Archive for the ‘cheese’ Category

Tasting Parparoussis Estate Wines at Mavrommatis

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin
Thanassis Parparoussis

Thanassis Parparoussis – Winemaker
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

We recently had the pleasure of tasting Greek wines from the Parparoussis Estate, a winery near the port city of Patras on the north coast of the Peloponnese. The tasting was hosted by Mavrommatis, a wine shop located at 49, rue Censier in the 5th arrondissement of Paris.

The Parparoussis winery was founded in 1974. Second-generation winemaker Thanassis Parparoussis (pictured above) presented a remarkable sampling of reds, whites, and fortified wines to the delight of invitees and passersby.

The Gifts of Dionysus - Sideritis

The Gifts of Dionysus
A Sideritis Varital

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis

We were quite impressed by a white table wine made from Sideritis, a grape that is cultivated throughout the Peloponnese. Called “Τα Δώρα του Διονύσου” (The Gifts of Dionysus), it is appropriately named. It is a crisp wine, very pale gold in color, with a mild citrus bouquet and delicate minerality. We thought that it might accompany goat cheese well, so we purchased a bottle to taste later.

We then went to the nearby Fromagerie Veron and purchased a pyramid of Valançay goat cheese from La Ferme des Cossonnières. This cheese has a smooth, chalky texture, is slightly pungent, and tastes somewhat like rich cottage cheese. Back home we tasted both together and learned that our hunch was right—the wine and the cheese married quite well. Thank you, Dionysus, for your gift!

Mavrommatis
49, rue Censier
75005 Paris

Fromagerie Patrick Veron
105 Rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris

* * * * * * *
Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

Annual Paris Tweet Up

Friday, January 31st, 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Priscilla Pilon’s Annual Paris Tweet Up is now history, and what a blast it was!

38 Saint Louis

38 Saint Louis
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

It was held yesterday evening at a cheese shop called 38 Saint Louis located on rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Isle.  Operated by Thibault Lhirondelle and Didier Grosjean, this is a great delicatessen that sells cheese, wine, sausages, and fine foods.  Before setting foot there, I never realized that cheese could be so much fun.

Thibault Lhirondelle and Didier Grosjean

Thibault Lhirondelle and Didier Grosjean
Proprietors of 38 Saint Louis
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Pierre-André Rouard

Pierre-André Rouard (left)
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Pierre-André Rouard of Origine Gourmet presented some of the finest salmon that I have ever tasted.  It was served with a glass of diluted Highland Park whisky (2/3 water, 1/3 whisky), an eminently appropriate accompaniment for salmon.

Frédéric Royan

Frédéric Royan
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Wine merchant Frédéric Royan presented four wines (two white and two red), which we tasted one at a time, each with a different cheese.

Thibault Ringing Bell

Thibault Ringing Bell
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Thibault would call people to order from time to time so that he could announce the names of the cheeses, each of which was paired with an appropriate wine.

Cheese Board

Cheese Board
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Pictured above:  Fontenille Selles-sur-Cher goat cheese (left-hand corner), Comté Charles Arnaud, aged 20 months (center), Saint-Marcellin (right-hand corner), Fourme d’Ambert au lait cru (lower corner), .

Baguettes in a Bread Basket

Baguettes in a Bread Basket
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Fresh, chewy bread from Boulangerie Martin, a bakery shop located on the same street, was served with the cheese.

Lily Heise

Lily Heise
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Lily “La Tigresse” Heise, who rocked the world with her explosive kiss-and-tell memoir Je t’aime, Me neither, was there.

Priscilla Pilon and Kathy Reichart

Priscilla Pilon and Kathryn Reichart
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Priscilla (who organized the event) poses with avid tweeter Kathryn Reichart.

Pouring red for Anna Eklund-Cheong

Pouring Red for Anna Eklund-Cheong
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Anna Eklund-Cheong of Paris Haiku was there.

Happy People

Happy People
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Pictured (with faces to camera, from left to right):
Mary Kay Bosshart of Out and About in Paris
Frédéric Royan
Leah Walker of Leah Travels
Colleen Shaughnessy-Larsson of Colleen’s Paris

Not pictured:
Tom Reeves of Discover Paris and Paris Insights
Monique Y. Wells of Entrée to Black Paris
Nathalie of The Parisienne
Richard Reichart
Susan Ferguson
Patty Jenkins

Other names will be added as they are communicated to me.

A good time was had by all! A big thank you goes out to Priscilla for organizing such a great event.

