock and previously reviewed: 2007 Domaine Alary Cairanne Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($27.99), 2007 Domaine des Escaravailles Les Sabliers Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($14.99), 2008 Terres Dorées Beaujolais “L’Ancien” ($16.99), 2005 Château Bibian Listrac-Médoc ($24.99), 2007 Domaine des Domaine des Ouleb Thaleb Syrocco ($17.99), 2005 Vieux Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($32.00), 2008 Clos des Briords Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie VV ($16.99).

Cheese @ PG
We Want The Funk

Everyone knows and loves the blockbuster cheeses, such as Brie, Roquefort, or Comté. But there’s a great big world out there (of cheese), and lately I’ve been wanting to talk about some less well-known or understood categories of cheese. Since we’re talking about Father’s Day this week (um, call your dad/stepdad/grandfather/mentor who’s like a dad to you, please), I thought I’d discuss washed rind cheeses. These are the dudes of cheese: they pack a powerful punch, they’re funky, and yes, they’re often stinky. Yet the aromatic exterior often belies a creamy, mild interior: really, they’re teddy bears. Aww.

Washed rind cheeses can be made from any type of milk; most of the famous ones are made with cow milk , but we have some amazing goat milk options, too. The rinds are washed throughout the aging process in any combination of brine, herbs, wine, or spirits, giving the cheese a pungent aroma. Washed rind cheeses present a wide range of textures, from dense to spongy to creamy to pure ooze. I love these cheeses because they offer a complex mix of flavors; they’re fruity, meaty, and tangy, yet tempered with earthy and nutty notes.

Here are some of our favorite funky cheeses, along with some beer pairing ideas. Beer and cheese go naturally together; both have their origins in grains and grasses. You can match complexity with complexity, or mix-and-match for some flavor juxtapositions. Also, the carbonation in beer refreshes the palate.

Munster d’Alsace
A dense, washed rind cow’s milk cheese with a creamy texture and a fried-egg aroma. The flavor is sharp, beefy, and nutty.
$6.25/quarter lb
Try it with: Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic

Pont l’Evêque

A creamy, washed rind cow’s milk cheese made in Normandy. The flavor is buttery, milky, and savory with a long finish of tangy and fruity undercurrents.
$5.49/quarter lb
Try it with: Lindeman’s Faro Lambic

Abbaye Ste-Mère
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. A sure crowd-pleaser.
$3.99/quarter lb
Try it with: Chimay Red

Morbier
A semi-soft cow’s milk cheese with a famous line of ash in the center, historically to separate the morning and evening milkings. This washed rind cheese has aromas of freshly mown grass and appealing flavors of fruits and nuts. An intensely earthy and meaty cheese– a classic.
$4.49/quarter lb
Try it with: St Landelin La Divine (bière de garde farmhouse ale)

Bethmale
Louis VI’s favorite cheese. This luscious cow’s and goat’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees has been in production since the 12th century. Smooth and buttery, with flavors of grass and mushroom with a mild washed rind tang. Try it with a snack plate of ham, olives, and rustic bread.
$6.99/quarter lb
Try it with: Orval Trappist Ale

Tête de Moine

A washed rind cow’s milk cheese with a milky, beefy, and nutty flavor. Invented over 800 years ago by the monks of the Jura region in Switzerland, this dense yet creamy cheese has an excellent melting capacity.
$7.25/quarter lb
Try it with: Brasserie Lebbe L’Amalthée (Belgian wheat beer)

Feed your Mind @ PG

Pork & Sons by Stephane Reynaud

A third generation butcher and pork-lover delves into his family’s and village’s history to bring you the recipes and lore of France’s love affair with porcine creatures.

Craves @ PG

Fee Brothers Bitters

Don’t make your dad drink a Manhattan or Martini without Fee Bros. Bitters!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 5/13 Friday, May 14 2010 

Ready, set, fromage!

I’ve been hungry all morning. Rachel has been unwrapping, cutting, rearranging cheeses all day, forcing samples into my not-so-unwilling hand every so often. There is a cacophony of aromas billowing behind the cheese counter: piquant bleu notes; musty, earthy, straw-laced pitches; and diva-like, nutty sopranos. As we taste through some of our special orders in honor of the Seattle Cheese Festival, we marvel at how interesting and delicious these cheese are, even though we’ve had hundred of cheeses, hundreds of times. We are lucky to be omnivores, says Rachel, and I couldn’t agree more. What would life be without the astounding complexity of the Tête de Moine, herb-and-nut of the Tomme de Hyelzas at its peak, or the unadulterated creaminess against the spicy-salty bleu of the Roquefort Coulet? We’re glad we don’t have to know. We hope you enjoy the buzz of the Seattle Cheese Festival, and when you’re ready for a break from the crowds and other kinds of cacophony, come down to Western Avenue and see us. We’re here 360 days a year, happy to let you taste anything and to talk about the good things in life.

