Monique Duveau knows everything-- at least everything about food. She recently took me shopping for dinner in Paris and we stopped in at Three Pommes, a specialty vegetable shop to get a lettuce called salanova that is shaped like a rose. It comes from the gardens of Alain Passard, the chef of Arpege, and of course I loved seeing it as I’m always on the lookout for unique foods grown in small quantities. The lettuce was indeed rose-shaped and the green and red heads were neatly packed in a crate. It was sandy but tasty, similar to bibb but with a denser texture.
Everything else in the shop was also listed by name and origin, which thrilled me—tiny button mushrooms, amazing cherries, carrots covered in dirt and so on.
On a second visit I met the owner and told her how much I loved her shop and she asked if I had tried the strawberries. She told me that everyone considers the Gariguette strawberries to be the best, but she had found someone to the east of Paris who grows Manille strawberries. They were incredible, the essence of what you imagine a strawberry should taste like with a silky texture and a heavenly perfume.
I also tried her heirloom tomatoes. They were flavorful and the texture was good but nothing beats tomatoes grown all over the states when they are at their best in August.
It’s a dream to find a vegetable store like this in Paris, and I wish someone would open one in New York. Though I always prefer shopping at farmers markets, a store like Three Pommes helps small growers with their distribution and leaves them time to grow more and travel to market less. I’m in favor of this. May such a place come to my neighborhood soon?
25, rue Mouton-Duvernet