I recently heard of a (French) man who has lost his sense of smell. He feels that joy is gone from his life as he can no longer really appreciate the simple pleasures. Simple pleasures we take for granted; the fragrance of a berry rich Bordeaux, a perfectly ripe Camembert,or the knee weakening earthy perfume of a truffle can send some into ecstasy.
For my own little scent of ecstasy I head to Ryst Dupeyron, where Didier helps me chose the perfect wine for every meal, often down-selling me to bottles that are more reasonably priced and better suited to my palette. Every visit ends in a tear (larme). Usually its a petite larme of Porto, because he knows its my weakness. But sometimes he’s thrilled with a newly opened scotch, or Armagnac. Amagnacs are the house specialty, and they’ve been growing their own since 1905. They also make fantastic gifts; you can choose a bottle from the birth year of the giftee, or perhaps the year you met. And they’ll personalize the labels for you. They have small bottles so you can give a little sampling of different years and they even have very single serving tubes. You can order online where there is something for every budget across the globe. If you order more than 80€, enter the promotional code; foiegras and you get a free jar with your order (don’t tell California).
Now wine is not for everyone and I could talk about my fromagerie, Quatrehommes, but I’m not sure a cheese platter makes a great gift for someone already in Paris and I don’t think it ships well (although it does ok when being smuggled out of the country…) so I am going to skip the camemberts and suggest my favorite food group; funghi.
More particularly the black truffle from the Perigord. I seem to have the nose of a well trained pig and have managed to find truffles in Paris ever since my arrival. I know! You’ve heard they’re expensive. This is true. One decent sized truffle will go for 20-40€. But please READ ON… that truffle can make 3-4 meals. This week, for example, I ordered a truffle the size of a walnut (about 20 grams) It will cost me 20-40€ depending on this year’s market rate. Monday night I’ll be making an omelette for 6 people: dinner, with the 12 eggs and 1 fungus among us, plus the baguette, Mache salad and the Pouilly Fume wine will be under 60€ for six. AND I’ll have 1/2 a truffle left over for Tuesday nigh with Mr French when I’ll use 1/4 to sliver over sea scallops and finally, Wed will be risotto for 4 with the 1/4 that is left.
Now that I’ve totally justified it for you and you can buy your truffles guilt free, where do you find a fine specimen? I get mine at the boul Raspail organic market. If you start at the corner of Cherche Midi, about half way down on your left is a young couple selling Italian goods from a stand they’ve named La Cucina. Ask to speak to Monsieur with the goatee and tell him you’d like to order a truffle. If you’re lucky he’ll have an extra on hand, if not, you’ll have to return the following week. If you don’t have two weekends in Paris, or if you need your truffle, like NOW (which I TOTALLY understand) the butcher Fontaine and the fruit stand on the rue du Sevres are both selling truffles right now.
What special treats are you hoping Santa brings you?
Boucherie Fontaine – 133 Rue de Sèvres 6e, (M) Duroc – 01 47 34 55 83
L’Orangerie au Vieux Sevres – 66 Rue de Sèvres 7e, (M) Vaneau – 01 47 34 55 18