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Gourmet Food Shopping in Paris

 
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suiseihime



Joined: 08 Jan 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:37 am    Post subject: Gourmet Food Shopping in Paris Reply with quote

Hi Everyone --

I'm going to Paris in May, and wanted some advice from you guys. I've been to Paris many times, but mainly to visit family, business, etc. This time, I'm going mainly for the food Very Happy I want to bring some gourmet stuff back into the US, stuff that you can only buy in France, but I don't know where to start. Are there any specific stuff you can recommend, something you always make a point to buy for yourself? Oils, spices, pastes, bricks of chocolate, I have no idea Smile

Any help is appreciated!
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All the stuff you mentioned is available everywhere as it is common here not gourmet. The difference will be the quality and price.

What price range are you looking at and what area are you staying in?

Depending on these things depends on where you should go. Galleries Lafayette has a gourmet food hall and you can get a discount card if you take your passport to the information counter there. Independant shops are everywhere such as La Mere de la famille and Ets Lion, then you have chains such as Hediard, Le Notre etc which are found in quite a few places in Paris
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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Melly



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Limburg Province, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to research the customs regulations regarding what foods you can bring back into the US. Off the top of my head, no fruits and no beef products. The rules about other meat products are confusing. Cheese is supposedly ok if it is not runny.

Here are some customs link that might be helpful:
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/prohibited_restricted.xml
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/

Have fun shopping.
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suiseihime



Joined: 08 Jan 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will be staying in the 18th, and not much of a budget, as long as it isn't $200 per ounce. I guess nothing too exorbitant?

After reading the US customs links, I have to admit I'm a little bit cowed by the stiff regulations! And going through the lists I see that I've somehow "smuggled" some things back that weren't allowed. Whoops.

The entire bit about the prepared food is confusing, too. I suppose I can just buy a lot of different things and ship them back home?

I realize now that my post was a little too broad. I was just hoping that people would be like "Oh, there's this brand of fruit preserves that I always buy" or "The vanilla beans at ____ are great" or "This liqueur is only available in Europe" ...or something along these lines. I guess "gourmet" isn't a great word either...whenever I go to Italy I buy a few tubes of my favorite porcini mushroom paste, and I already consider that pretty gourmet! Sad, sad me.

Thanks Smile
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minty



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

out of my head, the first things that come to mind are - snails (you can buy canned cooked ones -
- mustard - Maille being a favourite and well known brand, with lots of different sorts ...
-tapenade (olive purée )
- calissons d'Aix (Confiserie d'Entrecasteaux or Leonard Parli for the best brands)
-marrons glacés (Clement Faugier)
-foie gras - of course...

for liqueur, you could try Chartreuse - very typical , but it's an acquired taste...

you can find all these at the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet
Very Happy
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Staying in the 18eme is perfect. You have some of the most fabulous shops here.

Ets Lion is on rue des Abbesses. Rue Lepic also has some fabulous little shops.

One drink which is unusual is Pineau des Charentes. It is an aperitif and served chilled. A mix of cognac and red or white wine (depending on whether you pick the red or white version). We love it and always have some in the house,
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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Melly



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Limburg Province, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would endorse the mustard at the Maille boutique (kitty-corner from the Madeleine). It is the Baskin-Robbins of mustard, with flavors that you can only buy there.

I'm not an expert by any means, but I have stocked up on sea salt while I'm in France. You can buy the confitures of Christine Ferber (that Chlothilde has written about) at La Grande Epicerie. They will cost a pretty penny. I bought a jar just because I use her book and wanted to try the real thing. I'm not a big fan of foie gras, but if you are, I think it is ok to bring it back if it is shelf-stable.

You might enjoy David Lebovitz's post about Paris food markets:
http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/paris/food_markets/
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minty



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For jams you can buy the brand Bonne Maman, they're cheaper than Ferber, but good !
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Melly



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Limburg Province, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come to think of it, I always buy the figue Bonne Maman. My grandmother made fig jam and I really miss her fig tree. A good fig jam is hard to find in the US, but luckily, no so hard over here.

Last edited by Melly on Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rachel



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too always buy fig jam (usually Bonne Maman) when I'm in Paris - and often creme de marron/confiture de chataigne (same brand). And I never, ever leave without at least one bag of Mariage Freres tea.

Other things - fleur de sel (can be found pretty much anywhere - gourmet shops, markets etc), honey (Les Abeilles in the 13th arrondissement has a fantastic selection, and I've heard La Maison du Miel, near Madeleine, is good too), coffee (Torrefacteur Verlet in the 1st is great) and wine (I like to buy varieties that are difficult to find in Britain, like red Sancerre). One of my friends always brings back a 1-kilo block of Valrhona baking chocolate (any of the food halls in the department stores - eg Galeries Lafayette, Bon Marche) should have it. I have been known to bring back cheese and bread/pastries, but they only have to survive a 2.5-hour train journey... I wouldn't attempt to bring either on a transatlantic flight.

Hope that helps - happy shopping!
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Melly



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Limburg Province, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course! Hubby loves French Breakfast Tea from Mariage Freres. I read an article about Le Palais de Thes recently and will probably check them out next time I go.
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minty



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Le Palais des Thés is very very similar to Mariage...but French Breakfast Tea is quite funny ... Wink
You can buy good chocolate at La Maison du Chocolat and also in Régis, A chocolaterie on the Rue de Passy , 16th arrondissement .
Truffles are very french too , if you like them, and you can also buy dried mushrooms in plastic jars ;

I believe nobody has mentioned candied fruits ( fruits confits) , and pâtes de fruits ...very french too. Wink
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am so happy this thread is going! I will be taking notes for my trip to Paris in February!

I just wish Clotilde's book was coming out before I go! Crying or Very sad

There is a brilliant fromagerie on Ile St. Louis (La Ferme? maybe...) I think it's just down the block from Berthillon. Anyway - they will vacuum pack your cheese so that you can get through customs/Agriculture inspections in the states.

One of the things I'm looking forward to is the hot chocolate and tarte tatin at Berthillon (not necessarily at the same time - you might keel over from sugar!). Also the chocolat chaud at Angelina on rue de Rivoli is beyond wonderful - try the African.
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Melly



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 72
Location: Limburg Province, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read an old thread on egullet where a customs guy was answering questions. He said that cheese doesn't have to be sealed, it just has to be aged enough so that it isn't runny when you cut it. I don't think you are able to bring back even candied fruits. Fruit is a big no-no. I could be wrong on that though.
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suiseihime



Joined: 08 Jan 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help, everyone -- your advice is truly invaluable! I can just see myself paying fines for overweight luggage... Razz

I'm glad other people are going to benefit from this thread, too Smile
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