July 13, 2024

The great Paris booty hunt led me through a handful of my favorite shops around Les Halles in search of elusive, yet essential, ingredients as well interesting bits of kitchenalia unavailable back home. Starting at the mothership, E. Dehillerin, I picked up a covered terrine that will make a great butter dish that’s large enough to hold an oversized brick of European butter.  Somehow I restrained myself from indulging in a cast iron pâte mold and escargot plates; however, at the last minute I did succumb to a neat device for making julienne vegetables in addition to a good, solid chef’s knife. Around the corner at La Bovida I stocked up on ramekins for myself as well as for cool small gifts. Next it was on to G. Detou, across the street, where the mustard gods were smiling down upon me and I picked up the last giant pail of Fallot’s – the most authentic of the traditional Dijon mustards out there, I think. Then something unexpected happened.  While loitering down the block at Mora, I noticed the curved Art Nouveau windows of a shop I’d never seen before:  Comptoir de la Gastronomie.  It was fortuitous; inside I found bags of hard to find haricots Tarbais, vacuum packed duck confit, confiture l’onion, and logs of fresh Toulouse saucisson. I judiciously passed on the saucisson.  Something told me that I was already sneaking enough contraband into my luggage – I didn’t need fresh garlic sausage to set the dog tails wagging, too.  The rest of the goodies, however, were quickly shoved into a bag.  Together they’ll be making a reappearance this weekend in a cassoulet, as I test the theory that I’m an even better cook than I am smuggler.

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