Marché du Mois: Marché Point du Jour

Marché Point du Jour

Marché Point du Jour, located on the outskirts of the 16th arrondissement, sets up along avenue de Versailles three times a week. Offering the neighborhood a large selection of produce, dairy, meats, fish and specialty products this classic market typifies what I’ve come to expect in my explorations of the city’s marchés.

I always pick one end to start at, and wander from there- making sure I leave no stand left unturned. There are certain things I’ve come to expect from these market visits; vendors teasing and waving at me as I take photos, ladies of a certain age cutting in front of me in line, and having my feet run over by those wretched caddies (I know it’s futile, so I won’t even try, but if I had the energy I would wage war on these unwieldy arm extensions that trail behind shoppers, destroying everything in their wake).

herbs

The unexpected is always a welcome surprise and, as jaded as this may sound, finding a new farmer at a market always comes as a shock. Marché Point du Jour was well worth the long trek from my cozy corner of the 18th, which I realized when I spotted the Levasseur stand, which was proudly emblazoned with a pennant declaring their maraîchage.

producteur

Farmers from the Ile-de-France, the family makes the 30 minute trip into Paris from their farm in Yvelines three times a week. In addition to this market, they also set up a stand at the market in nearby Rueil-Malmaison.

This is a tricky time for farmers- that in-between-season spell when winter légumes are fading away and our springtime favorites are not yet in full force. Therefore, the transition harvest was sparse yet not lacking in an opportunity to pick up some locally-grown basics; apples, leeks, spinach, and swiss chard.

Spring seemed to arrive more swiftly for Maison Lenoble, whose stand was already stocked with the season’s first strawberries and cucumbers. I suspect greenhouses had something to do with this, but didn’t quiz them on the point as I was content enough  to see a second Ile-de-France farmer at the market and, honestly, just as equally amped about the prospects of eating strawberries for the first time in a year.

First Fraises

I had encountered Maison Lenoble months ago at Marché Convention and committed to memory the fact that they were also present at Marché Point du Jour. The hope that good things come in twos was what inspired me to make the trip to Maison Lenoble‘s second location and I’m glad that I did, because I can report that -among the caddies and photogenic veggies and vendors- local producers abound at this market and bring with them the promise of spring.

Marché Point du Jour

Avenue de Versailles 75016

m° Porte de Saint-Cloud (line 9)

Open: Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday 7:00am-2:30pm

Deck & Donohue: Something Brewing in Montreuil

Thomas Deck and Mike Donahue (photo courtesy of Deck and Donahue)

Thomas Deck and Mike Donohue (photo courtesy of Deck and Donahue)

The Ile-de-France craft beer wave is cresting and will crash the shores of the Seine this May, when the city hosts its first ever Paris Beer Week featuring tastings, events, and meetings with the region’s favorite artisanal brewers.

Some faces (and bottles) at the events may be familiar to you by now, with Paris-based Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or enjoying widespread appreciation throughout the capital and craft beer bars finding their place in Paris nightlife.

Trouble #6, Mission Pale Ale, Monk Brown Ale, and Indigo IPA

Trouble #6, Mission Pale Ale, Monk Brown Ale, and Indigo IPA

Thomas Deck and Mike Donohue are the newest additions to Paris’ craft beer scene, with their range of beers inspired by their Alsatian and American roots, respectively. From their well-balanced and super drinkable pale ale and blonde to their smooth and aromatic brown ale (which Thomas would quickly tell you has a “velvety mouthfeel”), Deck and Donohue are bringing craft beers to the market for both beer lovers and the beer-curious. Even the IPA, a tricky brew to introduce to the Stella-accustomed Parisian, is approachable and keeps bitterness at bay just enough to be a perfect gateway beer to the wondrous world of IPAs.

labels

Open since March, the Deck and Donohue headquarters are in Montreuil, just east of Paris, where they do everything from brewing to bottling to labeling and packing the beers. The pair have already found a place among Paris brewers, which Mike says are “ready to stick together and help each other out”. Banding together, small craft breweries such as Outland, My Beer Company, Deck and Donohue, and La Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or are carving out a space in the local beer scene, which threatens to be inundated by imports.

