Results tagged Paris by Mouth from David Lebovitz

Caractère de Cochon: Ham & Charcuterie Shop in Paris

Caractère de Cochon

Many times, I’ve walked by Caractère de Cochon, a slip of a place on a side street, just next to the earnest Marché des Enfants Rouges, in the ever-growing hipper upper haut (upper) Marais, and wondered about the cave à jambons jam-packed with hams of all sorts hanging in the window and from the rafters. But I’ve never stepped inside.

Caractère de Cochon

But recently I was talking to my friend Jennifer, and she’d mentioned the place in glowing terms, letting me know it was, indeed, an amazing emporium dedicated to all-things-ham. So we made a date to go. However as (my) luck would have it, of course, on the day of our date, it was closed for a fermeture exceptionelle.

Caractère de Cochon

Which, in my case, seems to happen a lot.

fermeture exceptionelle

Continue Reading Caractère de Cochon: Ham & Charcuterie Shop in Paris…

Buvette Gastrothèque

chocolate mousse

There was a lot of talk this year about how Paris, and its food scene, are changing. Some of the talk was regarding gentrification by hipsters in Paris and the transformation of certain quartiers of the city. It was discussed widely by people who don’t live in Paris, and by those of us who do. (And those who work in, or frequent, the area.) Among those of us that live here, it brought up some wider issues, many reflected in the very good article, The Other Paris, Beyond the Boulevards.

fruit juice

Paris is often seen as a living “museum” – a city that is constantly referencing its past. “Improvements” often yield mixed results; the city has a spiffy new website and the auto-sharing program, Autolib, has been a hit. Yet the popular Vélib bike program is reportedly reducing the number of bikes by one-third and people are questioning if the current renovation of Les Halles is mirroring the same mistakes of the former structure, that it replaced.

Continue Reading Buvette Gastrothèque…

Cheese Tastings in Paris

french cheese tasting paris

A visit to France is, of course, a cheese-lovers dream. And for those who come and want to experience a variety of French cheeses in Paris, there are a number of places that offer dégustations (tastings) as well as tours and wine pairings with experts.

Most are in English and in the boutiques and fromageries (cheese shops) that offer cheese tasting plates, there is normally someone on hand who will happily explain all the different cheeses. Here’s a list of places that offer a variety of experiences for anyone interesting in sampling les fromages:

Paris by Mouth: Cheese tours of Paris.

Madame Hisada: Specialty cheese shop with salon offering dégustation platters.

Fil’O’Fromage: Cheese shop and restaurant, with tasting plates.

Meeting the French: Wine and cheese tastings.

Paroles de Fromagers: Wine and cheese tastings.

Chez Virginie: Cheese shop with guided tastings.

Le Foodist: Wine and cheese pairings and tastings.

La Coop: Cheese cooperative from the Savoy region offers self-guided cheese tastings.

La Cuisine: Guided cheese tasting workshops.

Marie-Anne Cantin: Guided cheese tastings.

La Vache dans Les Vignes: Cheese tasting plates.

Paris by Mouth: Cheese tastings and walking tours.

La Vache dans les Vignes: Cheese shop and café.

Ô Chateau: Wine and cheese tasting lunches.

Cook’n with Class: Wine and cheese tasting, and pairing classes.

L’Affineur’ Affiné: Fromagerie and restaurant.

cheese map of France

Note: In addition to the organized cheese tastings listed above, you can generally go into a wine bar and order a selection of cheeses (and wine, of course) to sample. Although the tastings aren’t guided, the staff will generally be able to tell you about the cheeses.

Paris Cooking Classes, Schools, and Wine Tastings

milk chocolate spatula

Many folks coming to Paris have asked about cooking classes on the non-professional level. Here’s a list of cooking programs offered around town. Some offer professional-level classes lasting a week or several months, while others are for dedicated home cooks where you can prepare a meal with a local cook in their Parisian kitchen and perhaps visit a market. Click on the links to find their scheduled classes and what language they’re taught in. (Note: This list was updated in December 2014.)

Because I haven’t gone to most of them I can’t offer personal recommendations. But a visit to their website should give you an idea of the nature of their classes. For professional-level classes outside of Paris, there’s a list below of those that specialize in pastry.

jam in tart

Cooking Classes in Paris

Atelier des Chefs

Atelier des Sens

Atelier Gastronomique de Alain Ducasse: The cooking school of super-chef Alain Ducasse

Cook ‘n With Class

Cordon Bleu

Cuisine Attitude by Cyril Lignac

Ecole Ferrandi: Paris’ school for professionals who want to cook, classes in English and French

Ecole Bellouet Conseil

Ecole Lenôtre: One-day classes for home cooks, and professional programs

Les Coulisses du Chef

Le Foodist

Chef Martial

Chez Bogato (Offers kids classes as well)

Cucina di Terresa: Organic & vegetarian cooking

La Belle Ecole

La Cuisine: English & French classes

L’Atelier de Fred

Gourmet Promenades: With Paule Caillat (in English)

La Cuisine de Marie Blanche

Ecole Escoffier: at the Ritz Carlton

On Rue Tatin with Susan Loomis: Classes in Paris & Normandy

Patricia Wells: Weeklong cooking programs


spatulas chocolate

Specialized Chocolate Classes For Professionals Outside of Paris

Ecole Chocolat

Pam Williams offers an online course in chocolate-making, with the option of coming to France (and Italy) and learning with selected professionals.

