#5: Goumanyat

One of the first places I went to in Paris when I was setting up house, was Goumanyat. My friend David Tanis took me there, who is a chef and lived in Paris part-time. And as I roamed through the neat shop, poked in the wooden drawers and sniffed in the jars, I was thrilled to find such a treasure trove of spices and comestibles to stock my petit placard.

saffron

Yet the real star of the show at Goumanyat is saffron, which they stock in every conceivable fashion. Of course, there’s a huge glass urn of wispy saffron threads, which one can use to flavor a tagine or even a batch of ice cream. But saffron also shows up in many other guises here, sometimes in places where you’d least expect it.

miel au safran

For example, who would of thought of saffron honey?

But this tinted nectar had a lovely, soft red glow, promising the unique scent of saffron with every spoonful. When I asked what this could possibly be used for, they suggested adding it to tea. Or I thought about maybe drizzling it over a slab of Roquefort.

saffron caramels

Also on the sweet side were saffron caramels, and I stocked up on a few bags, thinking they’d make unusual hostess gifts when invited for dinner. Unlike all the other guests carrying generic bottles of wine, I was reasonably sure that I’d be the only one toting a sack of magenta-colored caramels.

But Goumanyat is more than saffron. There’s all sorts of unusual grains, haricots Tarbais, curiously-flavored vinegars and oils, plus a whole section of jars containing various powders and essences for molecular gastronomists. Downstairs is a wine cellar and ultra-modern demonstration kitchen, and upstairs is a concise collection of cookware.

cassoles

A while back when I went to Camp Cassoulet, a number of readers inquires about cassoles, the special vessel for baking the Gascon specialty. Well, come on down!

(I think only Americans might get that reference. But in reality, you actually go on up.)

teapot

Being a baker, however, I’m always drawn to the drawers of spices.

If you’ve never smelled various kinds of black pepper, each one is so different and fragrant, you’ll never go back to the tepid supermarket kernels again. I buy Vietnamese cinnamon here, which has a sharp, nose-twitching aroma. And my friends who I went with recently, who make gelato in Bologna, bought all sorts of spices and powders, which I promised not to reveal.

vanilla horse

But what I will show you are the fabulous sculptures made of real vanilla beans. Horses and teapots were two of my favorites, although the spindly lobster was the work of someone truly insane.

If you’re crazy about spices, cooking, and exploring unusual ingredients, Goumanyat is the place for you.

Goumanyat
3, rue Dupuis (3rd)
Tél: 01 44 78 96 74
(Map)




Part of Five Great Places in Paris That You Might Not Know About (series):

1# La Briciola (Pizza)

2# Dot Paris (Vintage Kitchenware Shop)

3# Grom gelato (Italian Gelato)

4# Musée Fragonard d’Alfort (Veterinary Museum)



18 comments

  • How have I not been here yet? Between this and DOT and Grom, my half-month’s pay for August isn’t going to last long at all!

  • Seriously…I need that vanilla bean horse.

  • God, I would kill for just the thread kind of saffron, which I can’t get… but I’ll definitely have to check this store out next time I’m in Paris. It looks like just my thing.

  • I am intensely jealous that you have access to an incredible store like this. I would wander it for days. Does anyone know of any equivalents here in NY? Anyone? ::sigh::

  • Alejandra: Try Kalustyans. The focus is more ethnic foods, but it’s pretty incredible, too.

  • Ooo, such extravagent use of vanilla pods, and then the saffron. You have all this and Romain – no wonder yours is now such a sweet life – a well earned sweet life. I so enjoy checking out your posts, relishing all the food I get to read about and see.

    Roll on Autumn/Fall inspiration there, while I enjoy the start of Spring here (counting down to asparagus)

    care and huggles from Wellington, NZ and Michelle in NZ

  • You should be getting paid by the French Ministry of Tourism! I love your “spot’s’ around Paris! What a great find.

    I love Saffron. I would have never thought of it myself, but definately would have tried those novelity caramels. I can imagine it flecked in some butterscotch ice cream too.

  • Wow! I could do a lot of damage to my finances there.

    The sculptures are really neat, but as Michelle said, how extravagant! In my kitchen the horse would probably end up an amputee like the farmer’s three-legged hero-pig.

  • Would love a bag or two of those saffron caramel please!

  • I also love Aphrodesia, on Bleecker and Cornelia in the West Village for spices. Huge array. Tho, I’m in Seattle this week and just discovered World Spice Merchants (www.worldspice.com)

    I may have to come back, just for that shop….

  • Kitt: The great thing about Goumanyat, and other épiceries I visit, is that you can spend around 20€ and bring home a nice bag full of goodies. Saffron is pricey, but the caramels were only 3.5€ and the variety of spices that I got on my last visit have been put to good use (as were those caramels!)

    : )

  • the weave work with vanilla bean is gorgeous, really. The horse is fascinating. Do they have a strong smell of vanilla or is this all-scent-used vanilla beans ?

  • dear david,

    i absolutely love all of your pictures! what kind of camera do you use?

    ps. tonight i’m making your dulce de leche brownies… super excited!!

    Hi Peter: Glad you like the photos. Here’s a post I did on my Food Photography Gear, which details what I use. Enjoy the brownies! ~dl

  • Wow David, I lived in Paris, I go there all the time (well less so now that children are here), and I have never seen or heard of this place. Thanks for the addresses!!

  • what beautiful color on the saffron!

    Grayburn

  • Great – now I have somewhere else to spend my money in Paris! ;-) Shop looks astonishing. I’m wondering how that safforn honey would go with aged Pecorino…

  • Alejandra, I agree with David about Kalustyans, it is a fabulous place. I would also recommend hopping the subway to Jackson Heights and visiting Patel Brothers. The whole Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue area is filled with spices and ethnic foods at amazing prices.

    I think I may have to try the honey/saffron combination. I have a jar of raw honey I helped harvest myself in the cupboard.

  • David, did you like the saffron caramels? What were they like. I’m going to Paris in a few days…