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 Jeanne d'Arc

Marché Jeanne d'Arc, 75013 Paris You never know what you're going to find when you go to a market. The most exciting times can be when you find something you didn't know you were looking for- a new-to-you vegetable, a farm-fresh recipe, or even a new neighborhood.

For me, the most exciting part of visiting a new market is finding exactly what I'm looking for: local farmers.

I could easily write many months worth of Marché du Mois based on Paris markets that have no independent producers whatsoever. Many of the city's open-air markets count zero farmers among their stands. The list includes markets such as Marché Bourse, Marché Jean Jaurès, and the majority of the city's covered markets (Marché Couvert St. Martin, Marché Couvert de Passy and Marché La Chapelle to name a few).

Spring Onions at Jean-François Dondaine's stand

In my quest, I've at times encountered markets that aren't even markets anymore such as Marché Couvert Treilhard in the 8th arrondissement which is occupied by the chain grocery store G20 and Marché Couvert St. Quentin in the 10th which is now essentially one big flower shop (incidentally, why have so many of the covered markets been left to industrial goods or general disrepair? I hope to see more places like My Kitch'n bringing new life to these poorly used venues).

In my ideal world, every market would be a farmers market with every stand stocked with locally grown and raised products indicative of the season and the region. But since that sadly is far from the reality in Paris, I'm happy to find a producer or two as I tour the markets. At markets like Marché Alésia and Marché Port-Royal you will only find one local producer, but at least that's a start.

Rhubarb and fresh garlic at Jean-François Dondaine's market stand

Marché Jeanne d'Arc is another one of these one farmer markets that I discovered recently. In the shadow of the towering church on place Jeanne d'Arc in the 13th arrondissement you will find an Ile-de-France feast of vegetables from local producer Jean-François Dondaine.

M. Dondaine also sets up shop on Saturdays at the Marché Saxe-Breteuil but at this smaller neighborhood market his vegetables stand out as exceptional as they are the only locally grown produce to be had.


Locals line up for locally grown produce at M. Dondaine's stand, Marché Jeanne d'Arc

A steady line forms in front of chez Dondaine where springtime shoppers peruse the season's first zucchini along with baskets of spring onions, carrotsrhubarb and fresh garlic- all grown less than 20 miles south of Paris.

Take advantage of the selection of fresh lettuce and herbs and don't hesitate to ask for suggestions on how to perfectly prepare a handful of snap peas- as always the friendly and resourceful vendors at these farm stands are just as inspiring to encounter as their freshly picked produce.

Marché Jeanne d'Arc

place Jeanne d'Arc, 75013

m° Nationale (line 6)

Open Thursdays and Sundays, 7-14h30


In Season: Haricots Coco

Whenever I visit a market for the first time, I always go with the hope of finding a local producer amongst the vegetable stands. Oftentimes I am disappointed, but the odd time that I do find local produce at one of Paris' open-air markets makes these visits worth it. This morning I was doubly rewarded when I visited the Marché Alésia because not only did I encounter a local producer, but it was one I had never met before! Daniel and Isabelle Behuret have a farm in Montlhéry which is located only 30 km from Paris.  This morning they were selling a variety of vegetables that are in season, but what caught my eye was the Haricots Coco:

What:  Haricots Coco (Cranberry or Berlotti Beans)

Where: Marché Alésia, 75013

When: October 24, 2012

Who: Local producers Isabelle and Daniel Behuret

How: Easy! Extract the beans from their speckled pods and cover them with water- you can add any spices or herbs that you see fit (the vendor suggested onions, thyme, and sage).

Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 45 minutes. Drain beans and dress them up with a little olive oil and salt.

Serve warm alongside an Autumnal meal of stuffed squash!