Kitchen, Bakeware and Specialty Food Shopping in Paris, Day 4: (a dream come true) Ingredient Shopping !
G. Detou at 58, rue Tiquetonne was our second stop on our trip, but definitely my favourite as it was the ingredient store! As I am still away, sitting in a wireless (and air-conditioned) caféin Bijeljina, Bosna, I have not yet taken group photos of what I purchased, but I will when I arrive home in a week, or so, and update this post. I walked in to the tiny little space and felt immediate disappointment as I scanned the four walls of the tiny space. There was nothing here. What could be so exciting about this store that I was recommended to come by all chefs so far?
A gentleman approached looking helpful and said something very quickly in French, so I responded, “Essence violette?” with my voice lifting at the end of the second word. Please say yes! “Oui!” was his enthusiastic response as he guided me around a little corner past the register window and pointed up high on the shelf. I nodded, and he brought it down opening it for me to sniff. Swoon! I think I am in love! No one knows what lengths I have gone to up until now to find this essence, and here it is! I will not elaborate, but allow me to say that I have several at home from everywhere, all bad. This is it! I definitely show my passion and he pulls down other essences: lavender? passion fruit, cassis, rose, etc… I have rose, but, yes to the all of the others, and some more, I am sure. “verveine?” I would love to get that one. “Ah, non!” he bows his head in shame and tells me they have been out of it for over three weeks. (They could have been out of violette, so I swallow my disappointment.) These essences are very special. The cassis is also incredible and one of my other very favourite flavours. I regret not getting two violette bottles, already. I took the photo below without even realizing that I was taking a photo of the precious violette pearls I had been searching for.
What else? Ah, the pistachio paste that I saw in the fridge at La Cuisine during our cooking class: one large can, please. The owner of La Cuisine kindly gave me the address and a very high recommendation to G. Detou. Thank you!
Oh! I recall Helene, of Tartlette, having violette pearls that I wrote and asked her about. She had said her sister had bought them for her in France and she didn’t ask where. “Violette pearls?” “Ah! Oui!” came the readily enthusiastic response and I was guided to a shelf right in front of my eyes that were to blind (or overwhelmed) to see the treasures in front of me. Oh, my! All kinds and all sizes of violette and other pearls. Yes, please.
Colours? Yes! Now, I must say that it has so far been my experience that every time I speak French I am answered in English. Every time. Except here. This gentleman cannot speak fluent English, but he does understand the basics and was such a pleasure to work with. When he saw my obvious delight as I discovered treasure after treasure, he became a partner in this experience and took me from shelf to shelf to shelf showing and explaining and offering. I felt truly blessed to be in his hands. He took me over to the bulk packaging of vanilla beans: fresh Bourbon and Tahitian beans for under two Canadian dollars a piece in a bundle of 24 each. I bought one of each (of course) and I did buy several colours, too. Not as many as I wanted. As always, but too many, as well.
I spotted the tonka beans in front of the register behind the window as the gal was writing my bill (as in E. Dehillerin, nothing is computerized, and all is by hand: old, old school).Â I asked about it and he opened the lid for me to take in the remarkable fragrance. “Un, s’il vous plait!” That was added to my bill, too. He explained that you grate it onto the top of desserts. I left this store in less than 30 minutes with two heavy bags of “groceries”. Vanja was just crossing the street to meet me at our agreed upon time, and I was actually finished early! (I could have stayed longer, and definitely bought more, but had to consider our luggage home.)
But, let’s recap the day from the start. I digress. As always, we were up early, but not as early as usual. G. Detou opens at 8:30 am, and E. Dehillerin, the first on our route, at 9 am. I took the photo below as it indicated we were very close to E. Dehillerin by the street signs, but look at the E. in the background! We are right in front of the store without me even realizing what I was looking at!
We arrived t E. Dehillerin at 8:45, so decided to wait instead of going on to G. Detou. If I had known how close G. Detou really was, we would not have waited. All of these stores are within minutes of one another. And all are a little South East of the Louvre. We got off the bus and headed for the Rue de Louvre (or, as Julia Child’s used to call it: the Roo de Loo). She lived up the street (South) somewhere from where we were, but apparently E. Dehillerin at 18, rue CoquilliÃ©re was her favourite kitchenware store. I am certain it has changed very little. The window displaying verrines might be the only difference.
