Paris Treats: The Ooey Gooey Edition

“SHHHH” BY JEF AEROSOL, CENTRE POMPIDOU MURAL’S MESSAGE? STOP, LOOK AND APPRECIATE THE CITY! (PHOTO BY T. BRACK)

Queen For A Day is my mantra while on holiday (Image: T. Brack's archives, Marie France, 1950)

“Queen For A Day” is my mantra while on holiday (Image: T. Brack’s archives, Marie France, June 1950)

By Theadora Brack

This week, let’s talk turkey! Grocery store chains may be your best bets for cutting costs while living in Paris, and they’re perfectly fine and dandy for long-term stays. But what if you’re visiting for just a week or two? Well then, I say, live it up like there’s no tomorrow. “Queen For A Day!” has always been my mantra while holiday.

When visiting one of the finest food capitals of the world—a place chock-full of bountiful “Bon Produits” (specialty shops), all managed by certified experts who are more than willing to share their vast wealth of knowledge—it is absolutely not the time to stoop to shopping at chain grocery stores just to save a few centimes. If you’re in Paris long-term, sure, but if it’s just for a week or two, then take in all those wonderful boulangeries, pâtisseries, chocolatiers, confiseries, glaciers, éspiceries, fromageries, charcuteries, poissonneries, caves, and cafés with a clear conscience. That’s what you’re here for.

And don’t be shy. Ask for recommendations, and in the process you’ll take home more than the receipt. Make every meal an experience! After all, it was Julia Child’s very first lunch in France that changed her life, and set her cookbook project in motion. Years later she wrote, “I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite!”

I completely agree. Here are a few of my favorite little pleasures not to miss while you’re in Paris. Grab a fork, and let’s dig in! Bon Appétit!

“Baguette Mixte” at the affordable and cozy Café Palais Royal at 202 Rue Saint-Honoré (with a view) in the afternoon sunshine (Photo by Theadora Brack)

“Baguette Mixte” at the Café Palais Royal on Rue Saint-Honoré  (Photo by T. Brack)

1. Baguette Sandwiches

On my very first trip to Paris, I ate practically nothing but baguette sandwiches, night and day. I was hooked. Still, after all these years, my love is here to stay. And what’s not to adore? Individually wrapped, often in beautifully illustrated bags, they’re delectable, affordable, and portable. My favorite award-winning boulangeries are all located in Montmartre on rue des Abbesses: Au Levain d’Antan (at #6), Le Coquelicot (#24), and Le Grenier à Pain (#38). And I’m not just partial because their in my ’hood—they regularly rank tops in the annual city-wide bake-offs.

How are the baguettes dressed this season? Take heed, indeed! They are dressed to fill: Baguette Cantal Beurre (with Cantal cheese and butter), Baguette Jambon Beurre Gruyère (ham, butter and Gruyère cheese), Baguette Thon Crudités Oeufs (tuna, lettuce, tomato and hard-boiled eggs), Baguette Salami (salami and butter), Baguette Poulet Crudités (chicken, lettuce and tomato), Baguette Camembert (Camembert cheese), and Baguette Saucisson Sec (with cured sausage).

“Butter of the gods” is what I call the velvety Brillat-Savarin (Photo by Theadora Brack)

“Butter of the gods” is what I call the velvety Brillat-Savarin (Photo by T. Brack)

2. Brillat-Savarin Cheese

Butter. Brillat. Butter. Brillat. That’s what he said. With torrid glances, I thank my cheesemonger friend Ishai (extraordinaire!), for introducing me to this very velvety, voluptuous beauty. I’m a fool for fresh salted butter, and Brillat-Savarin lies just above that line, so for me it was love at first bite. In fact, I squealed. Read my hips. Bells were ringing and rippling! On the up and up, this decadent triple-cream cheese from Rouen contains a whopping 75% butterfat and about 40% fat overall.

Yes, this little piggy will be returning to the market for more. Serve it with a sparkling wine or a palate-cleansing beer. The carbonation will cut the fat, while enhancing its milky mushroom flavor. While in Paris, sample Brillat-Savarin as a fresh young’un, I scream. Heck, we all scream for triple cream. Moo, la la.

Feeling very much like a voluptuous tarte at the Boulangerie Pâtisserie Maison Landemaine at 26 rue des Martyrs (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Heaven at the Pâtisserie Maison Landemaine on rue des Martyrs (Photo by T. Brack)

3. Tartes

Psst! Pâtisseries are on practically every block in the city, so keep your head and be selective. I recommend starting your pie quest with a little “window licking” (faire du lèche-vitrine) because often it is possible to judge a shop by is cover—or window display. Keep your eyes peeled for a line of customers snaking out the door, too. That’s always a good sign.

