Paris Grocery News 5/27 Saturday, May 29 2010 

Our weekend plans!

Like all of Seattle, we have our fingers crossed for a sunny Memorial Day weekend. But we’re not about to let a few drops of rain put a damper on our fun, not with all the delicious red wines, sausages, cheese, and fun condiments we have on hand! There are innumerable possibilities, but I think I know what I’ll be having: Fabrique Delices’ Basque Sausage with Piment d’Espelette, served with a dollop of L’Epicurian’s Sweet Onion Confit. And I may have to make another batch of “Basque Fries” (hand-cut potatoes fried in Duck Fat, sprinkled with Fleur de Sel and Piment d’Espelette. They are insanely good.). For last minute inspiration and additions to your holiday menu, come on over and explore the possibilities; we’ll be open on Memorial Day from 11am-5pm.

Wine @ PG

Everyone knows that red meat goes with red wine, but with so many unique and delightful reds on our shelves, I decided to do some of the thinking for you. Here’s a six-pack of hearty reds that will complement your Memorial Day grilling!

2007 La Bastide Blanche Bandol ($25.99)

Think outside the Cabernet-and-Steak box: Mourvèdre is where it’s at! In Bandol, an AOC deep in Provence, the Mourvèdre grape achieves the perfect balance of robust elegance, becoming the sublime partner for juicy grilled meats. This unfiltered wine shows rich, dark plum, fig, and blackberry meld into a finish hinting of bittersweet chocolate. Notes of tobacco and very firm tannins support the ripe fruit, and a taut acidity holds it all together. A focused, pure wine showing great balance. La Bastide Blanche farms and vinifies biodynamically and keeps the vine yields low to ensure their uncompromising character.

2007 Domaine de Nidolères “La Pierroune” Côtes-du-Roussillon ($16.99)

The vineyards of this domaine have been cultivated by the same family for eight generations, and their winemaking upholds the traditions of the region between Pérpignan and the Spanish border. The blend of 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 10% Carignan is hand-harvested and sees no oak. This is a rich, smooth wine with persistent tannins. Notes of kirsch and plum leading into a flinty, elegant finish. Delicious with D’Artagnan’s Venison and Pork Sausage with Cherries.

2007 Chateau de Vaugelas “Le Prieuré” Corbières ($11.99)

This 400-year old estate is located in the hills of Lagrasse, known as the best growing zone in the Corbières appellation. Winemaking is headed by George Pauli, who also makes wine for a classified growth Chateau in St. Julien. Neither terroir nor talent is lacking! A blend of Grenache, Syrah, old-vine Carignan, and a touch of Mourvèdre, the wine is quite elegant and well-structured, while maintaining the rustic appeal of the region. It spends one year maturing in oak barrels (30% new), and it is full-bodied and velvety on the palate. Black fruit, licorice, and spice create a nice depth with the fleshy tannins and the kiss of smoke. The finish is long and pleasurable.

2007 Domaine Alary Cairanne Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($27.99)

“A brilliant blockbuster … Composed of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, all from a vineyard planted in 1961, this amazing wine possesses an inky/ruby/purple color in addition to a sweet perfume of black and blue fruits, kirsch, lavender, licorice, spice box, and earth. Transcending its appellation and price point, this is a superb wine that should drink beautifully for 10-15+ years.” 93 points Wine Spectator

2006 Domaine Lapalu “La Patache” Médoc ($14.99)

La Patache is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon (85%) based blend harvested from a selection of the Lapalu family’s estate vineyards. By carefully choosing and blending fruit from different parcels of land, the Lapalu team created a lively, juicy Bordeaux that is approachable in its youth while maintaining its ability to develop. It is deep ruby, aromatic with strong notes of cassis and plum supported by dusty tannins and softer notes of vanilla. Delicious!

2002 Domaine Moureou Chapelle L’Enclos Madiran ($19.99)

Madiran is a tiny appellation in Southwest France, where Tannat is the primary grape grown. Winemaker Patrick Ducourneau pioneered the micro-oxygenation technique, a winemaking process that tames Tannat’s pugnacious tannins. The L’Enclos spends one year in 400L oak barrels, followed by another year in vats. A strident red wine with rich, balanced fruit and structured tannins. An unbeatable companion to lamb.

And because I can’t resist mentioning a rosé, I have to tell you about the 2009 Abel Clement Grenache Rosé. This medium bodied, fruit forward rosé is incredibly fresh, with wild strawberries, lovely floral hints and slightest pepper on the finish. Under screwcap, it’s perfect for patios and picnics. We’ve crowned this our Summer Swiller. And we scored a great deal on it, so we can give it to you for $7.99!

Fun @ PG

These are a few of our favorite things!

Give some love with a rub.

Even if you’re a brats-and-burgers kind of griller, your ketchup and mustard doesn’t have to be boring! Dulcet makes Peppery Moroccan (try it on lamb burgers), Mild Indian Curry, and Sweet Orange Chili Ketchup ($4.99/14oz). It’s hard to pick just one mustard from our plethora of Dijons, but we do love the spicy kick of Pommery Fireman’s Mustard ($19.99/8.8oz) with grilled sausages or steak frites, and the Fallot Blackcurrant Dijon Mustard ($4.99/7.2oz) in marinades for pork.

The secret to grilled meats is the salt; rubbing and finishing with right touch of seasoning makes all the difference. The classic Sel du Boucher ($18.49/17.6oz) is a fantastic all-purpose coarse sea salt rub with thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and sage. Esprit du Sel’s Fennel and Garlic Grey Sea Salt ($11.99/6.3oz) is wonderful for fish, and Dulcet Creole Spice Rub ($6.49/2.5oz) works well on fish, poultry, and meats.