I admit that the smallest things excite me: first spotting the store, the sign on the side, the street name, the window displays. This time I was absolutely licking the windows!
I had come for two specific items originally: canelémolds, and brioche pans. Since the class the night prior at La Cuisine, I added a piston to my list. I had heard it was expensive, but so are the other items. However, I know all will be considerably less expensive here than through an internet order at home. I have checked. Look at the lacy paper doilies. I have always loved these. As I have been to Paris five times prior, always at Easter, it was also fascinating for me to see a traditional lamb mold.
If you look past the reflection in the window above, left, you will see many, many round tart molds. I was crazy for not buying one. What was I thinking? There were more sizes than imaginable. I recall BÃ©néshowing me that she had one when I had my first French Macaron lesson from her. The photo on the right are the larges pastry tips I have ever seen. What in the world are these used for?
There is a little coffee shop across the street. The perfect place for Vanja to read the papers while I shop. Actually, an hour in this store was plenty for me. However, we were there when there was no one else there, so I didn’t have to fight the crowds or wait to see anything or get any help. The door was open at 10 to 9, but when we “wandered in” tentatively, we were “greeted” with a definite “the store opens at 9″, en FranÃ§ais. I waited until 5 after before I was brave enough to venture in, again!
In the window, above, left, a racelette machine appearing to be the quality used in Borough Market to please the hungry crowds when we were there in March of this year. The mold, above, confused me. Anyone know what it is for? Actually, the gentleman that had originally “barked” at us when we came in early, was lovely. He didn’t answer in English when I spoke in French, though it later became apparent that he could have. He found my piston, canelé(two sizes – the traditional size was really heavy gage copper), and the brioche pans for me right away. “Non problem,” to photos, and he placed everything for me in a pile to add to as I looked around. By the way, the largest canelémold was 15 Euro and are almost impossible to find online. When I have, they were 25 to 30 US dollars a piece, not including postage. Though these were very expensive they were definitely the best price I could find anywhere for the past few years.
The store was packed from ceiling to floor and was a little overwhelming, at first: like too much chocolate. But, I persevered! To the right, above, in the little green bins are all shapes and sizes of miniature petit four and tart tins. I already own many, but had so much fun looking at the vast selection. I did add to my collection, but not any new shapes. I just added numbers to some I already have.
There were no miniature brioche tins here, today. There were some, later, at Mora, but in a package of 24. I wanted three sizes, but settled for two: the traditional size, and the large size. The piston I bought is gorgeous and beautiful and shiny and bright with no plastic parts and I think I may just display it as a piece of modern art in my kitchen! I cannot wait to use it. I believe it was 110 Canadian dollars. I know. Outrageous, yet, I will use it a great deal. I have been using a lot of inappropriate and colourful vocabulary when I prepare special foods in small glasses in my kitchen as I haven’t had one. This will save my soul! Below are some of the examples of the miniatures in the bins, but there are so many more.
The larger pans and bakeware had me spellbound. The cookery pans and pots were incredibly precious. I stood and looked and held and fondled the one, below, right, for quite some time.
And there is a downstairs, too, primarily for the oversized equipment, restaurant-wise.
The copperware was the best selection I have seen anywhere. And, what you don’t see, you can just ask for and it will be brought out from behind the cashier from a mysterious, but clearly well organized “stash”.
Oh, I should have done more research on what kind of copper caramel sauce pan I want. I guess it is a good thing I didn’t know. There was enough I did know!
Everywhere I looked, I saw things I had heard of, but never seen, and many I had never heard of. I learned a great deal. When I asked the kind man if the tool, below, left was for fish, he responded that it was definitely for scaling and filleting the fish. Had I lived where there where fish, it would be in the bag, but we don’t grow fish on the prairies.
Aren’t these pans gorgeous, below? I wanted the rooster, too. It felt so French cuisiney. The oval pans were just a pleasure to look at. All of them were. It was like I was at the Art Gallery of Kitchen Ware. I was charmed, educated, edified and enthralled. The white ware was also spectacular. Thank goodness I had just loaded up at the last Edmonton Gift Show… however, there are many terrines that were calling my name. No doubt about it.
