Bachir Ice Cream

Two things have surprised me recently*. One is the sudden surge of small-scale ice cream shops that have opened in Paris. Which means my ship has definitely passed on opening my own place as others got to it first. Shops like Senoble, Glaces Glazed, Une Glace à Paris, Sucre Glace, and La Paleteria are churning out ice cream across Paris, some even staying open in the evening which is great, because I like to stroll around with a cone of ice cream on a summer night after dinner, but most places in town traditionally closed up at 8pm.

The second thing that surprised me was coming upon Bachir, a Lebanese ice cream shop in Paris, when I was in Les Halles a few days ago.

(A bonus third thing that surprised me was I had gone to a national hardware chain store in Les Halles, looking for replacement light bulbs, that were a standard size, and finding the largest hardware store in the city was having a rupture de stock, their entire supply of those particular light bulbs – and only those specific light bulbs, was wiped out of stock. It not only surprised me, but all the other people wandering around that aisle looking for same light bulbs. Somehow, August must be a particularly heavy month for usage of that particular light bulb in Paris.)

But my surprise turned to delight by stumbling across this shop. Lebanon has a long connection to France, and there are plenty of Lebanese kabab/sandwich shops in Paris, but I hadn’t seen Lebanese ice cream being served up anywhere in town.

That was a day of multitasking for me, running errands while also watching after a friend’s pre-teen son, who was more enthusiastic about getting ice cream, than tagging along while I took care of mundane tasks, like shopping for light bulbs and getting hand cream at the pharmacy. (He’s French, but doesn’t live in Paris, and was completely shocked when we sat down at a café, where a bottle of water cost €4.)

He also didn’t understand why I was taking pictures of our ice cream. So in addition to explaining why water was très chère (expensive), I had to explain that I wanted to share the ice cream with you guys, too.

I had two scoops, kafe (coffee) and choukoulata assouad (intense dark chocolate), and my charge had almond (laouz) and strawberry (farawla). He absolutely loved the almond ice cream, while I made good work on my chocolate/coffee combo. The ingredients in the ice creams are organic, and whipped cream is free, if you’re so inclined.

But the star of the show at Bachir is Glace achta, creme de lait ice cream, churned with a touch of orange flower water, scooped into a cone, then rolled in pistachios and crowned with a rosette of whipped cream. The ice cream is special because it’s made with mastic, a resin that gives the ice cream a light pine flavor, and chewier texture than custard-based ice cream.

Located right in the thick of things, by the Pompidou Center and the Forum des Halles shopping center (as well as a mega-hardware store), I was surprised by the steady stream of customers lining up here, since the shop has only been open a few months, and has flown under my finely honed radar. Bachir is a family run business, with two siblings running the shop in Paris, and the sisters told me they now have “between 55 and 60” shops in Lebanon. So I guess good news, or good ice cream, I should say…travels fast.

On the way out, I was offered what they call a café a la libanaise, a dark, viscous little cup of coffee spiked with a bit of cardamom. They told me to let the coffee grinds settle in the cup before drinking it. Even though I’ve been to Lebanon (and had plenty of coffee elsewhere in the world), it was the strongest cup of coffee I’ve ever had, anywhere. I knew if I finished it, I’d be zooming around for the next 36 hours.

One thing I learned when I was in Lebanon is that it’s rude to turn something down, including an on-the-spot coffee, or even an invitation to lunch. The correct response if you’re not available (and if you’re in Lebanon, an invitation for lunch means you should cancel any plans you might have for the next 4 to 5 hours…), you should say, “Next time.” So I’m going to give the coffee another go “next time,” and will certainly be back for more ice cream.

Bachir
58, rue Rambuteau (4th)
Tél: 09 52 79 73 00
Métro: Étienne Marcel or Les Halles
Open Noon to 11:30pm daily


Related Posts and Links

Where to Get Ice Cream in Paris – Map (La Cuisine)

Ice Cream and Sorbet Recipes (Archives)

Rosewater, Cardamom and Gum Mastic Ice Cream (Nordljus)

Mastic Ice Cream (Closet Cooking)

How to Make Lebanese Coffee (Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen)

*Actually, a lot has surprised me recently. But I don’t have the bandwidth to list everything.

