Shops & Markets

Les Abeilles

Miel de Bruyère Callune

Les Abeilles is a tiny little store perched at the top of the Butte-aux-Cailles, in the 13th arrondissement, and incidently just a skip and a hop from my office (which has, in passing, been trying quite hard to keep me away from my regular blogging schedule, sending me this way and that, thus tragically depriving me of a decent Internet connection in the evening).

As the name implies to the French-friendly ear, Les Abeilles is a beekeeping store, which is unusual enough in Paris. They sell you a certain number of tools and ingredients and foodstuff and vitamins to take care of your beehives, and they themselves actually own and maintain a few in the nearby Kellerman park, which I find utterly fascinating (fume-flavored honey, anyone?). But about apiculture I know next to nothing, so I won’t dwell on that, but will certainly look into it when I get a chance, as this is bound to be the next hip thing to do with your balcony. Won’t my neighbors just love that.

Besides beekeeping gear, and this is the reason why I walked into the store in the first place, Les Abeilles also sells a range of bee-derived products : body care products, gelée royale, propolis (that magic golden stuff that looks like wax and that you’re supposed to ingest in small quantities to strengthen your immune system), and — let’s cut to the chase and talk about what we’re really interested in — honey-based food products.

They have a quite impressive range of different honeys, in small, medium or large jars, produced by bees fed on different kinds of pollen, from flowers or shrubs or trees. You can sample any of them with mini ice-cream spoons, from a tray of jars dedicated to that purpose. In addition to “simple” honeys, they offer spreads that are a mix of honey and nuts, allowing you to start the day with a honey-hazelnut toast for instance — quite the energy boost I’m sure. They also sell nonettes, those small honey cakes filled with orange marmelade or some other kind of jam (quite similar to the mignonnettes I bought in Bourogne), and I remember seeing some bonbons au miel, those little hard candies made with honey, traditionally used as a fine remedy against sore-throats.

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Notes from the Salon du Fromage (continued)

Notes from the Salon du Fromage (continued)

And here is the second batch of notable tidbits from the Salon du Fromage! (Read the first part here.)

Mont d’Or is a cow cheese, soft inside a thicker rind, wrapped in pine bark and sold in a round wooden box. A popular and wonderful way to eat it is the “Boîte Chaude” (Hot Box), where the Mont d’Or is oven-baked in its box, with a little white wine. Les Monts de Joux, a cheese producer from the Jura, sells their delicious Mont d’Or in a fun DIY kit, which includes a small bottle of vin d’Arbois and all the necessary instructions to prepare your own Boîte Chaude. Baked Mont d’Or is, in my experience, a great dish to share with a few close friends, along with a nice salad and good crusty bread : each guest helps himself, more or less messily, to a spoonful of gooey and tasty cheese. And before long, everyone resorts to just dipping his bread directly in, then passing the cheese on to his neighbor. A wonderfully comforting and laid-back pseudo-meal.

– A producer from Poitou-Charentes was offering fresh goat cheese flavored with herbs and condiments in convenient little trays, petit-four style : balls of goat cheese rolled in raisins, chopped walnuts or shallots flakes, or small triangles sprinkled with herbes de Provence, dill, crushed pepper or cumin seeds. Reminds you of something?

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L’Etoile d’Or

L'Etoile d'Or

L’Etoile d’Or is a little candy store in the rue Fontaine, sprung right out of a fairy tale.

It is but a ten-minute walk from where I live, so I find it charmingly ironic that I owe its discovery to my Bay Area blog-friend, Derrick, who mentioned it to me in a recent email : he and his wife Melissa have taken several trips to Paris, and food lovers that they are, they have excellent finds to share.

And so it is that just a few days ago, following Derrick’s advice, I set off towards the Moulin Rouge to hunt for this little boutique, in the maze of narrow streets lined with cabarets and bars which have seen better days – days when they were all risqué and glamorous and shady, days come and gone, leaving them touchingly derelict. The very picture of a woman, way past her prime, with a tight leather top and too much makeup.

But I find L’Etoile d’Or easily in the midst of this, surrounded as it seems to be by a golden glow, showering down on me beneath the awning. The pleasant impression is confirmed when I push the door open to the ring of a bell, and step inside the store, all glass cases and mirrors and golden shelves and candy, candy everywhere, as far as the eye can see. I find myself alone inside, a little intimidated, a little Goldilocks.

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The Sprouted Seeds Project

At the lovely Pousse-Pousse boutique the other day, I bought myself a sprouter, and two tubs of sprouting seeds. A tub of pink radish seeds, and a tub of the “longevity mix“, which includes alfalfa, broccoli, turnip, lentil, mustard, black radish and soy seeds.

They have a lot of other seeds to choose from, but the pink radish is peppery while the longevity mix has a more mellow taste (devoid of aniseed), so the duo seemed like a good place to start.

I left them to soak in water for the night, before placing them on different racks of the sprouter, and have been faithfully watering them, twice a day, with water filtered in our Brita jug. They’re supposed to be ready after 5 days, and so far so good, so Monday should find us eating our first sprouted seeds salad!

7 rue Notre-Dame de Lorette
75009 Paris
01 53 16 10 81

G. Detou: The Magic Baker’s Store

Last weekend, while I was in the 1st arrondissement buying kitchenware, I remembered my grandmother telling me about a professional baking supplies store she used to go to when she still had four sons to feed at home.

The store is called G. Detou, which happens to be a pun: “G. Detou” is pronounced like “J’ai de tout“, which means “I have a bit of everything”.

I couldn’t remember where the shop was so I looked up the address, and I was amazed when I finally located it, right in the middle of rue Tiquetonne, which I’d walked up and down countless times without ever noticing this jewel was there. I really don’t have an explanation other than that there is magic at work here — you know, this little nook of a place that thou shalt see only if thy heart is pure and thy desire to buy baking supplies in bulk is earnest.

G. Detou

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