Monique and I attended the recent Indo-Caribbean Food Festival sponsored by the Academy of Culinary Art for the Creole World where I purchased a cup of homemade coconut sorbet. Follow this link to read Monique’s blog about the festival! http://entreetoblackparis.blogspot.fr/2017/09/celebrating-indo-caribbean-cuisine-at.html
Archive for the ‘food’ Category
Finding myself hungry in the popular Marais district on Sunday, I thought I’d stop at L’As du Falafal on rue des Rosiers for a falafal sandwich. But when I got there, I saw that the line was a block long!
Fleeing the crowds, I ducked down rue des Ecouffes, a quiet side street, and spotted a small butcher shop. Would they, I wondered, have sandwiches to take out? I stepped into the shop and asked. Yes, came the answer, and they even had four different bagels from which to choose. I selected a poppy-seed-and-onion bagel and the butcher proceeded to make the freshest, most delicious pastrami sandwich that I have tasted in a very long time.
6, rue des Ecouffes
Located in the fashionable rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement, Franprix Noé sets a new standard in grocery shopping. Here, there is a focus on the shopping experience as well as product selection. Unlike the standard, black-and-orange-colored Franprix, this store sells organic products and lesser-known but high quality brands to promote a more responsible manner of consuming food.
The first few steps inside take you to the meat and cheese stand where an employee is ready to explain the different varieties of cheese and let you try a piece. The combination of the smell of cheese and the bread baking in the oven in the corner creates an enticing aroma that is authentic to Paris.
Past the ovens, located to the right of the entrance, there is a small salad bar with pita bread where you can make your own sandwich. In this area, you can also find refrigerated items such as packaged meat, ready-made meals, and yogurt, as well as fresh produce.
Franprix Noé offers a small range of vegetarian and vegan products. Some of these include vegan risotto with vegetables, ravioli with tofu, vegan sandwiches, and soy yogurt.
To the left side of the store, you’ll find all the things that an ordinary grocery store offers, such as potato chips, spaghetti and rice, canned foods, and fruit juices. But you can also find alternative versions to these products, including red quinoa spaghetti, gluten and dairy-free cake mix, and a variety of seeds that add a healthy twist to ordinary grocery fare.
With its oven cooking quiche and its juice machine pressing oranges, lemons, and grapefruit just inside the entrance, Franprix Noé offers a modern food-shopping experience. Here, everything is a bit more sophisticated than at your usual grocery store, with premium versions of cheese, charcuterie, and wine all around you. On your way out, you can even grab some fresh herbs for free or have a quick coffee in the cozy spot behind the check-out counter.
With its innovative displays of fine-food products, Franprix Noé promotes a more responsible way of shopping and a healthier way of living.
82, rue Mouffetard
Metro: Censier Daubenton (Line 7)
Hanna Gressler is a rising senior at the American University of Paris. She is currently serving as a summer intern for the Wells International Foundation.
Bao Marché “Le Marché du Soleil,” an Afro-Caribbean market located in Bobigny, just outside of Paris, sells ingredients for the preparation of African and Caribbean cuisine. Sona and Kossi Muluana, a Franco-Congolais brother–and-sister team living in the Île de France, opened the store in 2012. Because they know that African and Caribbean people living in the suburbs often have to travel into Paris and visit multiple locations to find the ingredients for authentic home-cooked cuisine, the Muluanas wanted to provide them with a one-stop shopping experience on the outskirts of the city.
Bao is situated in the Centre Commercial Bobigny, an indoor shopping center with clothing stores, restaurants, and other small markets. Even though Bobigny is a suburb of Paris, it is very simple to get to via line 5 on the metro.
I found the area around the metro stop (the buildings, roads, etc.) to be a bit run down, and the shopping center to be quite vacant (perhaps because it is August, when most locals are away on vacation). However, upon entering the center, I could hear upbeat Caribbean music coming from one of the stores. The beats were coming from Bao!
When I entered, I received a kind smile from the cashier. I then began to take a look around. As I was unfamiliar with Afro-Caribbean cuisine, this experience was a moment of discovery for me.
A variety of fresh, frozen, and canned tropical fruits, root vegetables, spices, halal meat, and fruit juices are for sale here. One foreign fruit I recognized was plantains ̶ big, banana-like fruits. Starchy and savory, they are a delicious side dish when cooked to caramelized perfection.
Numerous jars of peanut butter and peanut pastes on the shelves immediately caught my attention! American expats know quite well that peanut butter is not an easy food to find in Paris, so to see the wide assortment available at Bao left me in awe.
I was also interested in all of the different types of bouillons and arômes that lined one of the shelves. These are dehydrated vegetable and/or meat flavorings that come in the form of cubes or concentrated liquids. In many parts of the world, they are used as a base for soups and stews or to enhance flavor.