My favorite dinner parties always end with slices from heaven from Les Petits Mitrons. Located in Abbesses-Montmartre at 26 rue Lepic, this little pink pie shop is just up the street from the Moulin Rouge. You can’t beat Chef Samie Didda’s caramelized but light and fluffy bottoms. Single portions are available, too. His soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies are also to dive for, my friend.

Embracing the sugar rush at the Pâtisserie Géard Mulot at 93 Rue Glacière (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Embracing the sugar rush at the Pâtisserie Géard Mulot on Rue Glacière (Photo by T. Brack)

4. Macarons

“We all have sins to confess!” That’s what she said. She being Catherine de Medici, whose Italian pastry master chefs introduced the macaron to France in the 16th century, and they’ve been a dessert staple in old Parigi ever since.

My heart belongs to the macarons by Gérard Mulot. Bold and beautiful is how he rolls. Pouring on the pizazz with a vibrant palette since 1975, from the get-glow, Mulot’s shops, macaroons, and gift boxes have been bursting with his trademark set of fluorescent colors. Tours of the flagship store and workshop at 93 Rue Glacière are offered. Contact the shop prior to your visit.

Dreaming about Meringue Caps at the Boulangerie at 101 rue de Rennes (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Dreaming about Meringue Caps at the Boulangerie on rue de Rennes (Photo by T. Brack)

5. Meringue

Confession: When I’m out tasking in Paris, I always carry at least one meringue in my trench coat pocket or bag at all times. Sweet and crunchy, it’s the ultimate instant sugar rush, making the perfect portable snack. Be choosy! Goldilocks was right—size does matter—so I recommend going with a medium-sized chunk because the smaller ones are sometimes on the dry side, and the larger ones are occasionally too soft.

You’ll find ceiling-high piles of photogenic meringues in pâtisseries throughout the city. My current favorite sweet spot is the Boulangerie de Rennes at 101 rue de Rennes. You can’t miss them. Here the pretties hold court in the shop’s street side vitrine. They’ve never failed to stop me in my fast-prancing, post-Zara shopping tracks. There, I’ve said it.

Christophe Roussel’s signature chocolate-dipped macaron, Montmartre (Photo by T. Brack)

6. Chocolate

I felt the earth move in my hand, the first time I tried one of Christophe Roussel’s chocolate-dipped macarons. Located in Montmartre, the shop’s interior is trippy, boasting a tie-dyed, psychedelic color scheme in pink, green, purple and orange. Here I definitely feel a “Groovitational” pull and—in a fit of rave—I always buy too many to count.

In 2010 Christophe received Paris’s “Salon du Chocolat Prix Spécial Innovation” and he’s still famous for adding signature twists to his confections. Like sirens, they sing to me. Lately, I’ve been crushing on his candy lips (inspired by Man Ray and Lee Miller), along with the lollipop, lollipop-shaped macarons—totally squealed in a Chordettes sort of way, I assure you.

Is it possible to have too many addictions or loves? I don’t think so.

As Julia Child herself said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation!”

Make every meal memorable, Champs-Élysées (Slide: T. Brack’s archives, Paris, 1958)

BRACK Pleasures 100

Husting, Bustling scene at the Cafe de la Paix (Slide: T. Brack’s archives, Paris, 1961)

Love, Actually is all around us! Mask by artist Gregos (Photo by T. Brack)

 

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64 thoughts on “Paris Treats: The Ooey Gooey Edition

  1. You should have warned us we might need a drool bib before reading this post! Gorgeous pictures and delectable descriptions as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! A drool bib! During your thrift shopping sprees, I’m sure you spot more than a few funny-looking bibs.

      And by the way, your treasures and finds always make me smile!

      Theadora

      (I’m still looking for my Baltimore row house climbing Kitty . . .)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Almost sacrilege to be sitting here eating from a packet of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles 😟 but what a delight to be reading your great delectables 😃.

    I keep meaning to tell you how much I enjoy both your shots and those from your fabulous archive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Patti!! I do love old found photographs and slides. The stories. The mysteries. The eye contact. The body language. Fascinating! I believe it’s time to visit my photo dealer again at the flea market . . . I’m hooked, and the archive keeps growing, growing, growing . . .