“It’s a bit ironic to see the Brooklyn is the widest available craft beer in Paris right now,” Thomas explained “but I think it’s also very encouraging and shows a lot remains to be done to show that beer can be a tasty and flavorful product, and not a generic thirst-quencher, or a one-time souvenir from the countryside.”

Deck and Donahue's Montreuil brewery

Deck and Donohue’s Montreuil brewery

Deck and Donohue’s ales and IPAs are making their way to market and can be found at what are likely already your favorite Paris bars and restaurants- including Holybelly and Les Trois 8- with many more to come.

 

 

 

In Season: Radicchio

radicchio and apricots

It was in Italy, at a neighborhood market in Rome, that I noticed the arrival of radicchio. More specifically it was the Radicchio di Treviso, a regional specialty adored by Italians in all parts of the country.

This Italian variety of radicchio is particular in form (with long finger-like leaves curling over each other) but not in flavor. It still maintains that familiar bitter taste that many members of the chicory family are known for.

 

Radicchio di Treviso spotted at a market in Rome

Radicchio di Treviso spotted at a market in Rome

Radicchio can currently be found at Paris markets, with the season starting in the fall and lasting throughout the winter months. A nod to the origin of the vegetable, you can often find the purple and white striped heads referred to as Trevise in French markets.

My Italophile friend Terresa loves radicchio and often shares great recipes for the vegetable on her blog. As for me, I opted for a simple recipe requiring roasting wedges of radicchio.

The dried apricots and whole grain couscous I had picked up that day would pair nicely with the bitterness of the radicchio leaves and make for a hearty midday meal (I included roasted walnuts in my first attempt of this recipe but have since taken them out because they had too many tannins, which didn’t pair well with the radicchio flavor).

Radicchio ready to roast

Radicchio ready to roast

Roasted Radicchio and Dried Apricot Couscous

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 small heads of radicchio, wedged

2 tbsps olive oil

Sea Salt

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

For the couscous:

2 cups dried couscous

Boiling water

1 cup dried apricots, chopped

Preparing dried apricot couscous

Preparing dried apricot couscous

Steps:

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Place radicchio wedges in a casserole dish. Brush with olive oil, coating each wedge uniformly. Sprinkle with sea salt and place on middle rack of the oven. Let cook 10-15 minutes, or until slightly browned, you will lose the vibrant purple color in this process- the leaves will turn to a slightly brow color, but that means they’re roasted.

While waiting for radicchio to roast, place two cups of dried couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leaving an additional 1/2 inch layer of water for the couscous to soak up. Cover the bowl and set aside. In the meantime, chop your dried apricots into small cubes. When the couscous has absorbed all the water, fluff it and add a dash of olive oil if it looks a bit dry. Mix in dried apricots.

Remove roasted radicchio from the oven and finish with a dash of balsamic vinegar, this will cut some of the bitterness. Serve on a bed of dried apricot couscous.

roasted radicchio with couscous

Marché du Mois: Marché Joinville

Locally grown apples at Marché Joinville, 75019

Locally grown apples at Marché Joinville, 75019

If you follow rue Riquet, home to a selection of go-to spots in in Paris’ latest up-and-coming neighborhood, you’ll end up in the 19th arrondissement at the Bassin de la Villette. It’s on this embankment that you will find, every Thursday and Sunday morning, Marché Joinville.

I visited the market on a recent rainy day, one of the most solidly down-pouring days that we’ve had this season. I Dodged umbrellas and the elderly, who often walk into you or cut in line while shopping- especially when dry spots under the market awnings are at a premium.

A rainy day at Marché Joinville

A rainy day at Marché Joinville

As usual, my quest was to find a local farmer. After a few rounds up and down the market I feared I had made the rain soaked bike ride to the market for nothing. Fruits and vegetables from Morocco and Spain filled the market stands and cardboard boxes and out-of-season produce were aplenty.

Signs of the disappearance of farmers from Paris markets were at every turn, until I stumbled upon a stand that gave me hope even when spotted from yards away. I approached the earth-covered piles of apples, celery root, carrots, potatoes, and beets, quickly confirming that I had found an Ile-de-France farmer!

Ile-de-France grown produce

Ile-de-France grown produce

The Cattiaux family has a farm in Le Plessis-Bouchard in the Val d’Oise department located just north of Paris. The farm is less than 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) from the city, and a wide range of seasonal vegetables are grown on site and brought directly to the market.