 

 

 


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29 comments

  • Kristina
    August 3, 2017 2:48pm

    This place looks utterly amazing. And makes me so sad that I no longer live in Paris to enjoy its greatness :( Reply

  • August 3, 2017 3:58pm

    What a great find, thanks!
    The last artisan ice cream shop I came across actually just opened. It is rue Soufflot (5e) and is called La Fabrique givrée. I can’t stand coffee as a rule (too bitter for my childish palate) but their coffee ice cream is pretty incredible… Reply

  • Nikki
    August 3, 2017 5:07pm

    You are so fabulous! Thank you for my September ice cream eating map! Reply

  • August 3, 2017 5:13pm

    David
    I think I know which bulb that might be as I had a similar experience with not finding it at LM or Marx. Finally found it at a quincallerie down the street from on the rue du Cherche Midi-there is also a tiny (rip-off) electric store on the rue du Dragon in my hood if you are desperate. He has obscure stuff. Reply

    • Colin
      August 4, 2017 9:38am

      Rue du Dragon, my favourite street in Paris. It used to have one of the best undiscovered restaurants in Paris frequented by “les artistes” and only served two main courses of a sirloin steak and lamb chops and one of the best of that time (1970/80’s) wine cellars. Now I prefer La Truffiere. Reply

  • Joan
    August 3, 2017 5:18pm

    Glad you’ve discovered Bachir! I first went in February and then again a couple of weeks ago and the delightful Marilyne remembered me and offered me coffee (we had talked quite a bit the first time). I’m so glad it’s doing well! Reply

  • August 3, 2017 5:26pm

    Thank you for this wonderful share! I need to get back to Paris!

    The first time I had orange flower water ice cream was at Fenocchio in Nice, and I was a woman obsessed. Once I got back home, I did a pretty good job rereating it using your Fleur di Lait recipe and some orange flower water I found at my local French bakery. I may have to give mixing in pistachios a shot… Reply

  • Laura
    August 3, 2017 5:27pm

    Darker roast coffee does not have more caffeine than lighter roast. To the contrary, it is likely to have less. So, drink up and enjoy! Reply

    • August 4, 2017 7:58am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, espresso is said to have less caffeine than brewed coffee because the extraction is so swift, but when the beans are “marinated” (like in French press coffee, and Turkish or Lebanese coffee), I think the steeping gives time for more of the caffeine to be extracted, but I’ve not checked on the ‘science’ of that theory : ) Reply

  • Charlotte Keys
    August 3, 2017 5:27pm

    I’m getting on a plane right now to have that ice cream dipped in pistachio nuts. Well, I’m not really, but I’m making a note of it.

    I love the practice of whipped cream on ice cream cones, which seems to be standard in the NL (only place I’d ever seen it before your pictures today)

    Question: do Parisian ice cream places stay open in the winter? Reply

    • August 4, 2017 7:56am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Charlotte: Most (or all) do, because it’s tough to run a business that’s shut down for 4 months, but Parisians don’t typically eat ice cream in the winter or cold month, so some places do hot chocolate. The newer ice cream places, like the ones I mentioned in the first part of this post, likely have a more engaged audience year-round because their clientele may be younger and/or they’re located in areas where there would be more tourists, like les Halles, the Marais, and in the 6th arrondissement. Reply

  • Peter L
    August 3, 2017 5:28pm

    Opportunity still knocks, David. As far as I can see there is not one ice cream shop east of the Canal St. Martin. Pretty weird that. Reply

  • August 3, 2017 6:09pm

    I was hoping for a recipe. I have had Jeni Briton Bauer’s cedar ice cream which was cream and an essence of pine that was surprising and icredibly delicious. So hearing of an ice cream, oh I will start trying my hand at it unless you can get the recipe. Reply

    • August 4, 2017 7:54am
      David Lebovitz

      I linked to two mastic ice cream recipes at the end of the post, both looked quite good! Let me know if you give either of them a try. Reply

