Paris Grocery News 6/4 Sunday, Jun 6 2010 

Tome de Bordeaux, a cheese "centerfold" from Culture magazine! Photo by Gregory Cherin.

Recently we got our hands on Culture Magazine’s summer edition, and it fell open immediately to its ogle-worthy centerfold, Tome de Bordeaux. It’s stunning, and we just had to have it. We already know and love Tome d’Acquitaine, an aged goat cheese bathed in Sauternes, which also comes from the Jean d’Alos caves. Like the Aquitaine, the Tome de Bordeaux is made with goat milk and has the same beautiful snow white interior and fresh, floral aromas. But this cheese has another layer (a thing which Seattleites can always appreciate). This tome wears an amazing Technicolor coat of dried green herbs, including fennel, rosemary, thyme, savory, and oregano. On top of that is a starburst pattern of paprika, juniper berries, white peppercorns, and bird’s-eye peppers. It’s seriously attractive. The cheese is soft yet compact, with an enticing aroma and a clean, sweet, and earthy flavor. Get a little bit of the rind for some texture and powerful herbal flavor. This cheese calls out to be enjoyed by itself, with a little fruit confit (we’ve got suggestions) and a glass of white wine, or even a full-bodied rosé like the 2007 Marsannay Pinot Noir Rosé. We’re offering the Tome de Bordeaux for $8.25 for a quarter pound.

We also have some other fantastic new arrivals in the cheese case, which you can read about in the Cheese section below!

Wine @ PG
Buy any six bottles and get 10% off!

The Val de Loire is a wine “safety zone” for me. With whites and reds that are extremely food and wallet friendly, they’re always a pleasure to recommend to the lost souls who wander into the shop looking for something that will quench their thirst, and maybe satisfy a deeper need, at dinner time.

2008 Les Haut Vingot Anjou $8.99
A perennial favorite, this 100% Chenin Blanc is a great wine for cheeses ranging soft and creamy to sharp and nutty. Aromatic, with pear and tropical fruit notes, it is a fresh, young drinking white. Grown on the white limestone soil of Anjou, it is round on the palate, with a zippy finish!

2005 Chateau de Bellevue “Le Croix Picot” Savennières $18.99
In this Savennières, Chenin Blanc unveils its full sophistication and suavité. It grows on the esteemed vineyard of “Le Croix Picot”, known for its “crimson soil”, a mix of sandstone and shale. The wine is fermented in barrels with natural yeast. Elegant, with beeswax, quince, bread dough, and lime flowers on the nose. Plump, yet with a clean, crisp finish. Wonderfully balanced, it is a superlative pairing for the whole gamme of cheeses.

2008 Clos des Briords Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie VV $16.99
While there may not be a more natural pairing than Muscadet and oysters, straying from the beaten paths will bring delightful surprises. The high acidity and low alcohol brighten flavors and refresh the palate, enhancing and marrying the flavors of seafood, herbs, and seasonings. This one comes from an old vine planting, and the wine is aged on the lees for 18-24 months. With the exquisite minerality that is typical of Muscadet in this appellation, the wine exudes fresh notes of limestone and sea breeze. The slight salinity is off-set by a touch of creaminess on the palate. It is by far, my new favorite white in our shop!

“Bright straw. A piercing, energetic array of citrus and floral scents, complicated by strong minerality and a note of white pepper. Bitter lime pith and quinine flavors gain flesh and weight with air, taking a turn to sweeter tangerine and quince. Strikingly balanced and precise, with a long, spicy, mineral-dominated finish. This should be even better with a couple year of bottle age.92 points Stephen Tanzer

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. Limestone, chalk, crushed rocks, and a heady, enticing florality that is nevertheless retrained. Excellent texture. Philippe Raimbault, a ninth-generation producer, puts enormous care into his small family of wines, even hand-harvesting, which is rare for this region. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more perfect example of Sancerre!

2009 Chateau de la Bonnelière Touraine Rosé $13.99
Medium salmon, this northerly rosé comes from a biodynamic estate where the soil is dominated by flinty clay. Restricted yields lead to a medium weight with raspberry, minerality, a slight herbaceous tint and silky finish. Delicious and distinctive, made from 100% Cabernet Franc, this is a great wine for rosé-lovers who want to get their pink-wary friends hooked on rosé!

Cheese @ PG

George attacks our super-sized Cantal Doux.