I stocked up on apples, beets, radicchio, and broccoli all for under 6 euro. See- fresh food can be affordable, too!

place de joinville

Marché Joinville 

Place de Joinville, 75019

m° Crimée (line 7)

Open Thursday and Sunday 7-14h30

Profile d’un Producteur: Alice from Confitures Re-Belles

A homemade batch of  Confitures Re-Belles' jams

A homemade batch of Confitures Re-Belles’ jams

On a recent grey morning in Paris I waited to meet Alice Blaise at the cosy 18th arrondissement restaurant Soul Kitchen. Alice is one of the founders of Disco Soup, an association that aims to educate people about the prevalence of food waste through hands-on community outreach and organizing.

A typical Disco Soup event consists of claiming a public space, filling a table with recuperated vegetables that, for reasons either aesthetic or pertaining to overzealous eat-by dates, were otherwise destined for the trash bin, and asking passersby to participate in collective vegetable peeling and prep work. The end result is a massive batch of soup that is then shared with all present.

Since its creation in 2012, the association has seen over 50 cities host their own Disco Soup events and has been contacted by people all over the world who are interested in bringing the concept to their country.

But the reason I asked Alice to meet me wasn’t to talk about Disco Soup, but rather her most recent venture, Confitures Re-Belles. Not one to take a disco nap, Alice launched her new project after hearing about the British chutney makers Rubies in the Rubble. The concept is simple but brilliant, would-be wasted fruits and vegetables are collected and re-sourced to make interesting and ever changing flavors of jams and conserves, taking the “your trash is my treasure” approach to the extreme.

Pot

Along with her roommate Colette, Alice has tackled the logistics of sourcing and preparing massive quantities of jams in a tiny Parisian apartment, all without having ever made home preserves in her life.

The challenges of living in a 6th floor walk up apartment with minimal kitchen space have slowed production, but the project is still picking up steam. The team is putting together a business plan and looking for sources to fund the materials and working space needed to prepare their creative concoctions with flavors including Grape and Star Anise, Tomato Vanilla, Strawberry Mint, and Mandarine Raspberry.

Alice and Colette at a Disco Soup event

Alice and Colette at a Disco Soup event

The ever-changing produce that is sourced from area supermarkets, markets, and food banks provides for constant inspiration for new flavors and products. The pair are also constantly on the lookout for new recipes and savoir faire when it comes to the age old art of home canning. Alice’s white whale is a banana confiture- which she has heard of but never seen in real life.

But besides bunches of bananas, what the girls really need is a space to call their kitchen. Co-cooking spaces such as Les Camionneuses sponsored shared kitchen are great resources to nomadic chefs, but pricing can be restrictive considering the fact that Alice and Colette have spent entire weekends transforming recuperated produce into pots de confiture. Crowd funding and other fundraising methods are being considered, as well as the possibility of seeking financial assistance from city-based programs.

Pots Confitures Re-Belles

You can show your support for Confitures Re-Belles by liking their facebook page and watching this space for updates on a possible Kiss Kiss Bank Bank campaign.

Until then, you can peel vegetables with Alice and co. at the next Disco Soup Paris event, Thursday February 6 at Dauphine Durable’s “Green Week” event.

Marché du Mois: Marché Vincennes

cabbage

This month’s marché takes us a step or two outside of Paris to the neighboring town of Vincennes. This quiet suburb, which visitors might be drawn to for its wooded Bois de Vincennes or enchanting Parc Floral (which hosts an excellent jazz festival every summer), is easily arrived at using the Parisian metro or bus system, making it practically a part of the capitol.

Every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday morning in Vincennes the main drag of rue de Fontenay fills with market stalls that sprawl and flood its sidewalks and squares.

seb veggies 2

Marché Vincennes brings a wide variety of not only vegetables, meat, fish, and cheeses, but also specialty items including an Italian deli counter, cakes and other baked goods, and a selection of organic produce stands.

The city embraces “bio”, or organic, products so much that it has even created its own label that organic producers proudly display at their market stands (the city also provides a list of organic vendors at the market that you can download here).