Wines @ PG
Buy any six bottles of wine and get 10% off!

A French Six-Pack!

At Paris Grocery, we always offer a discount on six or more bottles of wine. Since you might get thirsty tasting cheeses galore this weekend, I’ve put together a cheese-friendly six pack of wine for you!

2008 J. Lourat Collection Blanc VdP Loire ($12.99)
A beautiful blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. With vibrant white fruit aromas, a silky mouth feel, and a crisp, mineral-accented finish, this wine is perfect with just about any cheese.

2008 Lucien Albrecht “Cuvée Balthazar” Alsace ($13.99)
This unoaked Pinot Blanc comes from a family owned winery in Alsace. The excellence of their vineyards is immediately apparent. Rich, harmonious fruit and ripe apple notes, with a lively finesse. Well-suited for washed-rind, creamy cheeses such as Munster or Tomme du Berger.

2005 Chateau Saint-Sauveur Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise ($26.99)
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise is an AOC used exclusively for sweet, fortified Muscat wine, a wine that has been praised since the time of Pliny the Elder! Unctuous, with fig, almond, candied citrus, and a stylish balance. Particularly good with bleu cheese. 90 points Wine Spectator

2008 Antech “Émotion” Cremant de Limoux Rosé ($14.99)
Made in the traditional method from Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac, and a touch of Pinot Noir, this rosé sparkler is aged for 15 months before release. Incredibly elegant, with a delicate pink hue and a fine, firm mousse. Rose petals, white flowers, and strawberry on the nose, followed by cherry and a subtle nuttiness on the palate. The finish is fresh and utterly delightful. Excellent with triple-creams, bries, and other rich cheeses.

2006 Albert Bichot Savigny-les-Beaune ($29.99)
With warm aromas of pie cherry, this Burgundy Pinot Noir has heft on the palate. Black cherry flavors accented with pepper fill the mid-palate. An elegant and dry Pinot Noir, it is a great wine for semi-firm to firm cheeses, such as Comté and Tomme d’Aquitaine.

2007 Yannick Pelletier “L’Oiselet” St. Chinian ($15.99)
From a small appellation in the Languedoc, this is an unoakedblend of Cinsault and Grenache Noir, with little bit of Syrah and Carignan. The producer works biodynamically and ages the l’Oiselet for 10 months in vats before bottling, allowing all the flavors to come together. Fruit-forward, juicy, and smoky, it’s a full-bodied wine for full-bodied cheese. Try it with Abondance, Tomme Corse, or Cantal.

Cheese @ PG

The most difficult question for a cheesemonger is, “what’s your favorite?” It’s impossible to answer, and my usual response is just to open the cheese case and start cutting samples, trying to find your new favorite. After a marathon cheese case stock-and-spruce-up this morning, I am even more excited for the Cheese Festival this weekend so I can share all my new favorites.

Tomme de Hyelzas

Olivier brings us stunning cheeses from all over France, but the cheeses from Corsica and from southwestern France thrill me with their herbaceous vivacity, clean acidity, and rustic textures. Just back in stock is Tomme Corse de Chèvre, a goat’s milk tomme with a dreamy snow-white interior and a herbal, goaty tang. Saveur de Maquis is a classic Corsican sheep’s milk cheese; it’s covered in a wild smattering of herbs and has a creamy, ricotta-like texture. New to the store is a young Tomme de Hyelzas from the Causses: raw sheep’s milk, full of flavors from the limestone plateaus of juniper, lavender, and blue grass. Tomme Haut Barry, a sheep’s milk cheese from Larzac, is at a great stage– the bright flavors and floral aromas have had some time to age and get super earthy. Olivier chooses his cheeses and has relationships with the cooperatives, so I always know I’m getting a great wheel.

Cone du Port Aubry

Olivier’s cheeses have a special place in my heart (and belly), but we also have many great cheeses from other sources that have reached go-to status. If you love raw goat’s milk flavor, you have to try Cone du Port Aubry, a Herve Mons cheese from the Loire Valley– I’ll tell you the story of how it got its name if you can’t figure it out from its distinctive shape. Fleur Verte is a fresh chèvre dressed in fresh tarragon and pink peppercorns. The texture is unbelievable; I’d recommend this beautiful cheese for a wedding cake. Tête de Moine is from Switzerland- not French, we know- but this dense, nutty cow’s milk cheese has to be tried for your next fondue. Lately, my suggestion for a great “snack” cheese has been Bethmale, a cow’s and goat’s milk washed-rind cheese that is delicious with a plate of olives and charcuterie. Finally, we can’t forget our blues, which may sound too intense for the approaching spring. But Bleu des Basques, a sheep’s milk blue with a nutty sweetness and a clean finish, really sings with a dollop of orange marmalade: I swear, you’ve got to try this!

