Saturday, March 3, 2007

Café, les fleurs, fromage, jambon, pain and a Turkish haircut

It seems like all we did was shop yesterday, But we had to do it in stages because there was no car trunk to use as the means of transport.

But first things first … COFFEE. Our apartment presented us with 3 methods, we tried two. One was the plunger type and the other was the kind on the left where you put the water in the bottom, the grounds in the middle and after heating on a stove the coffee magically appears in the top half. I think we are plunger people.

We all know that good French shopping means boulangerie for bread and charcuterie for ham, and so on. But did we ever wonder in first year French where they bought paper towels and toilet paper. Ah hah …. The supermarche. That is where we started. I am always amazed at the wine prices in the supermarche … You’ve got to love a country where the wine and the water are priced about the same.


water ... It's the miracle at Cana all over again!

Our cheese stop was delightful. This fromagerie is staffed by two helpful and very friendly women. We came home with a chevre that was described as “entre deux” which I believe means somewhere between aged and fresh … dry and wet … and a hard cheese from the Savoie called “Beaufort ete”. Beaufort ete is my new favorite cheese.

At the charcuterie we picked up six slices of jambon cuit and ten slices of jambon sec. We also stopped at an Italian charcuterie and picked up some prosciutto ravioli.

We put off buying our bread until the end of the day. As we walked into the boulangerie I saw a sign that this bakery carried the famed “flute Gana.” Normally one would have to take a Metro ride out to the 20th to get a flute Gana. I tried last summer, but, of course, they were closed for the summer holiday. This baguette is named after the famed boulanger, Bernard Ganachaud and its quality is related to the amount of hands on time the baker spends with the dough. This little film does a good job in showing the process.

But of course the ultimate test is taste and texture. I have developed “the test” that I use to put all baguettes on the same playing field. It involves tearing off the tip of the baguette as you walk out of the boulangerie and eating it right then. The flute Gana is softer, less crisp than others … the flavor is a little saltier … but it is the chewable texture that makes it stand out.

So what’s left on our list? Flowers and a Turkish haircut. We headed north on the rue St. Denis into the Turkish section of town. The journey took us through the “garment district” where racks of clothes were moving through the streets. We found the barber Hunter remembered from last summer and here is a before and after shot.

before and ...


A final hats off to the flower man who turned a simple handful of tulips into a stunning table bouquet.

And so with Isabelle Boulay singing in the background, we sat down to a lovely meal of salad, ravioli, cheese and bread with a perfectly fine 3 Euro bottle of Cotes du Rhone. The perfect ending to our first full day in Paris.

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