Paris

Paris Cheese Shop How-To: 6 Tips to Buy Cheese Like The French

Paris cheese shop

Taka & Vermo, a Paris cheese shop in the 10th arrondissement.

Walking into a Paris cheese shop can be a daunting affair if you don’t know what you’re looking for, or how to ask. The great thing, though, is that most fromagers (cheesemongers) in the city are more than happy to help you select the perfect cheeses for your cheese plate.

Laure and Mathieu, creators of the artisanal cheese shop Taka & Vermo in the trendy 10th arrondissement of Paris, gave us* a tour of their shop and the aging cellar downstairs, where many of the cheeses are left to get nice and creamy in ninety-nine percent humidity.

Tips for a smooth Paris cheese shop experience

They allowed us to take the beautiful pictures that illustrate this post, and shared their passion for their craft. Visit them to taste their goods!**

Scenes from a Paris cheese shop

Raclette is traditionally eaten in the winter, melted and poured over boiled potatoes. It is also quite popular to host raclette parties with friends, similar to those for fondue.

1. Know your cheese families

In your French cheese adventures, you’ll come across three major types of milk: cow, goat, and sheep. But within each milk type, the choices are endless: among goat’s milk cheeses alone you will find many different shapes and aging stages, from chèvre très frais (very fresh), to frais (fresh), crémeux (creamy), or secs (aged).

Tommes, those large, quintessential rounds of mountain cheese, can be found made of cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk, but most cheeses with a flowery (or bloomy) rind, like Brie or Camembert, are made with cow’s milk (fromages de vache). Same for cheeses with a sticky orange rind (croûte lavée), which are often the most pungent, stinkiest cheeses of all — think Munster (the real French kind from Lorraine and Alsace) or Epoisses from Burgundy.

For a classic sheep’s milk cheese, or fromage de brebis, seek out Roquefort, a blue cheese from the south of France that is protected by a denomination of origin (AOC), and is a unique addition to any cheese plate. Our Paris cheese shop owner, Laure, lists it as one of her favorites.

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12 Amazing Instagram Accounts for Paris Lovers

Cuillier Coffee Shop at 19 rue Yvonne Le Tac in Paris' 18th arrondissement.

Coffee shop Cuillier in Paris' 18th. Follow me on Instagram!

In idle moments, I love to graze through my Instagram feed and discover what everyone is seeing, cooking, and eating. This visually-oriented social network has become very popular among the Paris crowd, and it strikes me as the perfect way to experience the city vicariously, get ideas for your next meal out, or daydream about a future trip.

So if you’re looking to infuse your follow list with more beauty and flavors from the City of Light, here’s a selection of inspiring Instagrammers to get you started!

1. Paris Promenades

Audrey Felix is a Paris apartment hunter and the author of Et si on se promenait… à Paris!, an armchair traveler’s dream come true. Her Instagram is full of shots from the quaint courtyards and dashing apartment buildings she gets to visit daily.

Follow Paris Promenades on Instagram

Follow Paris Promenades on Instagram

2. Lindsey Tramuta

Lindsey Tramuta is an American expat and the author of the blog Lost in Cheeseland, and her Instagram shows she has a keen eye for what makes life delicious and beautiful in her adopted city.

Follow Lindsey Tramuta on Instagram

Follow Lindsey Tramuta on Instagram

3. Cédric Grolet

Cédric Grolet is the young and talented pastry chef at five-star hotel Le Meurice, and his Instagram gives you a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into his pastry lab.

Follow Cédric Grolet on Instagram

Follow Cédric Grolet on Instagram

4. Paris je t’aime

Run with brio by the Paris tourist board, this Instagram is full of gorgeous skies, breathtaking architecture, and charming daily life scenes. If you weren’t already in love with Paris, this would seal the deal.

Follow Paris je t'aime on Instagram

Follow Paris je t’aime on Instagram

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Where To Get Your Knives Sharpened in Paris

A few months ago I read an interview with Yves Charles, owner of Perceval knives, whose handsome 9.47 I have often coveted while dining out at some of the nicer Parisian tables.

