Recently in Food Markets category

Mini-Tongs

Whenever I go to San Francisco, I stay with a friend of mine who generously offers to put me up as long as I’m in town. It’s fun, especially since she likes to hit the off-price shops and her kitchen is filled with lots and lots of kitchen tools.

Since she knows I live abroad, where many of them aren’t available, if I express interest in something she’ll invariably say, “Oh, go ahead and take it. I can get another one easily.”

3tongs

After a bit of obligatory mock-protesting on my part, I grudgingly accept it, and in it goes, right into the suitcase. On my last trip, I noticed she had a pair of mini-tongs in her drawer, which were not only adorable, but fit too-perfectly in my hand.

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Outlaw Carrots

carrots

The European Union just overturned regulations that will allow fruits and vegetables that aren’t technically picture-perfect, to be sold alongside their more attractive counterparts. But the laws are still place until next July. I had no idea there was such a directive in effect, and I’ve been innocently part of a conspiracy, participating in, and abetting, illegal behavior.

According to EU directives, things like carrots must be “..not forked, free from secondary roots.” Since I found that out, I’ve been much more careful about what I bring home. When I picked these out at the market, my carrots didn’t seems to have any of those kinds of hideous deformations (imagine that…forked roots!…ick!), but when I unpacked my haul, I noticed that the specimen above found its way into my market basket. Accidentally, of course.

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Honey, Made in Paris

miel de paris

Americans have a funny relationship with honey. To many of us, it’s that sweet syrup in the jar with the feather-topped woman, or the gloopy stuff stuck inside the crevasses of a plastic bear.

In France, honey is a Big Deal and there’s boutiques like Maison du Miel, and vendors at the outdoor markets, which sell nothing but honey and honey-related products. (And believe me, you’d be surprised how many there are.)

Various types of honeys are said to have healing properties, although I don’t eat them for my health: I’ve learned to enjoy the many different varieties available in France, and I switch them around and use a particular kind, depending on what I’m baking or simply for eating.

In Paris, there’s a few ruchiers (beehives) in the city, the most well-known being in the Jardin du Luxembourg, whose honey is available sporadically. But few folks know that in our National Veterinary Museum, there are hives as well. And the good news is it’s almost in the middle of Paris.

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#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.

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#2: DOT Paris

I just spent a long weekend in the French countryside, trying to enjoy the last bits of summer before the rentrée, when everyone in Paris returns en masse, usually bronzed to an unsavory crisp.

And because last Friday was a national holiday, I spent a prodcutive morning at a vide grenier, an enormous and pretty fabulous flea market in the town of Esterney.

blue pitchermini gratin dishes

Like anywhere, once you get out the big city, prices drop substantially and I can’t believe the stuff I hauled back to Paris!

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The Reines-Claudes Plums Have Arrived!

apricots & reine claude plums

It’s that time of the year—the season for Reines-Claudes plums in France has arrived!

These little green fruits, no larger than a marshmallow, are perhaps the most delicious fruits in the world. Don’t let the army-green color fool you in to thinking these plums might be tart or sour. If you get a good one, reines-claudes plums (also known as Greengage plums), are the sweetest, most succulent piece of fruit you’ll bite into.

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Two Delicious Dining Guides to Paris


clotildesedibleadventuresinparis.gif

Clotilde Dusoulier is the ultimate Parisian insider, one who shares her tasty tales of life in Paris on her blog, Chocolate and Zucchini. In this very handy guide, a native Parisian happily leads us around Paris, taking us from little-known specialty food shops and classic bistros to authentic Japanese noodle bars and venues for wine tastings.

One of my favorite parts of Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris are tips on how restaurants and food shops work here. For example, knowing that you’re not a “customer” but a “guest” explains a lot of things to foreigners, who are used to the Customer is King attitude.

Other cultural tips, like keeping your hands on the table while you’re eating and not resting your bread on the edge of your plate, are explained so you can avoid making a faux pas, as I did shortly after I arrived in Paris and was scolded for my bread infraction by the host at a dinner party. And I always thought it was rude to scold guests! Who knew?

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What Got Me Really Excited at My Market Today

You might think it was these gorgeous, glowing yellow limes…

limes

…which I’m not sure what I’m going to do with, but their sweet-tangy juice might make a refreshing summertime sorbet.

Or a batch of frosty Mojito Granita?

poulet crapaudine

It wouldn’t be a stretch to think it was coming home with a just-roasted poulet crapaudine, a chicken rubbed with herbs, spices, and a generous amount for salt, which seasons the crackly skin. I’m always wary about buying a whole one, since I’m certain I’d eat it all by myself—in one sitting.

(Not that I’ve ever done that. But I’ve heard about people that do.)

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