What I brought home from our trip: from Paris, Bosnia and Serbia
Whenever I travel, I find that I bring home what most travellers may find odd: books, food, and art. This summer I was in Paris for the first time on my own (I have been to Paris many times with students as I planned European trips for them). Vanja knew I had been quite frustrated when running past food stores or kitchenware shops on my travels with my students and that this time I was definitely making time to go through grocery stores, go to a market, and shop for kitchen supplies and specialty items. I promised to update this shopping post with my purchases once I got home, but have decided to share my finds here. I love to learn where others buy their specialty items so that I can, too, so I hope some of you will find this information useful.
Here are my purchases from E. Dehillerin.
I cannot wait to use the brioche pans!
The sweet little doilies remind me of my mother and Thomas Keller. Below, right, are the miniature tart pans that I bought. Each is so small, and fairly pricey.
Ta-da! The canalémolds! The large and small ones were purchased at E. Dehillerin. The middle sized ones were purchased at Mora. They are each very heavy. Now, to investigate recipes and find some beeswax and get going on learning how to make these!
I love terrines and do own a couple. This shape was appealing to me and I am really excited to use it.
I don’t know why I bought this spoon. I am sure I will use it.
The huge scraper was a find. I am always using them and this will get worn out! Below, you will see some interesting lobster picks that would be perfect for marrow bones, too.
My purchases from G. Detou follow.
I am thrilled with this purchase as I have been contemplating ordering it online for about five years, but there are so many different kinds and I didn’t want to do it until I knew which was really good. This one is really good! And, I brought it home with me. Yum! I am including the numbers on the items I bought in case you want to contact the store and have them sent to you.
Below, the extraordinary essences and extracts. Oh, my! When I tell you that these are the best I have ever come across, please know that I am an essence and extract fanatic with my nose always in them.
The above label was a common one in this store. Below, the violette pearls! And, lilac, and rose, and blueberry pearls! They smell and taste so delicious, too!
I have included an enlargement of a Tonka bean. They are so aromatic that I cannot wait to find something to grate these onto. They used to be illegal for importation purposes.
I have not tried any of the colorants, but have it from a very good source that these are the best.
The remaining purchases were made at the Rue de Cler Market or by popping into little shops enroute to somewhere. I so enjoyed being able to do that! Fauchon is another iconic Parisian luxury food store that is actually a complex of stores and restaurants across from the massive L’Ã‰glise Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. Photographs were not allowed inside. We certainly went and I did enjoy the experience. We were going to lunch there, but it was just too fancy for the mood Vanja was in that afternoon. That was fine with me. It was extremely expensive (thought they had different restaurants with different price points) and I was not prepared to spend too much time on any meal at that time, either. But, I bought some Piment d’Espelette mustard there!
Piment d’Espelette is a hot item in France. It has been for quite some time and I cannot find it here, yet. It was definitely on my shopping list. (Well worth following the link to read about it.) We were told that if it didn’t have the official seal and a paper over the lid, that it was not authentic. It is a very carefully governed product in France from the Basque region.
I do not recall where I spotted the gelÃ©e or the basque fleur de sel au Pinment d’espelette (both without the official seal), but am glad I picked each one up!
After the Bastille Day Dinner at Le Cuisine, I had to find the XerÃ¨s vinegar for the cold beet soup. It made all of the difference to me. It is the compelling je ne sais quoi of that soup.
I have had Cassis Moutarde before (actually, I still have a large bottle) and I use it often when I do a charcuterie platter. I adore it. I was also looking for Moutarde au Violette, but did not find any.
The left, above, is a special pepper that has a great flavour and will be fun to experiment with. The red peppercorns to the right were the most fragrant I had ever come across and while I had an entire bag at home, I just had to buy some of these. Now, to use them! The gal at L’Epicerie at the Rue de Cler Market suggested that if I want a special spice blend unique to this area, that the one below, left would be the one. It is a local curry blend. She said she would write it down for me, but somehow we left without it. Does anyone know what it would be?
Would you believe Vanja got into the action? He asked for some grilling rubs and spices. Maybe that is where the fleur de sel with the piment d’espelette several rows above came from. It is also where the Sel Fou came from. I enlarged the ingredients below. I can’t wait to see how you use your new finds, Vanja! (XO)
I know I already had these from G. Detou. But, maybe they are not the same. These were certainly more expensive. I could not pass them up.
Oh! here are the violette candies that I bought on the Champs ElysÃ©e at Gumps! Beavie was so happy to see these come out of the suitcase.
The treasures from here on are from either Bosnia or Serbia. As verrines have been an interest of mine for about 2 years, I have quite a collection. I have had a glass fetish for years. In Serbia and Bosnia there are a great variety (usually) of tiny glasses due to the universal custom of drinking rakija every time any one comes or for no reason at all. I have discovered some really fun finds there, over the years. Eventually they make their way here, but for a lot more money. These are not all that unique, but they compliment a set of three I am building so that I can present three different verrines on a little white tray: each glass similar in size and shape, but different. These were two Canadian dollars for a box of six.
We tend to go to the grocery store in Bijeljina a lot and definitely spend a long trip there each time to stock Pava up on her supplies as much as we can, so I have a lot of time to investigate. I have found that the baking supplies are considerably different. There are a lot of what I consider “tacky” decorating items. But, some I really like. Above, are tiny, tiny little flowers. I should have put a penny beside the photo. The lid is probably smaller than a quarter. These will be fun for the top of a mini-cupcake or a petit four. The chicken paté(regular patésize cans) are a well known and very popular item there. I really loved it, too, until I read the ingredients and saw how high the fat content was. We always bring some home to give a gift of it and to enjoy it.
The silver dragÃ©e shapes were fascinating: hearts, smartie shapes, small and large ovals…. each for about 50 cents a bottle.
And, the piÃ¨ce de resistance: Pava’s homemade egg noodles for the traditional (before almost every meal) chicken noodle soup. You can buy these homemade in almost every outdoor market in the Balkans. (Honestly, there is no taste difference for me, compared to the ones that look similar at The Italian Centre Shop in Edmonton, but there is a huge dose of love in these ones!)
I have not tried this lemon juice yet, but it was calling my name. In France, they sell a bottled lemon juice by the litre that everyone uses for the traditional French Lemon Tart. It is just that good. Maybe this one is, too. I will have to find out.
Now, this is what I am talking about. Look at how wet the brown bag is from the oils of the fresh sweet red paprika. This is just the best paprika that I have ever come across and I have to get a stash every time I go. I would have bought more this time, but this was the end of his bin.
And the hot paprika is great, too, but I don’t use it nearly enough, so just bought a little (100 grams). What else is there? Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. This is indeed the land of “spits” and the best I have had. We always try to buy a bag to share while in Belgrade and one for home!
These treasures were shared with you today so that you can learn from my pleasures, and buy them too, should anything here appeal to you. Now, I have to get out into the garden. It looks like the rain is clearing up!