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

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Paris Grocery News, 6/11 Saturday, Jun 12 2010 

They smile because they're thinking about all the delicious cheese at Paris Grocery!

Show your colors

Since Steve and Sharon are carousing around Spain and Portugal, some of us have (maybe) been using the computers to sneak in glances at the FIFA matches. We’re just trying to create an authentic atmosphere. Isaac even said he’d buy us a round if France beats Mexico next week. To lend some snazz to your festivities, we have stickers and French flags large and small. Don’t forget that le foot is always more fun with cheese, charcuterie, and a few glasses of wine! And yes, we have some recommendations for you.

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

2006 Mas de la Dame Les Baux de Provence “La Gourmande” ($15.99)
Mas de la Dame is a certified organic estate on the rocky slopes of the Alpilles mountains. The Faye family has been growing grapes and olives there for four generations, committed to preserving the natural beauty of the estate using techniques such as hand-harvesting. Equal parts Grenache and Syrah, “La Gourmande” is a full-bodied, rich, and layered wine. Smooth raspberry, blackberry, and vanilla flavors are anchored by tones of scorched earth and licorice. The finish displays delicious notes of cherry skin and spice. Mas de la Dame wines have become part of France’s cultural landscape, distinctive in their squat Calvados bottles, and mentioned by Simone de Beauvoir in her memoirs.

2009 Domaine Sorin “Terra Amata” Côtes-de-Provence Rosé ($10.99)
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, excellent matches for many styles of cuisine. The Côtes-de-Provence rosé is their best-known wine, a lovely, dusky salmon colored wine. It is a blend of both red and white grapes, primarily Grenache (40%), with the five Southern Rhône reds and two local whites, Rolle (5%)and Orgi (5%). It is rich and fruit forward, full of strawberry and raspberry, with nice acidity and a hint of spice on the finish. Pour yourself a glass and you will feel like you’re on the Riviera!

2009 Domaine Sorin Bandol Rosé ($17.99)
Bandol, located right along the Mediterranean between Marseille and Toulon, is the spiritual home of Mourvèdre. The rosés from this tiny AOC have been lauded by the likes of Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch, and with Domaine Sorin’s blend of Mourvèdre (60%) and Grenache (40%), you’ll join in the chorus of praise. Produced in a much more limited quantity than the “Terra Amata”, this rosé is floral and peachy, with great verve and a seamless finish. It is perfect with summer fare such as seafood pastas, grilled fish with fennel seed and herbs, or vegetables with pistou.

2007 Domaine Sorin Bandol ($24.99)
A voluptuous red wine, the Bandol from Domaine Sorin is 85% Mourvedre, with Syrah (10%) and Carignan (5%). It is fermented in huge oak casks, and then transferred to barrels for a 16-month aging period. Blackberry, tobacco, and dark fruit are fused with earthy notes of leather, cedar, and a chewy finish. Spectacular with lamb and red meats, this wine is a favorite at Campagne Restaurant.

Cheese @ PG

Swiss, Swiss, French: three new cheeses we love.

Scharfe Maxx
A slightly smoky, deeply beefy, and immensely tangy cheese from Switzerland. Aged for 6 months, this thermalized cow’s milk cheese is washed with brine and herbs, giving it a powerful and sharp (scharfe) flavor and a dense, creamy texture. A fantastic melting cheese! $6.75/quarter lb

Moser Brie
From the Swiss cheesemaker Moser in Switzerland. This bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese is washed with riesling-sylvaner wine, imparting notes of flowers and apples. Creamy, sweet, and earthy: you’ll love this little brie! $11.99/each

Bucherondin
This tangy and slightly savory cheese from the Loire Valley is like two cheeses in one: next to the rind it’s buttery and smooth, while in the center it’s light and creamy. Amazing with Loire whites and delicious as is or melted. Try thin slices layered on top of a summer vegetable tart and bake to toasty perfection. Bonus: check out the price! $3.99/quarter lb

Food @ PG

Cheese’s favorite cracker.

Feeling the need for a cracker that would make for delicious pairings with our wide range of cheeses, we looked around and finally chose the 34 Degree Crispbreads from Colorado. They’re baked without oil, delivering a light and airy cracker with delicate flavor. We’ve got tons of ideas for each flavor:

Natural: This neutral cracker is a pure flavor vehicle. Try it with sharp or pungent cheeses, such as Munster, Scharfe Maxx, and earthy blues such as Fourme D’Ambert. Also great for pâtés.

Sesame
: Adds a touch of nuttiness to buttery bries and triple creams, such as Fromager d’Affinois. Also great with semi-soft cow’s milk cheeses like St. Nectaire or Le Somport.

Cracked Pepper: Delicious with young and aged goat cheeses such as Pave de Jadis and Bucherondin. Also fantastic with our salami from Zoe’s Meats.

Rosemary: Calls out for fresh chèvre, such as Le Picandou or the herb-coated Fleur Verte. Would also bring out the grassy notes in one of our Basque sheep’s milk cheeses, such as Abbaye de Belloc.

Lemon Zest: Try it with Saveur de Maquis, a Corsican sheep’s milk cheese with a ricotta-like texture, or Tome Jacquin, a fudgy goat cheese with great complexity. Great with fresh berries.

Feed your Mind @ PG

Merde: The real French you were never taught at school

You’ll be able to properly insult your rivals and brag about your team with this book and its sequel, “Merde Encore”. They are the ultimate guides to French slang in all its colloquial glory.

Craves @ PG

Fentiman's Curiosity Cola

A naturally fermented soda, with ginger and herbal extracts.

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!