I could go on and on about our cheeses. Come taste, savor, and learn this weekend at Paris Grocery!

Paris Grocery News 5/6 Thursday, May 6 2010 

By any other name

My mother has had many gardens, being transplanted across the country more than once after marrying my father. In every garden, she would plant a rosebed, with creamy yellows, peaches, striped belles, and peony pink petals. As soon as it was warm enough for blooming, a vase of roses would sit at our kitchen table, their fragile scent mixing in with whatever my mom was cooking. When Mother’s Day rolls around each year, it is only natural that I think of sweet-smelling roses, and by extension, rosé wines. They may be so named because of their color, but I think the name fits in so many dimensions. Their delicate fragrance, often floral as well as fruity, and their sheer beauty in a glass, are just some of the traits they share with their botanical homonyms. France accords rosé wines as much respect as the reds and whites, and if you taste some of our selections, it is easy to see why. Their brightness and lovely aromatic mixture of fruit and minerality makes them excellent wines for the dinner table. Refreshing, elegant, and interesting, they are no wallflowers in the world of wine. They remind us, with every sip, that a great wine is, first and foremost, a pleasure to drink. Treat a loved one to this delight!

Shades of Rosé

Wines @ PG
Buy any six bottles of wine and get 10% off!

We have two sparkling rosés! The dry and seductive Rosé d’Orfeuilles ($14.99) from Touraine, and FRV 100 (muster all your high-school French and say it aloud. Get it? There’s some brilliant word-play going on), an off-dry Gamay made in the ancestral method, with the delicious, bright red fruit of the appellation ($21.99).

2009 Triennes Rosé ($15.99) – Primarily 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 was bottled early to maintain its vibrant freshness.

2009 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé ($13.99) – Deep blush, the Syrah-Grenache blend is round and fruit forward, with crushed fruit and the slightest hint of spice.

2009 Cape Bleue Rosé ($10.99) – From top Rhône producer Jean-Luc Colombo comes an intoxicating rosé made from Syrah (40%), Mourvèdre (40%), and Counoise (20%). Perfumed and fresh, with notes of peach, raspberries and white pepper.

Cheese @ PG

If you’re planning a special meal for Mother’s Day, be sure to look in the cheese case! Rachel will help you put together a balanced cheese plate, whether you’re a fan of floral, springy cheeses like the Fleur Verte and the Olivade Violet, or are drawn to the pungent depths of the Bethmale. We’re gearing up for the Seattle Cheese Festival and have stocked the case with some hard-to-find cheeses (Herve Mons’ Cone de Port Aubry, Roquefort Coulet, Tomme du Berger), so there’s never been a better time come over and try some unusual cheeses!

Charcuterie @ PG
It rhymes!

Meat pile at a French market.

It may not be cassoulet season anymore, but it is always a good time for Duck Confit! Try shredding it and tossing it into a green salad with string beans, or sprinkle it over a thin, crispy pizza crust with figs, arugula, and Le Somport cheese.

We also have two kinds of Duck Salami, from Fabrique Delices and Savory Farms.

Finally, don’t forget about our Goose Mousse Supreme! Delicate, creamy, this delectable pâté is the perfect indulgence on special occasions.

Gifts & Goodies

Mothers have so many names: travel buddy, role model, cheerleader, coach, nurse, drill sergeant, chef, confidant, comforter, comedian, housekeeper, driver, and so the list goes on. In honor of all those facets, we have a list of gifts, sure to make her smile.

For the cheesehead
: A 3-piece knife set made with eco-friendly materials from cutlery expert Languiole, and an olive-wood cutting board.

For the memory-keeper: From Yellow Owl Co., a stamp set with the Eiffel tower, or a package of hand-pressed French postcards.

For the one whose hands are always busy: Our hands are always chapped from scrubbing and washing, so we know how much she’ll appreciate 80 Acres soaps and lotions. From natural, organic ingredients, these elegantly scented products are heaven on tired skin.

For the storyteller: “Gourmet Rhapsody” by bestselling author Muriél Barbery. A sensuous and witty novel written from the perspective of a grumpy food critic searching for a forgotten flavor, before it is too late.

For the queen of tea time: A ceramic teapot, in classic black-and-white Victoriana, or in one of our colorful Tunisian patterns.

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Thanks for reading, see you soon!