It’s a blessing and a curse to be both a cheesemonger and obsessively detail-oriented. It’s been one of those crazy mornings with a large shipment of cheeses: cutting and wrapping the new arrivals, finding them a home in the case, and, of course, sampling them merrily. Along with the Tome de Bordeaux, here are some of our first impressions of the new cheeses on the block:

Bethmale Tradition Chèvre ($7.99/quarter lb): We already love our mixed-milk Bethmale and the glowering face of Jean Faup on its label. This version is made exclusively with goat’s milk. It has a semi-firm texture with tiny little eyes (holes) throughout, offering an airy, delicate feel on the palate. Not goaty at all, this cheese is sweet, nutty, and mild.

Bethmale Tradition Chevre, with Jean Faup looking sternly over his caves.

La Ramier Roux ($5.75/quarter lb): From the southwestern region of Tarn, near Toulouse, an area replete with medieval ruins. This washed-rind cow’s milk cheese is fruity and sweet, with a creamy, unctuous texture. We’ve declared it our new go-to “snack attack” fix. Try it with our best-selling 2007 Trois Bastides Côtes du Tarn.

La Cadenelle de Hyelzas ($8.25/quarter lb): What the Causses! This somewhat desolate area of limestone plateaus churns out some of my favorite cheeses because of their rustic, clean flavors. La Cadenelle is a sheep’s milk cheese with crushed juniper berries added to the curd during production. We love the slightly textured feel in the mouth and the hint of spice and earthiness from the juniper berries, which balanced the sweetness of the cheese.

Cheese meets classic martini in the Juniper berry infused La Cadenelle.

Cantal Doux ($4.49/quarter lb): This cheese is often referred to as “the cheddar of France.” We like it because it’s cut for us from a huge, beautiful wheel. When we tasted it this morning, it was particularly “cheddar-y”: mild and nutty, with a touch of sharpness on the finish. Try a Cantal and Apple Grilled Cheese sandwich: it’ll rock your lunchbox.


Charcuteire @ PG

It rhymes!

Two completely different kinds of salami, which we love for different reasons.

Duck Salami
: Uber-rich, this dry salami is cured with sea salt and garlic. Balanced flavors and a silky texture- exquisite!

Sweet Salami
: From Freybe comes this Hungarian-style salami with a creamy, finely ground texture. With a mild, vinegary flavor and a touch of garlic, this salami makes a stellar sandwich or pizza topper. Kids will love it, and so will you!

Feed Your Mind @ PG

French Feasts

Boasting 299 classic French recipes, the collection’s real treasure lies in its quirky notes and cartoons on French culture, local artisans (a sexy baker!), and kitchen wisdom. A great gift for the cook who is comfortable in the kitchen and has a sense of humor.

Just for Fun @ PG

Mini-Tagines for your table salt!

These are so cute they should be outlawed ($8.99/ea).

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and

Steve Winston & Sharon Baden, Owners

Paris Grocery News 5/20 Friday, May 21 2010 

One for all, and all for meat!

Lyon is such a meat market. Literally.

Like the musketeer, D’Artagnan Meats make a dashing addition to your dinner plans. The founder, Ariane Daguin, started the company to meet the demand for quality duck in the U.S.A. Moulard duck is the backbone of Gascony cuisine, Ariane’s (and d’Artagnan’s) homeland, where the locals have a special region of their brain reserved for duck recipes, traditions, and folklore (or so Ariane claims). Today, their lineup still includes duck confit, luscious slices of fresh foie gras, rillettes, and smoked duck breast. But they’ve expanded to carry amazing sausages, salamis, and terrines from duck, goose, rabbit, wild boar, beef and lamb. Now that the days linger deep into the evening, there’s nothing better than popping open a bottle of wine, tearing up a baguette, tossing crunchy greens and serving it a savory platter of meats while the sunlight slips away.

Wine @ PG
Get 10% off any six bottles

Gascony is not just a land of duck fat dripped cuisine; Côtes-de-Gascogne consistently produces some of our favorite whites and red at our favorite price point: $9.99!

2007 Sichel Rouge Côtes-de-Gascogne ($9.99)
We were all impressed at just how well-made this Vin de Pays showed to be. The Sichel family has properties in several regions of France, and they brought the expertise they’ve garnered to Gascony. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with some Tannat and Syrah, the Cotes de Gascogne is quite well-balanced, with medium tannins and a lovely persistence. The unusual blend is perfectly melded, its inky color hinting at the aromas of full red fruit, herbs and a hint of pepper. Great for merguez, smoked duck breast, and duck salami!