The city of Vincennes has created its own label for organic vendors at the market (pictured here)

The city of Vincennes has created its own label for organic vendors at the market (pictured here)

Be sure to visit the crowded stand that is Chez Sébastien, which is manned by one of the market’s most vibrant vendors, Sébastian. The day of my visit, I was fortunate enough to stop by his stand accompanied by the charming Jessie Kanelos Weiner of thefrancofly.com fame.

Jessie happens to be one of Sébastien’s favorites, so upon arrival we received the royal treatment- welcomed with gifts of horseradish root and cabbage and encouraged to take our time shopping.

seb veggies

As family farmer Sébastien chatted up the morning’s line, joking and sharing the intimate details of his life, we browsed the fruits and veggies- all seasonal and absolutely beautiful.

Sébastien’s farm is in the Mayenne region west of Paris, a corner of France that I know rather intimately, having spent 8 months there as an English assistant ten years ago. Knowing what I know about the taciturn nature of the inhabitants of this region, it is no surprise that Sébastien is eager to chat when he gets to Marché Vincennes. So stop by, say hi, and if you figure out what to do with a kilo of horseradish root, let me know!

chez sebastien

 Marché Vincennes

rue de Fontenay, Vincennes

m° Bérault (line 1)

Open Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday 8h-13h

In Season: Oysters

lemon butter

Oysters are most celebrated during the festive season in France, when Christmas and New Years Eve dinner spreads are accented by all sorts of shellfish, with oysters playing a starring role.

As the holiday season goes dormant, it seems a shame that the eating of oysters should do the same. With a season that lasts from September/October all the way to April, these briny bivalves can be enjoyed throughout the colder months.

en vrac

In France oysters are eaten as naturally as they come, served with bread and butter and a slice of fresh lemon and accompanied with a glass of chilled white wine.

A Chablis from Burgundy or Muscadet from the Loire are the most common companions to oysters- but bubbles or, as any brazen American in Paris can attest, a pint of beer are also excellent additions to an oyster feast.

This year, Paris by Mouth published an excellent primer on oysters in Paris which includes a ton of information on not only where to find oysters in the capitol, but also how to choose and enjoy them, including a guide to understanding oyster vocab and classification.

sunshine early season

I was brave enough to shuck a few of my own oysters for our Christmas Eve dinner. Convinced the cost of admission into the world of oyster shucking was a mandatory trip to the ER or the loss of a digit, I approached the act with uncertainty.

Luckily, no blood was shed and I found my hand-shucked oysters tasted better than any I had eaten before. Having said that- oyster shells are some of nature’s most well-designed lock boxes, designed to protect their precious cargo and determined to stay firmly shut.

Finding the sweet spot and prying open an oyster can be a trying task, and dangerous as well. Check out this amazing chain link glove worn by the most prudent shuckers.

shucked

If you’re going to attempt oyster opening yourself, be sure to have a dishtowel and proper shucker, as well as an initiated individual who can oversee your early attempts.

Oysters are an acquired taste, and if a slice of lemon isn’t enough to distract you from their slippery consistency, you may want to add an additional condiment to your arsenal.

This classic mignonette sauce recipe presents the sauce at its most basic. You can find all kinds of variations, but this simple mixture of vinegar and shallots will take the edge off early oyster adventures!

with sauce

Sauce Mignonette

For 12 oysters:

2 medium shallots

1/4 cup vinegar (white, red wine, or rice)

Pinch of unrefined cane sugar

Pinch of salt

Coarsely chop shallots. Whisk together vinegar, salt, and sugar, in a small bowl. Mix in shallots. Adjust salt and sugar to taste. Serve with a spoon and ladle a small amount onto each oyster before eating.

5 Spots to Score or Sip a Bottle of Natural Bubbles this NYE

goin out In France, the year’s end is commemorated with celebrations that encourage submerging both the good and bad of the 365 days gone in an onslaught of bubbles and oysters. It’s a great way to see the end of the past year, but often renders the beginning of the following year a bit rough. To avoid starting your new year with regrets and a headache avoid the primary causes of both which can often be attributed to sulfite-laden, sweetened champagnes.