I was surprised to see such a wide array, so I decided to look into their use in Afro-Caribbean food. It turns out that they are also a common base in West African cuisine. In fact, these arômes are used to replace the homemade fermented, roasted, milled seeds and/or beans that were originally used in the traditional recipes (to learn more, check out: http://eatyourworld.com/blog/african_cooking_whats_with_the_maggi_cubes).
Bao is the third “foreign” (non-French) market that I’ve visited in the past several weeks (Tang Frères [Chinese] and Velan [Indian] are the other two). I found that all have the ingredients needed for the preparation of authentic dishes and the discovery of taste sensations from around the world, right in the tiny kitchen of my Paris apartment!
Address: Centre Commercial Bobigny
2, boulevard Maurice Thorez
Samantha Gilliams is a rising senior at the American University of Paris. She is currently serving as a summer intern for the Wells International Foundation.
When you think of Paris, the first images that come to mind may include buttered croissants or delectable meals that include wine and large assortments of cheese.
Now when you think of vegan, none of these delicious qualities of Paris seem possible. But the vegan lifestyle has caught the hearts of Parisians, and it is easier than you may think to be vegan in the city of wine and cheese, even on a student budget!
On the first day of 2015, while living in Paris during my freshman year of college, I decided to go vegan as a New Year’s Resolution. To this day, I have kept that resolution and have since seen Paris embrace the vegan lifestyle more every day.
Living on a student budget in Paris while also being vegan may seem constraining. But if you know the right places to look, you can find some of the cheapest and most delicious foods here. The first piece of advice: know what you need to buy before going to the grocery store. Have a list of ingredients for the vegan recipes you’re planning to prepare, so you know where you need to go. The staple foods on a low-budget plant-based diet include fruit, vegetables, rice, pasta, and beans — lots and lots of beans.
Some of the most common grocery stores include Carrefour, Monoprix, and Franprix. They’re like any other grocery store, with merchandise ranging from fruits and processed foods to shaving cream and cat food. Most of them will have store-brand products, which will tend to be the cheapest products on the shelves.
At Monoprix, when you compare the price of 350 g. of store-brand ground beef at 4.35€ with 250 g. of store-brand canned beans at 0.59€, the beans are the cheaper choice. Plus, 350 g. of red beans have 84 g. of protein while 350 g. of ground beef only have around 50 g. of protein, so the beans win again. Meanwhile, pasta and rice can come as low as 50 cents for 500 g.
If you’re lucky, the store may have a vegetarian aisle, where you can find soy yoghurt, veggie patties, and several types of plant-based milks. These milks can be expensive sometimes, but the cheapest alternative is always soy milk.
Frozen vegetables and fruit will also be cheaper than most meat and dairy products. But my favorite place to buy fruits and vegetables is at the local markets. Marché Bastille is especially great. It is a large market located by boulevard Richard Lenoir and is open every Thursday and Sunday morning. There you can find some of the cheapest fruits and vegetables, sometimes running at only 1€ per kilogram.
I tend to go to the Marché Bastille every Sunday to stock up on all the fruits and vegetables I need for the week. This way, I do not have to buy my groceries during the week and I avoid paying more than I would at the grocery store. The fruits usually provide me with breakfast or a snack throughout the day. Or for lunch, I’ll make a smoothie with soy milk. I usually cook the vegetable at night, with either some pasta, rice, or potatoes, along with a source of protein.
Paris also has a variety of organic stores, such as Biocoop, Naturalia, and Bio c’ Bon. These stores are vegan-friendly, but they also tend to charge higher prices than general grocery stores. Having said this, their prices aren’t necessarily high enough to break your budget. In these organic stores, you can find all kinds of produce, vegan ravioli, tofu, falafel mix, plant-based milks, vegan yogurts, and faux meat. Biocoop’s tortillas make for great burritos (putting those beans to use), which are cheaper than the tortilla brands sold at Carrefour, Monoprix, and Franprix and are made without palm oil!
As a vegan in Paris, you must visit Un Monde Vegan, the 100% vegan grocery store. It’s just like your local grocery store, but all the cheese, meat, eggs, ice cream, and candy have turned vegan. If you didn’t think it could be made vegan, Un Monde Vegan will prove you wrong. But processed foods, such as faux meat and cheese, usually run at higher prices than beans or rice. I usually come here for a treat, for example when I’m craving some chocolate. The organic store Naturalia has also recently opened two all-vegan store branches in the 11th and 17th arrondissements, called Naturalia Vegan.
