Quatrehomme: Arguably Paris’s Best Cheese Shop

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Parisians and tourists alike have their favorite cheese shops, and commit to them with a fierce loyalty. But a consensus for one of the city’s best — and possibly the best — is Quatrehomme, a mini-chain of fromageries founded in 1953 with its headquarters at the incomparable Quatrehomme: La Maison du Fromage on the Rue de Sevres in the 7th Arrondissement. Continue Reading →

Saint Honore Pastry: A Classic French Dessert

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An iconic French pastry—and one I always order multiple times when I visit Paris—is the Saint Honore, a decadent dessert made of puff pastry, pate a choux (cream-puff dough), creme chiboust (a thick pastry cream made with stiffened egg whites) and creme Chantilly (the French term for whipped cream). Named after the patron saint of French patissiers this stacked pastry comes in such flavors as caramel (also called the “classic” Saint Honore), pistachio, rose-raspberry, chocolate, vanilla-chocolate, chocolate-strawberry and pistachio-sour cherry. Continue Reading →

Fantastic Fromage at La Fermette

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Fromage! Like so many other visitors to France, I have fallen in love with French cheese. Brie de Meaux. Camembert. Epoisses. Reblochon. Bleu d’Auvergne. Chaource. You name it, and I’ve tried it—and loved it. Even what some call “stinky foot cheese.” While every fromagerie in the City of Light carries the most popular cheeses, there are two Parisian fromageries that I go to again and again when I want to sample my favorites or try something new: La Fermette on Rue Montorgueil and Fromagerie Quatrehomme on Rue de Sevres. Continue Reading →

Le Petit Prince de Paris: A Latin Quarter Gem

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One of the truly great Parisian restaurants is Le Petit Prince de Paris, a quintessentially French hideaway located in the midst of a warren of tiny cobblestone streets in the city’s Latin Quarter just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon. The only LGBT restaurant on the city’s Left Bank, Le Petit Prince de Paris is housed in a site that has served as a tavern and restaurant since the year 1450. That ancient building provides the restaurant with much of its yesteryear charm, including exposed ceiling beams, pale stone walls, plush draperies, antique furnishings and dozens of candles and chandeliers. Continue Reading →

Perfect Confit de Canard? Head to Chez Dumonet

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One of the many French staples served at restaurants, bistros and brasseries throughout Paris is confit de canard (duck confit)—a leg of duck that’s salt-cured and then cooked in its own fat. It seems that it’s practically a requirement that every cook in the city makes and sells this dish. But truth be told, most Parisian eateries serve a poorly cooked canard. More often than not, you’re served a piece of duck with rubbery skin and super-greasy meat or one that’s so overcooked that it’s dry as toast. Fortunately, there are a handful of restaurants in Paris that know how to prepare a perfect confit de canard with crisp, crackling skin and moist, succulent meat, and one of the very best is Chez Dumont in the 6th Arrondissement. Continue Reading →

Mora: Everything a Pastry Chef Could Desire

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Paris is a top destination for cooks of all stripes, from amateurs looking to improve the dishes they serve to family and friends right up to professional chefs seeking top-notch instruction and unparalleled kitchen experience. There’s a Parisian destination that’s a favorite among bakers and pastry chefs—Mora, a culinary supply store founded in 1814. This large shop in the Les Halles district is crammed top to bottom with more than 5,000 items (all of which also can be purchased online) to meet just about every culinary need. And many Parisians and tourists do, indeed, head to Mora for all of their cooking needs. But Mora is absolute heaven on earth for pastry chefs and bread makers, offering more specialty items for these cooks than any other shop in the City of Light—and quite possibly in the entire world. Continue Reading →

Tracing the History of the Croque Monsieur Sandwich

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As anyone who has visited Paris knows, a very popular lunchtime meal at cafes and smaller eateries in the City of Light—and indeed throughout all of France—is the croque monsieur, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich that is one of the true staples of simple French cuisine. But how did it become such a famous French dish and land on the menus of countless casual restaurants? No one knows for sure, but a commonly accepted story involves a brasserie on Paris’s Boulevard des Capucines, a shortage of baguettes for that day’s lunchtime crowd, and the presence of the neighborhood butcher in the eatery when a patron asked about the newly created sandwich. Continue Reading →

Rue Cler: A Perfect Parisian Shopping Street

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Americans love one-stop shopping—a large grocery emporium where one can stock up on all of the foodstuffs needed for several days. And while supermarkets are becoming more popular in Paris, the City of Light’s residents tend to prefer “one-street shopping”—essentially visiting a street or small section of their neighborhood where they can find a variety of different food shops, including boulangerie for bread, a patisserie for desserts, a fromagerie for eggs and cheese, a boucherie for meat and so on. One of the best is Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement. Continue Reading →

Try a Classic French Dish at La Poule au Pot

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History books often claim that the pledge to provide working-class families with a “chicken in every pot” was first uttered by U.S. president Herbert Hoover during the beginning of the Great Depression. But actually, the honors go to France’s King Henri IV, who in the 17th century pledged to create policy so that the nation’s peasants would have a “chicken in his pot every Sunday.” And from that pledge—completely unfulfilled, but the way—was born the classic dish poule au pot (chicken in the pot), a “peasant dish” that has evolved to become a staple of French cuisine. And one of the best places to get it in Paris is at the aptly named restaurant La Poule au Pot. Continue Reading →

Tracing the History of the Famous Tarte Tatin

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A quintessentially French dessert is the tarte Tatin, what many Americans believe to be an upside-down apple pie. But it’s actually a bit more than that. And its origin, although never definitively proven, is akin to how a classic American dish—chocolate chip cookies—came about: by accident. Continue Reading →