All posts by Meg Zimbeck

Meg Zimbeck has written more than 600 reviews of Paris restaurants, bars, hotels and shops. She's served as the Paris editor for both Budget Travel and BlackBook, and has contributed articles for SAVEUR, the Wall Street Journal, Gridskipper, the BBC’s Olive magazine, and the seat-pocket magazines of United, Virgin Trains, and Gulf Air. Meg's food photography has been featured in T Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, and Libération. She is currently writing the "Dining" and "After Dark" chapters for the 2012 Frommer's Guide to Paris. Meg is the Editor of Paris by Mouth.

RIP: Spring Boutique closes its doors

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Photos from the opening party for Spring Boutique, January 2010

Spring Boutique, the little shop run by Spring Restaurant, has effectively closed. The space at 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec opened in January 2010 and took various forms throughout its three years of existence: a wine shop featuring regular tastings, a wine club with bottle delivery service, a high-end epicerie, a lunch spot serving a bouillon that many of our readers still crave, and a place for the community gatherings, including the launch party for Paris by Mouth in 2010.

Chef/owner Daniel Rose sent an email today with the following explanation:

“In 2013 we hope to concentrate all our efforts on the restaurant. After some renovations, expect something new at the boutique space. We have always used it as a place to play and this trend will continue. As usual, we have more ideas than time to implement them! It is a Spring tradition. New arrival Johnathan Bauer-Ronneret (Best Young sommelier of France 2009) and his team, are happy to welcome you and advise you on the same selection of great wines at the restaurant.

Nearly all of our wines are available for take away at 50% off the restaurant list price, but it is as a service to customers. If they like something that they may want to bring home with them we can accommodate a bottle or two depending availability.”

Staffing challenges may be partially to blame for the closure of Spring Boutique. Two long-time employees departed in the second half of 2012 (one to open his own wine export business, the other to make wine in the Loire Valley), then their replacement left abruptly  in December. As a result, the Boutique was obliged to close just before the (potential) holiday rush. It never reopened.

Given my affection for their wine selections, I think it’s great that Spring will continue to let customers purchase the bottles they’ve enjoyed at the restaurant. I wish them luck in whatever they decide to do with that space and hope to return there to play again soon.

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Photos from the Paris by Mouth launch party at Spring Boutique in June 2010


Agapé Substance now a little light in the kitchen

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David Toutain, the chef star of Agapé Substance‘s open kitchen show, has left the restaurant. Contrary to an earlier report about the restaurant still “doing great,” we’ve heard that nearly the entire kitchen staff has left in the wake of Toutain’s departure.

The restaurant website is still promising Toutain and the prices haven’t dropped. They may very well rebound with a different chef, but in its current configuration, Agapé Substance is no longer among our picks for a place to drop serious money for food.

We wish them luck and look forward to the news.

UPDATE: Agapé Substance closed for good during the summer of 2014.

Pierre Jancou spanks magazine for “fradulent” free meal request

Pierre Jancou is many things: a lover of food, an ambassador of natural wine, and (as we learned this week) a former male model. He is also (as we learned from last year’s exchange with F-R Gaudry) a man with a temper.

On October 19, Jancou received an email from the secretary to Jean-Paul Ludot, the Directeur Général of Marie-Claire, announcing that Vivant had been selected to feature as his favorite restaurant of the month. This was paired with a request for the boss man (and a guest) to eat for free.

Jancou replied that he had never in 24 years invited a journalist to eat for free and that he found such a request to be “louche et frauduleuse.” Ludot himself responded that this was a “very classic approach to test restaurant menus and write articles.” He then cited the number of Marie-Claire readers and told Jancou that he would remove Vivant from their selection. “You are the only one to react this way… and as aggressively,” he continued in a follow-up reply. He went on to say that Jancou was “stingy.”

How do I know all this? Because Jancou forwarded the email chain to me (and many others) on October 21. I giggled and emailed him my reply, but another recipient, Bruno Verjus, published the entire correspondence on his blog Food Intelligence. That gave rise to stories in Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Figaro, L’Express and other major media outlets.

In response, Marie-Claire has issued an official apology for Ludot’s “personal error.” Ludot himself has apologized for his “clumsiness” and assured us that his “attitude has been shifted.”

The greater shifts, however, are in the balance of power between old and new media, and between restaurants and journalists. Ludot’s boast to Jancou that “others have understood that it was an opportunity to put forward their establishment in a major magazine… with 500,000 readers” reveals an (unsurprising) unawareness of the fact that Jancou doesn’t need him.

Restaurants, if they are any good, have already been written and written about. Journalists have little to offer in the way of “exposure” to restaurants that are already full every night. The days of free meals, for the writer (and their bosses) are surely coming to an end. Maybe even for Pudlo.


James Henry to show his Bones

The rumors are true: James Henry, who made a name for himself at Au Passage, will be opening a new restaurant in early December.

Bones – the name was decided upon last night – will combine wine bar and restaurant in a single space at 43 rue Godefroy Caviagnac, enriching what is already a gastronomically blessed corner of the 11th (see also RinoSeptimeCheZ alineRetro’bottegaLa Pulperia and Bistrot Paul Bert).

The wine bar up front will be a no-reservations space featuring elevated snacks and small plates: oysters shucked before your eyes, fish carpaccio sliced to order, and mounds of charcuterie. Beyond a few window seats, Henry envisions this as a casual and standing-room only space.