Even if you’re living on a student budget, following a plant-based diet doesn’t prevent you from experiencing Paris and the Parisian lifestyle. Since becoming vegan, I have visited many different fruit markets in Paris and have always had a delicious and tasty experience. I have tried foods I never would have thought of trying when I ate meat (such as mushrooms and anything soy-based), but which I now eat with delight and can cook like a professional (almost).
I feel lucky to live in a city like Paris, which has opened its arms to veganism, with its many veg-friendly stores and restaurants, as well as the open-mindedness of its people. The vegan community is growing larger and larger in this city, making it easier for plant-eaters to access the things we need, and making sure our experience is a good and affordable one.
Note: Some of my favorite restaurants include, Tien Hiang, Hank Vegan Burger, Hank Vegan Pizza, Wild Moon, VG Patisserie, East Side Burgers, Love Juice Bar, Gentle Gourmet Café, and Veg’ Art. I also find cosmetics at an affordable price at the store, Vegan Mania.
Hanna Gressler is a rising senior at the American University of Paris. She is currently serving as a summer intern for the Wells International Foundation.
Right when I thought I’d never find decent Chinese food in Paris (after having visited countless épiceries where they kindly microwave plastic-wrapped Chinese food…), I discovered: Tang Frères and the treasures of the 13th arrondissement.
I was in heaven when I stepped out of the Porte d’Ivry metro stop. The plethora of authentic Chinese restaurants, grocery stores, and boulangeries chinoises, enticed me to eat and buy all afternoon.
However, one grocer I took particular liking for was Tang Frères. This Asian market has been around since 1981, when two brothers moved to Paris from Laos and decided to open up the first of their supermarkets on avenue d’Ivry (wiki).
Thirty six years later, the market is still running, providing authentic imported ingredients to hungry, customers, both foreign and French.
When I arrived at Tang Frères, with the help of iPhone Maps, I entered into the first of two grocery stores that are right next to one another.
After walking the aisles and observing the products of Tang Frères n° 1, I was slightly disappointed. Yes, they had ingredients for Asian cuisine, but it was not truly what I expected. Especially because I am familiar with Paris Store, another Asian market just next door to Tang Frères, which had a much larger selection of goods.
As I was leaving Tang Frères n° 1, I made a slight right and walked a bit down the street, past the produce vendors, where I discovered Tang Frères n° 2.
When I entered this Tang Frères emporium that was endowed with a larger market, a food stand called “Tang Gourmet,” a refreshments stand, and a flower shop, I finally understood what people had been raving about.
The smell of the roasted Peking duck at Tang Gourmet alone instantly intrigued me and made me want to explore the rest of the market.
I was happy to see some of my Chinese food favorites, like frozen xao long baos (soup dumplings), fresh Chinese noodles, and pork buns that I hadn’t found since I’ve been abroad in Paris the last three years!
I was also pleased to see the variety of people who were shopping for, and are therefore fond of, Asian foodstuffs. I heard many languages being spoken in the market by people of all ages.
I would recommend Tang Frères, and more generally the 13th arrondissement, to anyone who is a fan of Chinese culture and Asian cuisine. A visit to this part of Paris will reveal a culture that travelers are initially unaware of in what sometimes seems, at first glance, to be a very homogeneous city.
About the author: Samantha Gilliams is a Wells International Foundation summer intern.
I arrived at the exhibition hall around 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27 and decided that I should get lunch before walking around to look at the exhibits. I saw that the food stand called Chez Maman Alice had a nice area for sit-down dining, so I decided to try the food there.
One of the women invited me to take a table, so I entered the dining area and made myself comfortable. I ordered two beef kabobs, three beef samosas, a serving of rice, and a green salad. I also ordered a Heineken beer, which was served in a 67cl size can. It was a delicious meal, and the price came to only 11€.
I took a photo of Maman Alice and her staff. From left to right are Marie, Adele, Maman Alice, Frida, Maroua, and Youdi. All but Maroua hail from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maroua is Moroccan.
With a full belly, I was ready to explore the exhibition.
I came upon D’Jackson Suriam from Martinique and Christophe Luijer from Holland, where they were selling fresh-pressed juice from the sugar cane. Christophe told me that he invented the machine that crushes a stick of sugar cane to extract its sweet juice. I tried a cup and found it to be wonderfully refreshing. Christophe calls his company So’Kanna.
D’Jackson is Christope’s partner at So’Kanna. He is also editor and director of a new international culture and lifestyle magazine called Océana.
Next…vendors and exhibitors at the fair.
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If you are a first- or second-time traveler to Paris, our new e-book, Dining Out in Paris – What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light, will provide you the with the knowledge and confidence that you need to enter into a Parisian restaurant to enjoy a fine meal and to have a wonderful dining experience.