      Confession: Chips are always my rainy day friend!
      Theadora

      Like

  3. Yummy… 🙂
    Thanks for a lovely post.
    Detail: the Beaubourg street art is scheduled to figure in one of my next posts. I’s the one near the fountain with Nikki de St-Phalle sculptures right?
    You beat me to it! 🙂
    Have a lovely week, despite strikes and all that.
    😉
    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Jef Aerosol’s Shhhh! mural overlooks the fountain with Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculptures! I’m looking forward to your post.

      Keep us in the loop, Brian!
      Theadora

      (A few years ago, I got to see her L’Oiseau de Feu sur l’Arche (Firebird) at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina in the states. I got teary. It’s wonderful, wonderful.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Is it still at Beaubourg? Last time I went it was a bit cloudy. So the colours were not great. And there are so many… pieces of Niki’s work. I need to go back to my files. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear from you!! I agree. I love Jef Aerosol’s Shhhh! mural and the mask by Gregos. Fabulous messages. Stop, Look, and Appreciate!

      And thanks for your swell words!
      Theadora

      Like

  4. I’ll have a baguette sandwich and a chocolate-dipped macaron! Paris is not in my future but I did have brunch at La Madeleine in the Houston Galleria last Sunday and enjoyed crepe and a desert that I could not pronounce. This post is deliciously tempting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Très bon…or maybe that should be très bonbon! Exactly what I hoped I’d see when I saw the title of the post. You never disappoint, Theadora. I’m just sad these have to be virtual calories. 🙂

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci, Janet!! How was your trip to the Chicago Institute of Art? One of my favorite havens in the world! I love to watch people interact with Gustave 1877 Caillebotte Paris Street; Rainy Day. A perfect backdrop for a photo-op!

      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Like

      • I didn’t go last Friday, as weather was terrible. I’m going tomorrow (or today, depending when you read this.) I’m looking forward to seeing the Van Gogh’s Bedrooms exhibit and I’ll look for the one you mentioned.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m looking forward to your gallery report, Janet! (And don’t leave the museum without a swing around the bookshop. I love their sale table!)

        Enjoy the trip!
        T.

        Like

  6. Theadora, it is delicious post. All the things you mentioned here are too tasty. I am not the sweet stuff person but I could not resist to try all of that delicious treats.
    We lived in apartment over the corner of Rue Mouffetard Market. Every single morning I came there to buy something for the breakfast. Then in front of open window we had lovely breakfast and listened the morning birds songs. It was awesome! By day time and evening we usually came somewhere for lunch and dinner.
    Another day we had lunch at the Cafe de la Paix and asked for coffee at the end. Waiter asked us if we would like “americano” and has been surprised we ask him for espresso. Actually, we drink coffee with cream or milk only in the morning before 10:00. After lunch, dinner or any daytime we drink espresso. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with french espresso.
    Anyway, food in Paris is delicious with no doubt!
    Thank you for sharing all the names and addresses of the places with these delicatessens. It is impossible to read your post and see the pictures when you are hungry. 🙂
    Have a nice weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a beautiful passage, Alexander!! I loved reading about your flashbacks. So your flat was near the Rue Mouffetard Market? Lucky you! It’s a great area. Did you take any photographs of the market? If so, please share a link. I think you did. I think I remember a shot of a woman in a doorway?

      And did you have a favorite bakery? Curious baked goods fanatics want to know!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have some pictures of that lovely Market. Someday I’ll show them. Unfortunately, I am still full time programmer and do not have time for blogging. Do it just in between my job duties. 🙂

        Like

  7. excellent, comme d’hab’… ❤ it's almost 11pm in Kyushu, Japan and I'm gonna have sweet dreams… 🙂
    * * *
    domo arigato & sayonara, young lady! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • And sweet dreams to you, Mélanie! I’ve been enjoying your wonderful, wonderful dispatches from Japan. Gorgeous descriptions. Gorgeous photographs.

      Enjoy your trip!! 🙂
      Theadora

      Like

  8. Theadora,
    Thank God, I am just finishing a bagel from Zabars or I would be rushing around the west side looking for a baguette sandwich. Well, there is always “snack time”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Thom! And oh, I miss the bagels from Zabar’s, along with their black and white cookies!! I completely agree. There is always time for another snack time.