      • Sarah
        August 4, 2017 9:46pm

        Thank you for the recipes! Several years ago, on a trip to Athens, we discovered mastica, and really enjoyed it, especially the matica gelato with candied cherries on top. I bought some mastica crystals, but have had trouble finding good recipes to use them in. Reply

  • August 3, 2017 6:09pm

    First off if you opened an ice cream shop in Paris…no question you would do very well indeed. But till that miracle happens I’ll try Bachir.
    I was impressed by Raymond de Gourmand in Avignon with their 12 churning ice cream machines. The price was way south of Paris at 2€ for a healthy dip of mango, passionfruit, pistache and coconut. The sorbets were pleasently creamy. Trés delish. Reply

    • Aimee
      August 4, 2017 3:42pm

      Where is this ice cream in Avignon? I can’t find a listing. Thanks. Reply

  • August 3, 2017 6:55pm

    Great post, thanks David. I love mastic, which we use a lot in desserts and icecream in the Turkish cuisine.

    Do you know, by any chance, if there is any shop which serves icecream without sugar for diabetics in Paris? Thanks. Reply

  • August 3, 2017 7:42pm

    Thanks for all the information, I will be in Paris in three weeks, yeah. Reply

  • Jennifer
    August 3, 2017 8:58pm

    I really love the texture that mastic gives ice cream–I’ve only ever had it a few times, at a little Lebanese pastry shop that makes it only occasionally. I’ve never noticed a piney flavour to it, though. Will have to go see if they’ve made some this summer…. Reply

  • August 3, 2017 11:09pm

    Thank you for featuring Bachir ice cream! This is my family’s shop! I’m glad you liked it. Reply

  • Gloria Brooke
    August 4, 2017 12:31am

    I’ve just prepared your chocolate ice cream (pg.26 A Perfect Scoop) to the chill stage: it’s great! I’m having an ice cream party tomorrow afternoon as a reunion of musical friends. But please tell me about intense chocolate ice cream: how is it possible to get it so dark and still be ice cream? Nine years ago in the Printemps Brasserie my OH had an amazing dark choc ice cream. I’ve tried a chocolate sorbet recipe which came close. Reply

  • Mira
    August 4, 2017 12:34am

    I’ve tasted something similar in Turkey this last spring; it was an unusual texture. It barely melted. It was a bit too filling and heavy for me though (or the serving size very generous). Reply

  • ilona
    August 4, 2017 2:29am

    Thanks for sharing it :) Reply

  • August 6, 2017 6:25am

    When I saw the title of your post in my feed I had to read about it. Bachir is a familiar name.
    I especially love this glace achta rolled in pistachios. My mouth is watering. Reply

  • August 9, 2017 10:53pm

    It sounds like a spot well worth visiting on my next Paris trip (even if it will be in the autumn). I love the slightly resistant texture of mastic ice creams. (I have a pack of mastic in my cupboards, but no freezer, so it sits as a testament to intent). Your description of the creme de lait ice cream is so deliciously evocative. Reply

  • Paula
    August 16, 2017 4:54am

    Delicious post! Sadly I don’t have a trip to Paris planned anytime soon. Luckily, Vancouver, where I live, is having a similar surge of ice cream shop openings. I’m working my way through them. They range from rich artisan-type ice creams to vegan (coconut milk or cashew milk base) and many have a definite Asian influence. I don’t think you can ever have too many ice cream sources! And I eat ice cream all winter too! Reply

  • W
    August 18, 2017 8:46am

    The girl in Bachir beckoned me to come in and try their ice cream, but it was winter and I was in a rush so I declined. Now I know thanks to you it’s a faux pas The shop was empty for a long time each time I walked past. But summer has brought in the customers. I must go try!
    And indeed, extraction coffee is stronger in caffeine. All things being equal,filter machine coffee is also strong in caffeine. Reply

  • Alicia
    August 19, 2017 6:51pm

    I wrote to a family member who is currently in Paris, a big fan of ice cream. He went to Bashir today and had Petale de Rose & Mangue, with Pistachio. He was not impressed, said both had no flavour at all. Paid 7.10 Euros. Trés expensive for Non flavour. Reply

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