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

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

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

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

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 Saxe-Breteuil

  Cabbage and Celery root from the Loiret region in France

The Marché Saxe-Breteuil shrinks or expands in accordance with the day of your visit. During the week, the market- which is the only one to serve the 7th arrondissement- is sleepy and suited to the lighter traffic of leisurely shopping locals.

The weekend sees the market almost double in size, with neighborhood shoppers joined by visiting tourists and out-of-arrondissement Parisians who are drawn to the picturesque setting under the Tour Eiffel and the large variety of fresh produce. Luckily, no matter what day of the week you go, you will find a local farmer selling seasonal produce.

Locally grown Cauliflower at MArché Saxe-Breteuil

On Thursdays, when the avenue de Saxe is more sparsely populated, I suggest seeking out the Le Trepied stand where Salah LeMaire will give you samples of the farm's excellent heirloom vegetables and help you decide what to do with them once you get home.

During the week you may also find Jean-François Dondaine, a producer from the Ile-de-France region who is also regularly at the market during the weekend.

To get the full market experience, brave the crowds and take a Saturday stroll around Marché Saxe-Breteuil. In addition to the farmers mentioned above, you will have your choice of a few more farmers to visit- including a producteur from the Loiret region who was harkening in spring with fresh artichokes and cucumbers on a recent visit to the marché.

Artichokes bring springtime to Marché Saxe-Breteuil

Overcoming your agoraphobia can be rewarded with cookies and cakes with a visit to the "Once Upon a Cake" stand, where Marina Delafond sells her homemade cookies, lemon bars, carrot cake, and more. Look out for Marina at more markets near you as she plans to expand to Marché Monge shortly and will likely add other markets to her rotation.

Marché Saxe-Breteuil

Avenue de Saxe, 75007

M° Ségur (line 10)

Open Thursdays and Saturdays, 7-14h30

"Once Upon a Cake" is a must for shoppers with a sweet tooth



Profil d'un Producteur: Le Trepied & Salah Lemaire

Swiss chard from Le Trepied's farm Marché Saxe-Breteuil may be the only market in the 7th arrondissement but, with its photogenic setting aside the Eiffel Tower and its extensive choice of locally-grown ingredients, it has everything you could want out of a neighborhood marché.

Tourists and locals are drawn to this stretch on Avenue de Saxe twice a week to pick up fresh produce and browse the selection of cashmere sweaters and occasional antiques which remind you that you're in one of the most posh neighborhoods of Paris.

On Thursdays, two or three independent producers set up stands and sell seasonal fruits and vegetables. Saturday sees the producteur population double in response to the hordes of weekend shoppers.

Mr. Le Trepied's farm is located 95 miles south of Paris

My favorite stand at Marché Saxe-Breteuil belongs to Mr. Le Trepied a farmer from Jargeau in the Loiret department of France. Located about 95 miles south of Paris, the farm specializes in heirloom varieties. Their harvest never fails to surprise with a wide selection of légumes oubliés. This truly is a great place to stop if you're suffering from the end of season I'm-totally-over-eating-beets blues.

Shoppers gather at Le Trepied's stand not just for the exceptional produce, but also to visit Salah Lemaire the charismatic vendor who brings life to this vegetable booth. Carefully slicing a chervil root, Salah will distribute samples among a line of ladies who then confer, exchanging opinions, interjections, and eventual recipes.

Salah Lemaire is the charming vendor at Mr. Le Trepied's stand

While selling seems to come naturally to Salah, he didn't start at the market stand. His first year and a half with Mr. Le Trepied were spent working on the farm, where he was one of the few young people on the team. "It's hard work" Salah explained to me- citing this as one reason the younger crowd stays away from agricultural work.

Le Trepied eventually split his team into two- a farming team and a market team, and Salah took to his new post at the marché. Twice a week he makes the two-hour trip to Marché Saxe-Breteuil where he competes with wholesale vegetable vendors and other stands stocked with unseasonal anomalies.

Chervil root at the Le Trepied stand

Market goers aren't the only ones happy to have Le Trepied's farm-fresh produce on site, Salah explained to me that the city of Paris specifically invited the farm to be present at Marché Saxe-Breteuil in a commendable effort to bring farmers back to the markets.

"If you go 20 kilometers outside the city the markets are filled with farmers" Salah explained, "many farmers prefer to go to the local markets or have people come to their farms to buy vegetables"- an economic and logical alternative to renting space and splitting your team in two in order to manage both farm and the market duties.

With all the obstacles that challenge farmers- smaller farming teams and the time constraints they face, the cost of transport and distribution, and the impact of imported industrial foods that flood the markets- Parisians can count themselves lucky to have farmers like Le Trepied who will come to the city, especially when they bring someone like Salah to our markets!

Thanks so much to Salah for taking the time to talk with me!

Marché Saxe-Breteuil is on Thursday & Saturday 7h-14h30, Avenue de Saxe, 75007

Winter vegetables from the Le Trepied farm