      A great way to live!
      Theadora

      Like

  9. Theadora you have done it again! Drawn me back to Paris. A couple of visits ago we spent a day with a friend who lived in rue Lepic. What a delightful part of town! We joined a snaking queue at lunchtime. Were you the one who knew exactly what to order? And then vintage shops…Were you the one looking at jaunty berets? But now, the ooey gooeys. Another visit! Thanks, Philippa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci, Philippa!! I love the area in the rue Lepic neighborhood. Did you have a favorite bakery? So many award-wining boulangeries and patisseries in Abbesses! Including Sammie’s pie shop. My good friend Sue owns a bead shop on rue Lepic, located across the street from Van Gogh’s old third floor apartment on 54 rue Lepic. A hustling, bustling neighborhood.

      And speaking of works of art, did you paint any Abbesses scenes?
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, regrettably no Theadora. I soaked it all up through the skin and then we sighed our way through the silence of the cemetery. How inspiring it all was. No sketchbook in hand, but a camera. So there is hope! I get such a kick out of reading your posts btw. Thanks for your fabulous output! Philippa

        Liked by 1 person

  10. My husband and I will be back in Paris this fall, and I’m already dreaming of all the baguettes and macarons I’m going to eat. That cheese will be a new one for me – I’ll have to hunt it down. Anything with that much fat can’t be bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, enjoy planning your trip, Erin! I’m already looking forward to your dispatches. Yes, do try the Brillat Savarin. Feel free to ask questions. I’m currently writing a special nod to the macaron. So stay tuned. I plan to conduct a little tasting experiment with friends. At this time, Gerard Mulot is my favorite. Love the taste. Love the colors.

      Enjoy the week! Et Bon Voyage!!
      Theadora

      Like

  11. My teeth are aching! And the title! Wonderful! When you write your nod to the macaron, be sure to consider the “vrai” macaron from the pays Basque. I was introduced to it last year and am so completely committed to it. As much as for the scrumpdiddlyumptious taste (you may quote me on that 🙂 ), as the fact that the recipe hasn’t changed in 400 years. Here’s my take. http://patriciasandsauthor.com/2016/03/the-real-deal/ Bisous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very interesting!! Thanks for sharing the link, Patricia. I loved your description:

      “This plain, unvarnished, rustic gem is simultaneously crisp and tender. The pure almond essence is unsullied by supplemental flavours and fragrances. There are no variations. That’s the rule!”

      And speaking of gorgeous descriptions, I’m really looking forward to reading your new “I Promise You This” book! Ah, I love the cover. So this is the third book in your “Love in Provence” series. Very exciting news!

      Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/Promise-This-Love-Provence-Book-ebook/dp/B018QUGRR0?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

      Enjoy the weekend!
      Theadora

      Like

  12. I’m salivating all over my keyboard! On my first trip, I was sooooooo impressed with the food – baguettes in particular were beautiful (at the time they put British sandwiches to shame). Sadly, I’m now allergic to cow’s milk, so can’t eat any of it 😦 Paris just won’t be the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Richard! Yes, I’m also a big time fan of baguette sandwiches. Allergic to cow’s milk? The jambon beurre sandwich is another personal favorite. Ham + Butter + Bread = Heaven!! Oh, SIGH.

      Enjoy the weekend!
      T.

      Like

  13. This has to be my favorite Theadora post yet!! It all looked so inviting–and as many commenters have mentioned, brought back delicious memories of trips to Paris. But mostly I love love your writing– “very velvety voluptuous beauty”! and “Read my hips.” You just make it all so fresh and fun. So I’m adding this to my long list of your posts to review when we someday make our way back to Paris! You are amazing! Happy eating ahead… xox

    Like

  14. Fabulously yummy post! I vow to return to Paris one day! But at least next month I’ll have the opportunity to visit Nice, aix en Provence, Arles, Saint Remy, and Ajaccio. We’ll see what treats pop up there! 🙂

    Like

  15. Wonderful suggestions…each and every one. I’ve given information about your blog to friends that may be going to Paris soon. I hope that they read this post as well as your others.

    Like

  16. Excellent collection of culinary treasures. I’m right with you regarding the baguette sandwiches!!! … and of course with a cheese and/or dessert chaser!

    Like

  17. It is these existential moments when you make a decision to take your life out of the ordinary and into the sublime that will change you forever. It is the perfect baguette, the sublime Brillat-Savaren cheese, the heart stopping macarons and chocolates that will forever identify you and as one who understands the perfect less is the perfect way to simply being.

    Like

  18. Pingback: A Paris promenade # 3 | Equinoxio

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