Cheese @ PG

When it comes to outdoor grilling, the meat, wine, and sides are the most popular guests at the party. Cheese may not even be invited. Most cheese is  so sensitive and picky, always complaining about the heat and hogging all the space under the umbrella, as if it’s simply going to melt in the sun. But there are some more easygoing cheeses, who not only don’t mind the heat, they’d actually really nothing more than to join the meat and veggies on the grill. Here are some ideas for your Memorial Day grill-fests (and beyond) so that you can still fulfill your cheese quota (what, you don’t have one of those?).

For your classic hamburgers:

Blue cheese means business. Bleu d’Auverge has a sharp, clean taste with hints of melted butter and a bright touch of spiciness. It’s creamy yet crumbly, making it perfect for topping your beef patties. If you like the sharp flavor of cheddar on your burgers, but want to try something different, I’d suggest Mimolette Vielle. This orange cheese packs a wallop of savory nuttiness. It’s quite dense, so leave it out for a bit before you slice it. You could also go with the tried-and-true Comté, which melts beautifully and would be amazing with some caramelized onions from the grill.

For the true cheese lover, who can’t let all the summer fruit and vegetables have all the fun, try this gem of a recipe suggested by one of our regulars. Our Le Pommier Camembert is the perfect consistency for grilling, and some consider it the best pasteurized Camembert on the U.S. market.

Camembert Au “B.B.Q”

Ingredients: One hot grill

One wheel of Camembert cheese

Remove paper wrapping from cheese; transfer cheese back into wooden box. Make a well into the center of the warm charcoals; arrange boxed cheese into the center of the well and cover the box with warm charcoals. Watch carefully, so it doesn’t get overly melted. It is ready when cheese just pushes up the top of the box, after approximately 10 minutes. Remove the top of the box, remove cheese crust with the tip of a knife and enjoy, dipping in bits of baguette.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Bistro Laurent Tourondel

For fair-weather fun in foul times, we love the Bistro Laurent Tourondel cookbook. With impeccable technique and classic sauces, this book will help you create the hearty, convivial atmosphere and deep, homey taste of outdoor grilling in the warmth of your kitchen. With recipes like Tapenade-Stuffed Leg of Lamb and Braised Short Ribs with Garlic-Thyme Brown Butter, you won’t even miss the sunshine!

Thanks for reading! See you soon.

Abi & Rachel

and

Steve Winston and Sharon Baden, Owners

Advertisements

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 4/22 Friday, Apr 23 2010 

A new home.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue….

Setting up a new store is a little bit like making a home, and for an auspicious beginning, so the adage goes, you need things old, new, borrowed, and blue. We had plenty of new (cheeses, meat, and wines), lots of blue (checkered butcher paper and sky blue cutting boards), and we borrowed The Spanish Table’s newsletter for a while. But now, we have something old as well: a resurrected wine rack that until 2001 displayed French wines at former restaurant Brie and Bordeaux. After opening Eva Restaurant in the Brie and Bordeaux location, James Hondros tucked the rack away in his garage, where it collected a herd of dust bunnies for nine years. Housing French wines, not dust bunnies, seems to be its true destiny however, as the towering rack is once again filled with wines. Inspired by their road trip from Avignon to Beaune, Steve and Sharon brought it out of James’ garage and gave it a home at Paris Grocery. The wines that grace its shelves come from the countryside of France and have been selected for their quality, value and reflection of the terroir. Sharon and Steve even picked up some cute little metal signs when they were in Burgundy over Easter weekend that direct you to the major French wine regions. By the way, having stopped in the major towns along the Rhone, including Châteauneuf-de-Pape, Gigondas, and Crozes-Hermitage to taste wines (and cheeses), they promise that you will be swept away by the 2007 Rhones.

Wines @ PG

Raise a glass with us and some of our favorite 2007 Rhônes!

Brigitte, the friendly beetle, makes this label easy to remember! (And trust us, you'll want to come back for more.)

2007 Domaine des Escaravailles Les Sabliers Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($14.99)

Domaine des Escaravailles is known for its fine Rasteau. But Giles Ferran, grandson of founder Jean-Louis Ferran, gives a treat with this affordable and delicious Cotes-du-Rhone. Mostly Grenache blended with 20% Syrah and 10% Carignan, this wine is a lovely addition to any dinner party and will complement grilled or braised meats, roasted root vegetables and hearty stews.
“Shows the richness of the vintage with crushed plum and macerated cherry fruit, with fresh acidity carrying additional notes of mesquite, black tea and mulled spice through the lengthy finish. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now through 2010. 3,000 cases made.”
90 points Wine Spectator

2007 Domaine Alary Cairanne Côtes-du-Rhône Villages ($27.99)
“A brilliant blockbuster … Composed of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, all from a vineyard planted in 1961, this amazing wine possesses an inky/ruby/purple color in addition to a sweet perfume of black and blue fruits, kirsch, lavender, licorice, spice box, and earth. Transcending its appellation and price point, this is a superb wine that should drink beautifully for 10-15+ years.”
93 points Wine Spectator

Cheeses @ PG

We have fresh wheels of customer favorites: Bleu de Bocage, 1 yr Aged Comte, and Le Somport!

A young Bleu de Bocage, in full beauty.

Thanks for reading, we’ll see you soon!D