Épices & Saveurs

Although it may seem like your typical Arabic épicerie (food shop), of which there are many in Paris, I’ve shopped a lot of them and found Épices & Saveurs especially well-stocked. The place is as neat a pin and in addition to the usual line-up of harissas, nuts and dried fruits in bulk, olive oils, and spices, I always find curiosities on the shelves and in the refrigerator that I don’t see elsewhere.

For example, recently there were cans of white truffles (€25) which I almost bought for the label alone: a mound of truffles piled up inside a colorful tagine. I didn’t get them (because I just spent €97 having my heater serviced, which basically was a guy coming over and finding one of the gazillion empty jars I have stacked on the upper shelves of my kitchen, which had fallen into the evacuation pipe), but I’m always intrigued by the various types of harissas, jars of Sicilian pistachio and almond pastes, packets of halloumi cheese, fetas, Turkish pastrami, the wall of nuts and dried fruits, a serve-yourself olive bar, and a coffee stand, where the nice guys that run the boutique are happy to make you a coffee if you feel like lingering.

Outside they’ve got an edited selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Recently I spotted some elusive bergamots (the true ones, which are different than the sweet lemons sold as bergamots in France). Also outside, you might find fresh turmeric and small knobs of organic ginger, as well as French shallots longues (the ones I prefer)and oignons rosés (pink onions) from Roscoff, in Brittany.

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I often get asked when I put pictures of things that I’m baking on social media, “Where can I find that recipe?” or less-delicately, “Recipe…puleeeze!!!” The appetite for recipes is voracious and thankfully, I’ve got hundreds of them here on the blog, as well as in the books I’ve written. I’ve never counted, but I’d venture to say I’ve got nearly a thousand recipes out…

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Where does the time go? When people used to say that, I thought they were being overly dramatic. Or worse, meant that I was getting older at a faster clip than I thought. But what I think it means, for all of us, is that life used to roll along at a more leisurely clip, but nowadays, I wake up and find another year has passed….

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Beer Tart

I was invited to a lovely lunch at the 3-star restaurant Alléno Paris (Pavillion Ledoyen), hosted by Mauviel, a French company that makes copper cookware in Normandy, that one day, I’m hoping to visit. Although mispronouncing the name when I was introduced to the owner probably didn’t help my chances! Nevertheless, I did my best in the charm department. (Foreigners are often given a pass…

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This season saw a particularly excellent crop of cookbooks come to the forefront. But one that stood out for me was The London Cookbook by Aleksandra Crapanzano. When my copy came in the mail, I opened up the stately, deep blue cover, which revealed enticing pages of spectacularly simple, fresh food, the kinds I like, that are being cooked in London today. Spiced Carrots with Freekeh and Labneh,…

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Pierre Jancou is one of my favorite cooks in Paris. He does the seemingly simple task of taking raw elements – such as a pan of root vegetables – and making them taste better than you thought that vegetables could taste. I first came across his cooking when he was the chef/owner of Racines. I’d ordered a simple pasta Bolognese, which isn’t something I would usually order unless I was…

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A few months ago, I was gifted a very large bag of farro, over five pounds of it. I never thought I could have enough farro, and sure enough, I’m almost at the end of it. Farro is popular in Italy, and nowadays, it’s available in the United States and elsewhere. It’s a particular strain of wheat, similar to wheat berries, or épautre, in France, known elsewhere as…

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In the winter, we often turn to the tropics to get our fruit fixes. Bananas are the most popular fruit in America, and they’re quite popular elsewhere, too. I’m happy with oranges, grapefruits, and chocolate (yup, cocoa beans are fruit – great news for fruit-lovers!) but sometimes it’s nice to throw something else in the mix, and I’ll grab a pineapple, some kiwifruits, a few…

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Moissonnier

Call me old-fashioned, but sometimes I like old-fashioned places. One place that does old-fashioned especially well is France. But I’m not the only one who feels that way; people come from around the world to visit the city, and bask in the à l’ancienne charm, which is sometimes derisively described as carte postale Paris. Like other cities, Paris is changing and isn’t a museum, per se, but…

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