38 Saint Louis
38, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile
75004 Paris
Tel.: 01.46.33.30.00

* * * * * * *
Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

Tasting Fig Bread with Mont d’Or

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin
Fig Bread and Mont d'Or

Fig Bread and Mont d’Or
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

We have occasionally been stopping by a new bakery located on the corner of rue Flatters and rue Bertholet called Les Pains d’Alexis. Although Alexis does not produce a wide variety of breads, the ones that he makes are delicious. They are sold by the kilogram and customers can request the amount that they desire.

We recently purchased a half-loaf of Alexis’ fig bread and decided to taste it with Mont d’Or, a creamy, runny, raw cow’s-milk cheese made in the Franche-Comté region of France. Our favorite place for cheese is Patrick Veron on rue Mouffetard.

I told Mr. Veron that we would be eating the cheese right away, so he selected one for me that was particularly ripe.

Back home, we sliced the fig bread thinly and spread it with the runny Mont d’Or. Mr. Vernon had selected the cheese well—it had a wonderfully mild “welcome to the farm” aroma and a slightly tangy taste. The bread was chewy and tasted earthy. What a great flavor combination!

Les Pains d'Alexis and Fig Bread

Les Pains d’Alexis and Fig Bread
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Les Pains d’Alexis
18, rue Flatters
75005 Paris
Tel: 01.43.31.03.51

Patrick Veron and Mont d'Or

Patrick Veron and Mont d’Or
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Fromagerie Patrick Veron
105, rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris
Tel: 01.47.07.55.79

* * * * * * *

Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

Christmas Beer and Cheese Paring with Elisabeth Pierre

Sunday, December 8th, 2013
Facebook Twitter Linkedin
Elizabeth Pierre with Mandrin Bière de Noël

Elizabeth Pierre with Mandrin Bière de Noël
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Just in time for the holiday season, I was recently invited to a Christmas beer and cheese paring organized by French bièreologue Elisabeth Pierre.

Christmas beers used to be brewed from the cereals that were left over in the granary at the end of the harvest season. Today, they are specially concocted for beer aficionados at Christmastime. At the tasting, which took place at Tempero restaurant in the 13th arrondissement, Elisabeth presented five different French artisanal Christmas beers and a selection of French and Swiss cheeses.

We tasted Mandrin Bière de Noël (pictured above), a cloudy, light-amber, fruity-tasting beer with no bitterness with Vacherin Mont d’Or, a soft, smooth, creamy, cow’s-milk cheese from Switzerland. The beer is brewed by Brasserie Artisanale Dauphiné located in the Rhône-Alpes region.

La Joyeuse - Bière Bellon - with La Fourme de Montbrison

La Joyeuse
Pictured here with La Fourme de Montbrison

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

La Joyeuse, a triple-fermented beer from Le Berry (a province under the Ancient Regime), is brewed from regional malts. An amber beer, it almost has the flavor of light molasses. I learned that it had been brewed with liquorice, which must have accounted for the flavor that I tasted. It was served with Gruyere cheese from Switzerland (not pictured), a mild cheese with delightfully crunchy Tyrosine clusters (tiny protein clusters that form as cheese ages).

Gaillard de Noël

Gaillard de Noël
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Gaillarde de Noël, a blond, cloudy beer from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, had a sweet-honey aroma and tasted bitter and fruity at the same time. The brewery was opened only 20 months ago in the little town of Gignac by husband-and-wife team Elisabeth and Benjamin Moinet.

La Rouget de Lisle with Mimolette

La Rouget de Lisle with Mimolette
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Elisabeth poured a cervoise brewed by La Rouget de Lisle in the town of Bletterans in the Franche-Comté region. She said that cervoise is a beer that is brewed without hops, the flavoring agent that gives beer its distinctive bitter taste. The beer had a sweet honeysuckle aroma and a honey-like flavor. We tasted it with La Fourme de Montbrison (pictured with La Joyeuse), a cow’s-milk blue cheese made in the Auvergne region in southern France. The Fourme de Montbrison is perhaps the mildest blue cheese that I have ever tasted, and I thought that it went well the mildly-sweet cervoise

Entre 2 Mondes

Merry Chrismouss by Entre 2 Mondes
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Merry Chrismouss, a Christmas beer brewed by Entre 2 Monde in the Vallée de la Loue in Franche-Comté, had an aggressive, bitter-coffee flavor. All of the beers produced by this company are unfiltered, unpasteurized, and re-fermented in the bottle. It was the beer that I liked the least, and as far as I could tell, it didn’t go with any of the cheeses.