Waking up sans morning after aches doesn’t mean excluding yourself from the festivities, it just takes a little planning and enjoying a healthy dose of natural bubbly throughout the evening. These untreated wines, which have the benefit of being both less expensive and more forgiving the next day than your standard champagne, will guarantee a great night and an even better beginning of 2014.
Fancy champagnes may make you feel like a baller they evening of, but leave you feeling less glamourous the morning after

Fancy champagnes may make you feel like Jay Z the evening of, but leave you feeling much less glamourous the morning after

Many natural sparkling wines, or petillants naturels (“pet’ nats” if you’re in to the whole brevity thing) as they are referred to in France, contain no added sulfites or other chemicals, making them all around easier on the head.
Along with avoiding any added sulfites, natural wine makers also eschew adding sugar, and will not chapatalize their wines (add sugar to increase alcohol content) or practice what is refereed to as “dosing” a sparkling wine (adding a dose of sugar or sweet wine to the bubbly at the time of bottling). Adding sugar to a wine may increase the alcohol or amount of bubbles in your bottle, but it also increases your chances of a nasty hangover the next day.
A glass of bubbly at Ma Cave Fleury

A glass of bubbly at Ma Cave Fleury

There are plenty of options for spots to pick up a bottle of pet’ nat for your New Year’s Eve fête ce soir. Here are five of my favorites:
Ma Cave Fleury
Ma Cave Fleury is a small cave à vins in the 2nd arrondissement. The space has seating available and you can enjoy a bottle of natural champagne on site, or you can grab a few bottles to go. Here you will find a selection of natural champagnes (including a few non-dosed options) from the Champagnes Fleury domaine, which espouses a biodynamic approach to agriculture and winemaking.
La Cave des Papilles
La Cave des Papilles is an institution in the natural wine shop scene in Paris. The staff have developped close relationships with all the winemakers they work with and are happy to help you chose a bottle. A selection of natural bubbles from the Loire and southern France await you at this cave in the 14th arrondissement.
Triple Zero Petillant at Le Siffleur de Ballons

Triple Zero Petillant at Le Siffleur de Ballons

Le Siffleur de Ballons
Le Siffleur de Ballons is one of my favorite spots to have a glass of natural wine with an assiette de fromage because their constantly changing (and super affordable) wines by the glass menu is an excellent way to discover new wines and revisit old favorites. There is always at least one pet’ nat available by the glass, but you can also choose a bottle from their boutique. I recommend Jacky Blot’s Triple Zero, which has been a good companion for several happy occasions.
En Vrac
En Vrac is a fairly recent addition to the natural wine bar scene in Paris. Located in the up and coming Riquet neighborhood in the 19th arrondissement, En Vrac sells both bottles and bulk wine. As it’s name (French for “in bulk”) implies, the cave offers the option of bringing your own bottle to fill with your choice of reds and wines by the barrel. If you’re looking for bubbles, ask the friendly staff to orient you towards a bottle among their small but well curated selection of natural wines.
Bottles of Natural wine at Ma Cave Fleury

Bottles of Natural wine at Ma Cave Fleury

Le Vin en Tête
Le Vin en Tête has two wine shops and one wine bar in Paris, all of which are staffed with incredibly helpful wine geeks and stocked with a beautiful assortment of natural wines. The shops regularly host tastings, often with winemakers from the Champagne region, and can help you pick out a great bottle of bubbly for your evening, and why not pick up a white to pair with your oysters while you’re there?
I wish you a happy and sparkly réveillon readers and all the best in the new year!
Bonne Année from Paris Paysanne!!

Marché du Mois: Marché Bio Brancusi

Tasting encouraged at a stand at Marché Bio Brancusi

Tasting encouraged at a stand at Marché Bio Brancusi

When I finally made it to Marché Bio Brancusi last week it felt like a pretty momentous occasion, not only because I was awake and in a distant arrondissement on a Saturday morning, but also because the visit marked a Marché Bio hat trick.

A little bit of background: Paris is hosts to three all-organic markets, the well known and much visited Marché Bio des Batignolles and Marché Bio Raspail and the often overlooked Marché Bio Brancusi.

fruits

In 2010, when I first started this blog, Batignolles and Raspail were among the first markets I visited. I spoke to many vendors at these markets about the third organic market, Marché Brancusi, and found that the vendors were split into people who either once had stands at this market and had since decided to stop going or those that didn’t feel like it was a big enough market to be worth their time.