Chocolate Academy of Barry-Callebaut

Ecole du Grand Chocolat at Valrhona

Read about my visit to Valrhona’s Chocolate School

Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Pâtisserie


Never An Empty Glass

Wine Tastings and Classes in Paris

Musée du Vin

Ecole du vin

David in Paris

Jacques Vivet’s Centre de Désgustation

Paris by Mouth Wine Tours

O-Château: Wine tasting in English with sommelier Oliver Magny and his excellent team of sommeliers.


Cheese Tastings and Classes in Paris


Check out my post: Cheese Tastings in Paris


Related Paris Posts

  • Paris Transit Options

  • Gluten-Free Eating in Paris

  • Paris Favorites

  • Paris Cooking Classes & Wine Tasting Programs

  • 10 Things to Do With Kids in Paris

  • 10 Delicious Things Not to Miss in Paris

  • Tipping in Paris

  • Romantic restaurants in Paris

  • Health Care Tips for Travelers to France

  • Where to Find the Best Steak Frites in Paris

  • Accessible Travel in Paris

  • Getting Money in Paris

  • Paris Dining Blog Posts

  • Where is the best duck confit in Paris?

  • Paris Dining Guides

  • Finding A Hotel in Paris

  • Paris Airport Transfers

  • Ways To Save Money in Paris

  • Some Favorite Paris Restaurants

  • Vegetarian Dining Tips for Paris and a list of Vegetarian Restaurants

  • Where to Find a Great Hamburger in Paris (Kid-friendly)

  • Sunday Dining in Paris

  • Renting a Vacation Apartment in Paris

  • Recommended Paris Guides

  • Gourmet Paris: What to Eat Where, Dish by Dish

  • Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris

  • Pâtisseries in Paris

  • Hungry for Paris

  • Zagat Paris

  • Markets of Paris

  • Eating and Drinking in Paris: French Menu Reader

  • The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris

  • Bits & Pieces: (Favorite Links)

    Croissants and Pains au chocolat

    I always thought that someone could make a mint opening up a good coffee place in Paris. Now there seems to be a few who’ve heeded the call: Coutume Café (47, rue Babylon), KooKa BooRa (62, rue de Martyrs), and Le Bal. Quelle difference!

    And since this is the Year of Mexico, in France, a few new Mexican places have opened up serving authentic (or close to authentic) Mexican fare. If you close your eyes, except for the people speaking French instead of Spanish, the super-delicious tacos at Candelaria will make you feel as if you’re right there, in Mexico. And for those who like cocktails, the plain white wooden door in the back leads to a hip cocktail lounge. The Guêpe vert is my favorite, although this isn’t the place for cocktail-lovers who want a quiet space to sip their drinks. (Check out my post Mexican restaurants in Paris for a more complete list.)

    Continue Reading Bits & Pieces: (Favorite Links)…

    Mexican Restaurants in Paris

    rice & beans, paris

    People think it’s odd that there’s a craving amongst a certain crowd (namely transplanted Californians…but with a growing number of curious locals) in Paris seeking Mexican food. But like any city with an international population, a variety of ethnic food and places are welcome.

    (And if you don’t believe me, I’ve been reading about the hordes descending upon the Italian food emporium that recently opened in Manhattan.)

    Parisians, notably the younger set, are becoming more adventurous about Latin American foods and the quality of Mexican places is getting better, including a few joints that are rolling out their own tortillas. Even Chipotle has opened in Paris.

    Continue Reading Mexican Restaurants in Paris…

    Matsuri Sustainable Sushi

    matsuri tuna sushi

    [UPDATE: Matsuri is no longer focusing on serving sustainable varieties of fish/sushi.]

    When I was a teenager, we made a trip to Los Angeles and a family friend took us to a Japanese restaurant. I remember it well, because I was going through that phase where you’re willing to do things on a dare, not because you’re keenly interested in new experiences, but because you want to show off that you’re not afraid of taking on a few dares. And I remember some of my family flipping out a little when we were presented with a big, shiny wooden board covered with raw strips of fish, lined up in neat rows, ready to be eaten just as is.

    Because part of my youthful folly of trying to be daring and ‘different’ was using chopsticks to eat everything (as if just being myself wasn’t enough…), I was also happy to be able to show off my mastery with les baguettes, as they’re called in French. And I was going to fearlessly eat raw fish with them.

    scallops

    I don’t remember what I ate exactly, but I do remember that trepidation of my first bite, and seeing a few people at the table squirm as I chewed and swallowed the first of those cold, slippery slices of fish. Of course, sushi is now considered normal fare in many countries and you can buy it in supermarkets, airports, and even in the frozen food section. And I’ve been in pretty remote towns in both the United States and in France, and have passed restaurants serving sushi, or les sushis.