In the interview he talked about knife sharpening, and how important it is to have a real pro do it, lest your blades be shot in the process. I could only agree, having had limited success with the different sharpening tools I tried over the years.

I got the same message at the knife store I visited in California last fall: if you take good care of your knives, wash them by hand and put them away mindfully — slipped in a knife block, stashed in the box they came in, or sheathed in a blade guard if you need to put them in a drawer — you can keep a sharp edge on them for months and months, and bring them in for sharpening once a year. It isn’t very costly, and heightens the longevity of your knives.

The truth is, I had been wanting to get mine professionally sharpened for a while, but I wasn’t sure where to go. So when I read Yves Charles saying, “In Paris, there are no more than three good places to get your knives sharpened,” I had to find out what they were.

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Paris Restaurant Picks: Bones, Walaku, Jeanne B., Septime @ Wanderlust

Eel / Trout / Beet / Horseradish @ Bones

Dispatches from my favorite Paris restaurants for April.

BONES

My top pick this month! Bones is a bare-bones (ha!) bistro that operates half as a wine bar, with many natural wine choices by the glass and lots of sharable nibbles, and half as a gastronomic restaurant, showcasing Aussie chef James Henry’s inspired cuisine.

The single tasting menu is composed of four courses for 40€ (add 8€ for the cheese course) with a bonus four amuse-bouche, making this an incredibly good deal.

I especially like that the butter, bread, and charcuterie are all homemade (and very good), which shows a rare commitment, and I fell in love with the Dutch ceramics that they use.

The service is bearded, sweet and attentive, the atmosphere vibrates with voices and music in an exhilarating way, and we had an excellent, excellent time.

Smoked mackerel

Smoked mackerel

Grilled shrimp

Grilled shrimp

Housemade black pig saucisson and cured duck magret

Housemade black pig saucisson and cured duck magret

Black pig bouillon with foie gras

Black pig bouillon with foie gras

Housemade butter

Housemade butter

Housemade bread

Housemade bread

Eel / Trout / Beet / Horseradish @ Bones

Eel / Trout / Beet / Horseradish @ Bones

Salt cod / Asparagus / Egg

Salt cod / Asparagus / Egg

Pigeon / Salsify / Cherry from La Guinelle

Pigeon / Salsify / Cherry from La Guinelle

Gariguette strawberries / Goat's milk yogurt

Gariguette strawberries / Goat’s milk yogurt

Bones, 43 rue Godefroy Cavaignac, 75011 Paris, M° Voltaire, 09 80 75 32 08.

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2013 Omnivore Festival: Inspiration Notes

Omnivore 2013

The 2013 edition of the Omnivore Food Festival (officially called Omnivore World Tour now that it’s a traveling festival) was held at Paris’s Palais de la Mutualité last week. I spent two days out of time in a dark auditorium, watching chefs cook on stage and jotting down notes in a handwriting that looks considerably more pulled together, I’ve only recently found out, if I use felt-tip rather than ball-point pens.

Every year a few common themes or ingredients emerge, and this time we saw a lot of oysters, cabbages, onions, and vegetables cooked to the point of being charred.

Aside from the excitement of climbing into a chef’s brain, seeing him (overwhelmingly more than her, regrettably) do his thing, and listening to him talk about his craft, what I love about those sessions is being inspired by details, pairings, or techniques that I can take away and perhaps rig into my own cooking sometime.

Looking through my notes a few days later, I thought I would wring out a list of these ideas to share with you, in the hope that they may inspire you, too.

From Guillaume Foucault, formerly at L’Artémise in Uzès, soon to open Pertica in Vendôme, in the Perche region:

– A pork belly, cooked for 30 minutes in the skillet, then soaked for 1 1/2 hours at warm room temperature in nuoc mam infused with star anise, cinnamon, and clove (pictured below).

Talauma, a Vietnamese spice that you grate (a bit like nutmeg), pairs well with game meats.

– Fresh, uncooked green beans layered with coarse salt and meadowsweet flowers in a barrel and left to rest for a while. He then cuts the beans in small slices and uses them as a condiment or seasoning, especially with fresh cheese.

Omnivore 2013

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