The disinterest of my trusted organic vendors mixed with my increasing interest in finding local producers over organic stands at the markets oriented my explorations away from completing the bio market trifecta and towards exploring more standard neighborhood markets.

Fruits and Vegetables sourced from French farmers at Marché Bio Brancusi

Fruits and Vegetables sourced from French farmers at Marché Bio Brancusi

But one recent Saturday morning I decided to make my way to the 14th arrondissement and get a feel for this little market. Settled into the unassuming Place Constantin Brancusi the eponymous market is indeed small, but that is part of its charm. As opposed to the crowds and tight spaces of the Batignolles and Raspail markets, which are also both held on the weekend, Marché Brancusi is uncrowded and laid back, making for an easy and stress-free shopping experience.

While there are no independent farmers at the market, one fruit and vegetable stand boasts produce sourced from French producers and other similar stands seem to privilege local and biodynamic products. These French-grown légumes are mixed in with imported, out-of-season selections as well as dried fruits and other foreign finds.

French-origin produce is favored at Marché Bio Brancusi

French-origin produce is favored at Marché Bio Brancusi

Other alimentary needs are covered with a selection of stands including a fishmonger, butcher, and baker. Whereas Marché Bio des Batignolles and Marché Bio Raspail have at least two of each of these speciality stands, Marché Brancusi just covers its bases, which seems just fine for the regular shoppers who return to the market each week.

If you have the chance to visit Marché Brancusi I recommend doing so. The market is a great compromise between the large-scale, crowded organic markets and the sprawling weekday markets where you are lucky to find one farmer amongst the imported fruits and vegetables- with the addition of some local farmers, this would be a great model for markets across Paris and beyond.

seasonal veg

Marché Bio Brancusi

place Constantin Brancusi 75014

M°Gaîté (line 13)

Open Saturday 9h-15h

In Season: Cabbage

choux

Winter is a time when everything seems to slow down, the impulse to hibernate kicks in and we move at a slower pace, the meals are heartier and we linger at the table a little bit longer enjoying a few extra minutes of warmth and restoration.

I love that my friend Anna refers to this as “fat season” a time when we eat everything and get ready to hibernate until the arrival of spring. Instead of fighting against the inertia that inevitably sets in with these colder days, I’ve decided to embrace it. I accept and celebrate the slow moving and everything that is worth the wait in these short days.

Fermented foods, both simple and slow, are perfect cold-weather projects. My favorite kind of DIY, at-home fermentation rarely involves more than three ingredients and letting nature do its thing.

cabbage half

There’s nothing more simple than a basic sauerkraut or choucroute using the ubiquitous winter vegetable, cabbage.

You can embellish this recipe by adding red or chinese cabbage, brussels sproutsapples, onions, fennel, or other favorite hearty winter veggies, but I think that regular cabbage on its own works just fine. Eat raw or cooked it in its own juices. Serve with  seasonal meats or just eat it on its own. Whatever you do, be sure to set aside some of the fermented choucroute juice, which a Polish friend told me is the go-to hangover cure in her home country.

This recipe is adapted from Sandor Katz‘s excellent book, Wild Fermentation.

choucroute

Homemade Choucroute

You will need:

1 large crock or glass container

Bucket or large jar that fits inside the container

Dishcloth

Ingredients:

1-2 heads of cabbage

2 tablespoons of sea salt for every 1 head of cabbage

2 tablespoons of dried juniper berries

Instructions:

1. Thoroughly wash your crock or glass container and set aside.

2. Remove any dirty outer leaves of your cabbage, wash and chop into uniform-sized shreds (can be course or fine, however you like).

3. Start layering. Add a few handfuls of cabbage, then sprinkle with salt and juniper berries. Continue until all the ingredients have been added.

4. Place a weight on top of your cabbage mixture. You will need something heavy (like a mason jay filled with coins or rocks) to apply pressure on the mixture, causing the cabbage to release its juices.

5. Throughout the next 1-4 weeks, check on your choucroute and press down on the weight, so that it eventually becomes totally submerged in the juices that it ferments in. After a week, your choucroute is ready, but you can leave it to ferment longer if you prefer a more pronounced taste.