    During the few decades between that first bite of fish that I had, and now, our collective international hunger for seafood has grown, so much so that many popular varieties of fish used for sushi are on the brink of disappearing. French president Nicolas Sarkozy attempted to ban bluefin tuna but an organization of French fishermen and other groups successfully stopped the ban. So in spite of its tenuous position, if you go to a fish market this morning, you’ll see glistening on ice, big, meaty, shiny-red triangles of that unfortunately delicious bluefin tuna along with many other species that are not considered responsible.

    A few top French chefs have taken bluefish tuna off their menus, in their upscale restaurants, but the ‘fast-food’ style sushi restaurants that have invaded Paris are invariably packed at lunchtime. Sometimes visitors are surprised to see so many sushi take-out places, which seems to be vying in Paris with the banks and boulangeries for storefront dominance. But like people in cities elsewhere, the locals are looking for something quick, inexpensive, and healthy for lunch. Parisians, mostly the younger crowd, have embraced these quick sushi joints, which normally have just three kinds of sushi: bluefin tuna (thon rouge), shrimp, and salmon, which are considered some of the least sustainable types of fish and seafood you can consume.

    tuna rolls Japanese ginger

    Like so many others, long after that first experience with poisson cru (raw fish) back in California, I’ve developed a deep fondness for sushi and sashimi. But as the news and scientists report about disappearing species, I can’t shake that deeply ingrained “Bay Area Guilt”, as I call it, about trying to be vert and have a difficult time sitting down to a meal and eating something that’s on the verge of extinction.

    (Which is why I will also get up and walk to the other side of my apartment to recycle a postage stamp-size scrap of paper rather than toss it into the trash can under my desk or I’ll carry around a used métro ticket in my pocket for weeks until I get to a place to recycle it.)

    Being a good foot soldier, still to this day, I’ve dialed down drinking bottled water as much as possible, and I’ve seriously curtailed my consumption of fish. But when I walked by Matsuri, a chain of sushi bars in France a few months back, and saw the sign outside that they were serving another kind of tuna, I decided to check it out with Meg of Paris by Mouth.

    sushi rolls

    The sushi at Matsuri arrive to diners via a motorized conveyor belt. So for hard-core sushi fans, this isn’t a place to go to discover the skills of a well-trained, inventive sushi chef. I normally wince when I see floating boats and other gimmicks in sushi bars, but so be it. And it was nice to see a laminated card on each table, talking about the sushi éthique, the sustainability of the scallops and albacore tuna that they serve in place of bluefin tuna (thon rouge).

    tuna avocado roll pickled radish sushi

    The sushi wasn’t knocking our chausettes off, but it was encouraging to see and to eat sushi that you didn’t have to worry too much about enjoying. (Most of the varieties are on the WWF’s—avec moderation seafood list.)

    As mentioned, I’m suspicious of places were the sushi goes around and around and around (and around) on a conveyor belt. But the staff seemed to be putting just the right amount of things out and I didn’t see many of the small plates taking multiple tours around the dining room. Although Matsuri is a small chain of restaurants, the sushi is made there and most of the standard small rolls and sashimi rolled by were familiar favorites.

    However we were seated about two-thirds of the way down the conveyor belt and the three fellows just to our left, and the woman with two small kids just before them, seemed to have an uncanny knack for reaching for what we were oogling just before we got our crack at it. So if you go, try to get a seat closer to the open kitchen, where the sushi comes out, for best selection.

    Still, I like when restaurants run out of food, and it’s fine when it doesn’t necessarily come out super-fast, which often is a good indication that it’s prepared fresh and with care. Running low (or out) of things means they’re not stockpiling.

    Matsuri plates matsuri plates

    For all the fresh fish consumed in France, including salmon tartare, which has become a staple on each and every trendy bistro menu, it’s interesting that only a few decent sushi bars have opened in Paris. But as much as folks grouse about chain restaurants, it’s gratifying to see one leading the way in France, showing that you can serve sustainable food at approachable prices. It’s a trend that I hope to see more of.


    Matsuri
    36, rue de Richelieu (1st)
    Tél: 01 42 61 05 73

    (With each dish priced between €2 and €5, with two mugs of hot green tea, our lunch was €36. Matsuri has various restaurants and take-away shops in Paris and other French cities, as well as Geneva.)


    Related Links

    Les Pâtes Vivantes

    The 64 cent Fish

    The Sustainable Seafood Dilemna (Chocolate & Zucchini)

    European Sustainable Seafood Guides (WWF)

    Saying No To Disposable Chopsticks

    Slow Fish

    Pour Une Pêche Durable (French WWF seafood guide)

    Europe’s Appetite for Seafood Propels Illegal Trade (New York Times)