My “pile” grew and grew. I will photograph the treasures and post them here once I return home: the brioche pans, canelémolds, the piston, doilies, a massive scraper, a patéor terrine mold (a long and narrow one) and a couple of other items I really cannot recall. It will be like Christmas when I get home and unpack!
Everything was done on paper. The young man checked it all, as Vanja put it in the suitcase (which I had insisted we bring knowing myself) and then the electronic bill was printed. We got 65 Euro back, or will, eventually, as we posted the stamped envelope they gave us from Customs. There are advantages to spending so much, Vanja! We got money back!
Now off to G. Detou!
It must be close! Here are the street signs we needed to find!
We were there in about 90 seconds. Leaving G. Detou, across the street was La Bovida. It was clearly a place for kitchen ware, but not on “the list”, this there was no stopping. Of course, we could have stopped, but we had decided to go to the Louvre in the afternoon as we were so close, and it was on “the list”. Sometimes, sacrifice is necessary on a holiday. Next time, this store will be on the list. I would recommend it go onto yours. Interestingly, to the left, and across the street, is G. Detou; to the right, down and across the street is Mora. It is the only one of the three stores that I visited with a website. It is also famous for its chocolate molds. I didn’t know this until I arrived in Paris and found out, but good to know it in the future. I don’t make molded chocolates, yet. But, I would like to.
This photo, and the one of G. Detou are not mine. I took them, but they are almost white. I need to learn how to use my camera! These are from the web.
Mora is at 13, rue Montmartre and the place to buy verrines (small glasses), for sure! I didn’t, but they have them all. E. Dehillerin had a host of plastic ones for mass restaurant use. I didn’t see any glass ones there, but that does not mean they don’t have them. I think I would have seen them, though.(View upon entering, below.)
The ones at Mora were not expensive: some were simple and some very unique.
The oval shape, above, middle. was compelling. I resisted. The one not photographed, to the right, was similar to the one on the far left, but without the thick bottom: very simple and most definitely the most popular shape of verrine used in books and restaurants that I have seen. (I realize that I have a limited view, but the simplicity of the vessel makes since as it is the entire point of it, I think.) The cubes were cute, but seemed out of place somehow: too cutting edge?
The chocolate molds were absolutely impressive. They were not cheap, but they are made of a very durable material. The ones I have bought in the past have cost the same, and after one use are garbage as they warp in the hot water they are washed in after.
The metal non-stick petit four and tart tins were almost as varied here, but all in plastic sets of 24 which was very limiting for purchasing purposes in my opinion.
The tips for pastry and icings overwhelmed me. Look at the one on the far right. Think it, and it will exist.
I know now that I do not have enough silpats, but they are not cheaper here. They are actually more economical to purchase at home.
Many items can be purchased for considerably less at home (above) and many cannot be found at home (below). The entire shelf is filled with verrines. Such fun to look at!
There was a beautiful collection of books filled with recipes I would love to have translated! I can pretty much read the ingredients…but, the instructions can be, at times, confusing for me. And the copper… oh, the copper!
Canelémolds of all sizes, literally. Many more that three sizes, but the only one that was heavy was the largest size. I got my third size here. Happy dance!
Did I exclaim about the copper? And the variety of molds? Such variety. Such interesting shapes. Such impressive and traditional shapes.
Again, the copper pans of all shapes and sizes. I didn’t even bother to attempt to compare prices with E. Dehillerin. I will when I am ready to buy some! What fun it is to shop in Paris for kitchen and bakeware!
There is actually a second area in Mora that does sell decorating ingredients. Different brands than I say at G. Detou, but some may be the same. This additional space is clearly for cake decorating equipment and supplies. I left with the canelémolds and nothing more. I call that restraint (and lack of room in the suitcase!)
Recounting my little spree today has brought renewed excitement and an impatience to me. I want to go home! Truly. It has been one week too long in this lovely little Bosna. Enough! I want to cook in my own kitchen with familiar ingredients! But, how selfish of me to complain as I am so fortunate to have this experience. Three pigs arrived yesterday, and into the pighouse they went. But, that is yet, another post. Kisses to all and thank you for understanding that I am not reading your posts as it is difficult enough to get mine posted away from home.