Elisabeth’s beer and cheese tasting was a great occasion to learn more about the world of beer, and I was happy that I had the chance to attend.

Have a very Merry Chrismouss sampling the Christmas beers that you find at your favorite beer supplier!

* * * * * * *

Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

Figues en Folies with Goat Cheese

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Facebook Twitter Linkedin
Figues en Folies with Goat Cheese

Figues en Folies with Goat Cheese
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Last week, while walking along rue Jacob reviewing our latest Chocolate and Pastry walk, we spotted a sign indicating that an épicerie fine (fine-foods grocery) was located in the courtyard of a building at number 12. Our curiosity piqued, we entered the courtyard and then into a tiny shop situated there. Smelling sweetly of spices, it was well stocked with fine-food products.

The young man behind the counter invited us to taste a condiment called Figues en Folies, which, he said, would go well with goat cheese or foie gras. It had the sharp flavor of balsamic vinegar, fig, and spices, and called to mind the taste of mincemeat pie. Even though it cost 10€ for a small jar of 220 grams, we threw caution to the wind and purchased it.

Back home we tried it with various products, including crottin de Chavignol, a goat cheese that we purchased at our local cheese shop, Fromagerie Veron, on rue Mouffetard.

We found that the acidic flavor of the vinegar in the fig condiment complemented the pungency of the soft, crumbly goat cheese, while the fig’s sweetness counterbalanced it. Spread on dark bread in the style of an open-faced sandwich, the goat-cheese-and-fig combination was a country-style delight.

Tomat’s Epicerie Fine
12, rue Jacob
75006 Paris
Tel.: 01.44.07.36.58
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

* * * * * * *

* * * * * * *

We participate in Wanderfood Wednesdays. Head over there to explore food from around the world!

Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

Beer and Cheese Tasting with Elisabeth Pierre

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Facebook Twitter Linkedin
Cheeses and Beers

Cheeses and Beers
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

On Tuesday, June 18, Elisabeth Pierre, a bièrologue whom I’ve blogged about before, held a beer and cheese tasting at Chez Léna et Mimile, a restaurant that I recently reviewed.

Elisabeth presented five beers paired with five cheeses. As the tasting progressed, one pair at a time, she described the qualities of each beer. A colleague, Aki Nakazawa of Fromagerie Hisada, described the cheeses and their qualities, and another colleague, Didier Sintot, co-founder of Groupuscule d’Actions Gustatives (GAG), gave his thoughts about how the flavors of each pair would harmonize.

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The tasting proceeded in the following order, from the mildest beer to the strongest:

  1. Curtius, a Belgian ale, paired with goat cheese by Espi du Poitou in Charante
  2. Vieux Tuyé, a French lager, paired with two different Compté AOP cheeses, one aged 25 months
  3. La Rouge Flamande, a French ale, paired with Maroilles AOP from Picardie
  4. 32 Audace, an Italian ale, paired with a Stilton from Great Britain
  5. Inquiète, a French stout, paired with a Dutch Gouda, aged more than 24 months

Following each pairing, we, the participants, were encouraged to express our opinions about the beer, the cheese, and how well we thought that the flavors of each pair suited one another. And at the very end of the tasting, Elisabeth called on each of us to give our opinions about which pair(s) we preferred.

Some liked the very last beer, the French stout, but to my taste it had an unpleasant flavor of bitter coffee. I preferred the first beer, which I found to be mild with only slight bitterness. I found that its flavor and that of the mild goat cheese, harmonized best and pleased me the most. This led me to wonder whether, in each paring, the flavors should be harmonious to begin with or whether they could have opposing flavors that unite into a pleasant taste sensation once they are together in the mouth. I don’t have an answer to that, but it is the sort of question that professionals in the gourmet food business love to analyze and debate.

Aki Nakazawa - Elizabeth Pierre - Didier Sintot

Aki Nakazawa of Fromagerie Hisada
Elizabeth Pierre of La Fille de l’Orge
Didier Sintot of GAG

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

After the tasting, Elisabeth and her team of taste experts posed for a picture.

Michel Cloes

Michel Cloes, Export Manager of Curtius
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Michel Cloes, export manager of Curtius, participated in the tasting. He posed for a picture with his product, cradling it carefully in his hands like a baby!

A good time was had by all!

* * * * * * *

We participate in Wanderfood Wednesdays. Head over there to explore food from around the world!

* * * * * * *

Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

A Visit to a Cheese Shop

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Jérôme Boulestreau
Manager of Fromagerie Beillevaire
(c) Discover Paris!