2008 Domaine de Mirail Colombard Côtes-de-Gascogne
($8.99)
An unbelievable value! This zippy white comes from a family farm in the heart of Armagnac. Cold-pressed to preserve the French Colombard grape’s fresh, fruity aromatics, the wine is then aged sur-lie for four months for added complexity. With loads of verve, this wine is great for salads; try it with a frisée salad with crispy ventrèche.

2009 Domaine de Cassagnoles Côtes-de-Gascogne ($9.99)
From a 76ha estate in Gascony come this blend of the local white trifecta: French Colombard, Ugni Blanc, and Gros Manseng. The first two grapes bring a crisp acidity, limestone, and citrus notes, while the Gros Manseng rounds out the wine with flavors of ripe stone fruit. A versatile, pleasurable wine that complements patés and cheeses.

2007 Seigneurs de Monbazillac ($11.99) 375mL
North of Gascony and east of Sauternes you can find the small appellation of Monbazillac. Like Sauternes, the wines produced here sweet, noble rot wines that are incredibly balanced. The fungus that covers the grapes after they begin to ripen not only imparts lovely aromas, it preserves the natural acid of the grapes even while the sugar content rises. Like clean honey, this blend of Sauvignon Blanc (30%), Semillon (60%), and Muscadelle (10%) has a vivid nose, with delicate floral notes, ripe apricot and honeysuckle. Surprisingly fresh, it is phenomenal with foie gras and bleu cheese.

Cheese @ PG

Look at these kids!

Fromagerie Picandine sits in the heart of the Périgord Blanc, a lush region of limestone plateaux, wide valleys, and rolling meadows. They produce some exquisite and adorable goat cheese specialties. While you can’t always judge a cheese by its packaging, or even its appearance or smell, with the Picandine cheeses, you definitely can. Their fantastic logo, a sinuous line drawing of a buck and doe nuzzling, lets you know that their cheeses come from the milk of happy goats in love. Le Picandou ($2.99 each) has that perfectly sweet-yet-sour flavor you look for in a fresh chèvre. It’s incredibly fresh-tasting and divinely creamy. We wrap the 1.4 ounce disks up individually, and they’ve become a customer favorite for a quick, convenient, and delicious snack. And I’m probably a little too thrilled about Picandou à Tartiner ($7.99 each), the same cheese in a 4.4 ounce resealable package. Now you can save a little for later. Finally, we have Bûchettes Picandine ($6.79 each), individually-wrapped packages of three “little logs” of aged goat cheese that would be perfect for a picnic. They have just enough age to offer some nice acidity and nuttiness, but still possess the subtle tang of a fresh chèvre.

The Picandine goat cheeses make great on-the-go snacks, but you can also ooh-and-ah over them at home. Broil it on rustic bread, mix it with pasta, or dollop a bit on top of a salad. Oh, and did I mention that they’re really cute?

Charcuterie @ PG
It rhymes!

Duck: D’Artagnan’s slices of Raw Duck Foie Gras ($98/lb) are so plump and creamy looking, they’re like silk-sheathed down pillows in your mouth! We also have a ready-to-eat Foie Gras Terrine ($24.79). Don’t forget about Duck Leg Confit ($11.99ea) and the peppery Smoked Duck Breast ($30.99/lb), both are delicious on salad.

Sausage: Both the dry Pork Saucisson Sec ($8.99/8oz) and the gamey Wild Boar Saucisson ($6.49/4oz) are luscious. In fresh sausage, we have too many awesome flavors to list… you’ll have to come see for yourself! And don’t forget about Ventrèche — once you start using salted pork belly, it is mighty hard to stop.

Terrines: We have three kinds of terrine in convenient 8oz molds: Mousse Truffée, with chicken and turkey livers and truffles; Mousse Basquaise, from duck liver, Port, and red bell peppers; and the chicken and turkey liver Peppercorn Mousse. They are all only $10.99!

Pantry Items: It’s always good to have Duck Fat ($7.99/7oz), Veal Demi Glace ($8.99/7.5oz), and Black or White Truffle Butter ($9.99/3oz and $12.99/3oz) on hand! They add an easy elegance to the simplest dishes.

Confits & Chutneys

A little bit of relish is a great way to balance a cheese and charcuterie platter. Try L’Epicurien’s Grape Must Mustard ($12.99/7oz) on the Rabbit, Pork and Ginger Sausage, or the Shallot Confit (S10.49/7oz) with Saucisson Sec. Boat Street’s Pickled French Plums ($9.99) are delicious on Foie Gras and all kinds of Pate. We have mile-high shelving with all kinds of preserves: come mix and match at your pleasure!

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!