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The second annual Noël Gourmand (Christmas Wine and Gastronomy Festival) is over, and what a great festival it was! Held from the 19th to the 22nd of December at the Brongniart Palace, it was a wonderful opportunity for Parisians to come into contact with producers of fine French fare from all over the country.
I attended on the last day and had the occasion to meet and talk with a number of producers.
I met Nathalie, who was distributing chocolate ganaches produced by Sous l’Equateur, an artisanal chocolate maker located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. She offered a divine cream-filled milk chocolate that contained bits of hazelnut. She told me that the company also sells fresh-roasted coffee on the premises.
I met Alban Laban of the company of the same name. He raises free-range ducks on his farm, located in the Pyrenees in southern France, and transforms them into canned products (such as rillettes de cananrd and cassoulet au confit de canard) and fresh products (such as saucisson de canard and foie gras au sel).
Nearby at another stand, Chantal (from a farm located in the Franche-Comté region, not too far from Switzerland) was cooking a batch of morbiflette, a hearty dish made from onion, sliced potato, chopped bacon, and Morbier cheese.
I stopped by the Lou Peyrou stand an ordered a sandwich made from a sliced baguette and Saint-Nectaire, a cow’s milk cheese from the Auvergne region. Gloria, who served me, was also selling aligot, a traditional dish made from melted cheese, butter, and mashed potato. While I was waiting for her to prepare my sandwich, I saw numerous customers come by to purchase copious portions of this waist-enhancing fare.
How in the world do the French stay slim eating these rich foods? It is one of life’s great mysteries.
Around the corner and in a side room I came upon Anthony of L’Eurélienne, a microbrewery located on a farm in the Loire Valley near the town of Chartres. Anthony told me that they brew their beer from the barley that they grow on the farm.
I spotted cuvée de Noël (Christmas beer) on the beverage list and ordered a 25cl glass. Served fresh from the tap, it was an unfiltered, unpasteurized, double-fermented, brown beer that I found fully satisfying and refreshing. Anthony said that it is flavored with star anise, cardamon, cinnamon, and licorice root.
I wondered if Elisabeth Pierre, who wrote Le Guide Hachette des Bières, had sampled this company’s beer. There are so many great artisanal breweries in France!
While at the bar, I met Jean-Pierre of BiPiA, a producer from the Basque region of France. As he finished his coffee break, he invited me to come by his stand.
When I got there, I immediately noticed the three Basque flags on the wall behind him. I saw that he was selling Espelette pepper in all its forms: in preserves, sauces, and condiments, as well as in jellies and purees. Although I didn’t see it at the stand, Espelette is also sold as whole peppers strung on cords.
I left the Noël Gourmand fair in good spirits. It had been a great opportunity to taste wonderful French regional products and meet the producers directly. I look forward to attending this event next year!
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Monique and I got an invitation to attend the I Love Italian Food festival last week. It was held at the Showroom Poliform Varenna on rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement. What a great celebration it was!
We met a number of Paris bloggers there, including Mary Kay Bossart of Out and About in Paris.
We got there just a bit early. While we waited for the food stands to open, we sipped a bit of bubbly called Ferrari Maximum Trento DOC. Ferrari is a sparkling wine produced in Trentino, Italy. It’s not a prosecco—it’s produced according to traditional champagne methods, including second fermentation in the bottle. I enjoyed its dry, elegant flavor as much as any champagne that I have ever tasted.
Finally, the food stands opened and we went upstairs to sample a wide variety of Italian fare. I tried a couple of delicious open-faced sandwiches.
Parmesan cheese had been cut from the wheel in large chunks. This was the first time ever that I have been able to sample as much as I wanted—it was almost like being in a dream. I enjoyed its sharp, almost pungent, flavor and its gritty texture.
Moving from one stand to the next, I tried several slices of Beretta brand Mortadella. I must have been in heaven, because nobody stopped me from taking as much as I wanted—for how long could this dream last?
The man at the sausage stand just kept that slicing machine a-whirring.
Michele Fanciullo, who works as a personal chef in Paris, prepared some wonderful pasta dishes. One of them was flavored with truffle.
On the lower level, where the wine stand was set up, Monique got a glass of Nebbiolo D’Alba red from the Piedmont region of Italy.
Returning upstairs, we went to see some food demonstrations. Bartender Stephane Durot (of Franco-Italian origin) demonstrated how to make the Spritz Lambrusco, a drink that he invented one day when he ran out of prosecco. His clients appreciated it so much that it became known as the Spritz Stefi (Stefi is short for Stephane).
There were other specialists giving demonstrations, but we were not able to attend them all.
Thanks to all of the people who worked hard to produce the fabulous I Love Italian Food festival. And yes, I do love Italian food!