Friday, November 2, 2007

Food Shopping in Paris: Part One

One of the greatest pleasures in Paris for me is shopping for food. I always seem to discover something new. My second greatest pleasure is being able to have a kitchen to cook what I've gathered, as I did on my recent trip to Paris.

My friend Monique DuVeau and I were working on a shoot for the magazine and after a mediocre lunch out with our crew one day, I decided to cook lunch for the next few days. Monique knows every nook and cranny in Paris and I was armed with a list of a few places I’d heard of.

Our first stop was Joël Thiébault, who grows the most gorgeous and delicious vegetables I've ever seen in Paris. What makes him so unique is the variety of produce he offers, all of which he grows himself. Joël's great-grandparents were selling produce back in 1873. He grows hundreds and hundreds varieties of produce in Carrières-sur-Seine, not far from Paris. So many markets in Paris these days are full of gorgeous produce but most of it comes from every part of Europe except Paris. Chefs, discerning customers and loyal fans are lined up at Thiebault's by 8:00 in the morning.

I bought an array of vegetables but his lettuces in particular were just incredible, so fresh and crisp and full of flavor. I had forgotten how good lettuce could taste. I also bought potatoes, squashes, tomatoes, onions and some fresh vervine which I made an infusion with. Everything was amazing. There is no question that Joël is changing the produce landscape in Paris, and only for the better.

Joël sells Tuesday and Friday mornings market at Rue Gros in the 16th near Maison de le Radio. Wednesday and Saturday mornings he's at the President Wilson market in the 8th.


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