Last month, members of the Paris Alumnae/i Network met Jérôme Boulestreau, manager of the cheese shop Fromagerie Beillevaire on rue de Belleville in Paris. He opened his shop to us for a private visit.

The shop is one of ten that the company Beillevaire has opened in Paris. The company began with founder Pascal Beillevaire’s love for dairy products, a passion that developed while growing up on the family farm “La Vacheresse,” located in the Pays de la Loire region near Nantes. Today the company specializes in receiving, fabricating, and aging cheeses, which it distributes through 73 shops and markets in western France and Paris.

Crayeux de Roncq
Photo from La Ferme du Vinage Web site

At the end of Mr. Boulestreau’s presentation, we tasted eight different cheeses. The most memorable was the Crayeux de Roncq (also called Carré du Vinage), a brine-washed, raw cow’s-milk cheese with soft, almost runny, texture. It was smooth, creamy, and had a—whew!—strong flavor. It is produced by fromagère Thérèse-Marie Couvreur at a farm that lies in the north of France, near Lille called “La Ferme du Vinage.”

* * * * * * *

The full article describing Mr. Boulestreau’s presentation is available to the subscribers of our monthly newsletter Paris Insights.

Access to the newsletter is by paid subscription. Click here to view the announcement of the newsletter that features the article. Click here to enter a subscription.

Bonne lecture!

* * * * * * *

We participate in Wanderfood Wednesdays. Head over there to explore food from around the world!

Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

The Odyssey of Max McCalman

Friday, April 1st, 2011
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Max McCalman
Maître Fromager
(c) Discover Paris!

In this month’s Paris Insights newsletter, we depart from our standard format to bring our readers a special issue on food and the world of cheese.

We had the occasion to meet Maître Fromager Max McCalman last month when he traveled to Paris to accept the “Best in the World Book on Cheese” award at the Paris Cookbook Fair for his book Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager. During the conversation we learned about the fascinating odyssey that led McCalman to his true vocation in life, namely that of a leading American expert on cheeses.

Access to the newsletter is by paid subscription. Click here to view the newsletter announcement. Click here to enter a subscription.

Bonne lecture!

* * * * * * *

Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!

Wine and Cheese at Le Coup de Grâce

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Le Coup de Grâce is a wine shop that opened in September 2009 at 26, rue Berthollet in the 5th arrondissement. We stopped here after attending an open house held for an art exhibit in another part of town.

Arriving at around 9:00 p.m., we asked one of the proprietors, Etienne, if we could order a simple cheese platter and a glass of wine. He directed us to a tall table at which stood two tall chairs, and invited us to take a seat. In response to his question about the kind of wine that we might like to order to accompany our cheese, my partner said, “Viognier,” which is a type of white wine grape that produces a distinctive flavor. After a brief discussion about the qualities that this wine might contribute to the cheese platter, we settled for a glass of Martinelle, a vin de pays produced by Corinna Faravel in the Ventoux region of the Rhone Valley.

Etienne served each of us a glass of this pale-gold wine, and placed a platter of four cheeses on the table. These consisted of Saint Pascal, Cantal jeune, Morbier, and Comté. Saint Pascal is a firm, tangy, raw cow’s milk cheese from the Appenzell region of northeast Switzerland; Cantal is an ivory-colored, semi-hard cheese – when young (as ours was) it still has the sweetness of raw milk; Morbier is a supple cheese with black layer of vegetable product that recalls the days when soot was sprinkled on the fresh curd to keep insects away; and Comté is a firm, pale cheese with a nutty tang – when mature, it has a pleasant gritty texture due to the crystallization of salts.

As for the wine, I found it to be sharp with notes of bitter almond. My partner described it as soft with notes of peach. Despite these contrasting gustatory perceptions, we both enjoyed it and the cheeses that it accompanied!

While we sampled the wine and cheese, lively jazz played over the sound system.

The bill for the cheese platter and three glasses of wine came to 19€.

The walls of the wine shop are currently decorated with photographs by Jean-Claude Valette. Valette’s wife Ivlita Mujiri is the artist who designed the image of the devilish-looking wine taster. The image serves as the logo of the wine shop.

Le Coup de Grâce
26 rue Berthollet
75005 PARIS
Tel. 01.45.35.82.37

Opening hours:
Mondays from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Tuesdays and Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Thursday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
All day Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Wine and Cheese at Le Coup de Grâce
(c) Discover Paris!

* * * * * * *

We participate in Wanderfood Wednesdays. Head over there to explore food from around the world!