The restaurant, on an elevated platform in the back, has room for around 25 seats. The precise menu format and pricing are still evolving, but a few things are clear: it will be affordable (35-45 euros), and it will be offal. Not exclusively offal, mind you, but Henry’s long fascination with the odd bits will be given free reign to flourish here at Bones. He wants the freedom to challenge himself and his diners with more adventurous fare – poached brain, horse heart, etc. – but will likely have options for timid eaters, too.

Another aspect which may set Bones apart from the pack is their desire to produce in-house as many ingredients as possible. Like he did at a previous restaurant in Tasmania, Henry plans to churn his own butter, produce his own vinegar, and bake bread from his own sourdough starter. He looks at the cellar and sees a space for curing meats. A cold-smoker is going into the courtyard.

The wine, unsurprisingly, will be on the “extreme” side of the natural wine spectrum. Henry cites Pierre Jancou and his list at Vivant Cave as inspiration, and hopes to bring in wines from beyond the hexagon.  The white marble covering the walls at Jancou’s bar will also be seen on the bar at Bones, along with polished concrete on the floors and vintage (cracked) white tiles on the walls.

Stay tuned for updates, and we’ll let you know closer to time when they announce an opening date.


Fashionistas get Fat (Radish) in Paris

With Paris chefs now competing to out-Brooklyn eachother, it was only a matter of time before New York returned the favor. Toward that end, chefs from The Fat Radish, a “hipstervore haunt” on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, will be cooking a series of pop-up dinners from September 26 to October 2.

Organized by The Sporting Project, a pair of recent arrivals who used to work in fashion, the pop-up series will take place at Bob’s Kitchen and feature a five-course vegetarian friendly menu with wine pairing and aperitif for 85€.

The series was scheduled to coincide with Fashion Week and the majority of tickets have already been snagged by people working in that industry. A few spots remain on Wednesday and Thursday.

What to expect?

According to The Sporting Project, “The Fat Radish cuisine does not fall into a particular category rather returns to a way of eating before food was constantly classified. The menu is bound by one philosophy: simple, healthy, delicious dishes created with well-sourced, seasonal ingredients.” That could be anything.

My hope is that these dinners will transport us to another place and show us something new. My fear is that they will be very much like eating at Bob’s Kitchen (plus style hounds and wine) for a price that’s greater than the menu at La Dame de Pic.

I applaud The Sporting Project for having the courage to launch a food series (another pop-up is planned for Men’s Fashion Week in January) in city that’s so serious about its food. Let’s just hope they came ready to play.

Game on!


Kale make its Paris debut

If Kristen Beddard has her way, kale will soon be widely available in Parisian markets and restaurants. The American transplant is working hard to deliver seeds sourced from England to French farmers who are willing to grow them. She’s like a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, but with better hair. She’s also recruiting chefs to transform a vegetable that their French clients have experienced only as a decorative plant.

This Thursday, September 20th marks kale’s “official” coming out party at Verjus. Chef Braden Perkins will be using the leafy green (sourced from Terroirs d’Avenir) in a dish for the wine bar. Kristen will be bringing her own composition using kale grown by Joël Thibault.

What’s next for the self-described leader of the Paris “kale army”? After this one-off at Verjus, Kristen wants to inspire more local chefs to try working with kale. She says that Septime, Frenchie and Au Passage have already expressed interest if they could only get their hands on the chewy, curly green. Considering that Terroirs d’Avenir (a produce distributor they all use) has just added kale to their daily ingredient text blasts, the vegetable that Clotilde Dusoulier named “the most elusive ingredient of 2011” may soon be turning up in some of the trendiest restaurants in Paris.

This would make Kristen very happy, indeed. “I didn’t want to just make kale available to me, my husband, and the expat community. I want to fill the white space and introduce French people to this vegetable that’s so popular in America and in the countries surrounding France,” she says. Toward that end, she still has some organic seeds to share with any curious and willing local farmers.

Related links:


Eric Kayser opens bakery in New York

The rumors are true: Eric Kayser has opened up a bakery in New York City. Joining Ladurée on the city’s Upper East Side, the newest Kayser outpost boasts 370 square meters of space and 104 places to sit. This first location will soon be joined by two others in Midtown and the Flatiron district.

Beyond baguettes and croissants to go, Kayser in New York is attempting restauration rapide. The response, summarized by Eater, is predictable: Yelpers complaining about forgotten appetizers and inattentive hostesses. In Paris, I’m thrilled to find a bakery that offers any place to sit and am unbothered by asking several times for forgotten items. New Yorkers may prove to be a more demanding audience.

But what of the baguette? Kayser’s Paris version – the crispy crackly baguette Monge – was ranked #1 in our list of five great baguettes. Will the New York version differ? Serious Eats reports that Kayser sent a team of NYC bakers and chefs to Paris for 6-12 months to master the methods and recipes. However, instead of making the dough and baking on site at each location, as is legally required in France, Kayser NYC will produce all bread dough at the Upper East Side location and then deliver it daily to be baked fresh at the other locations.

Another key (and very American) difference: Kayser’s NYC locations will be open 7 days per week and until 11pm. I think we can also assume that they won’t close for the month of August.

Have you tried it? We’re terribly curious about Kayser’s NYC baguette (and other products) and would love to hear from any readers who have visited the new location. What’s your reaction?

Additional Links:

  • Eric Kayser à la conquête de l’Amérique [Boulangerie-Pâ]
  • The Early Word on Maison Kayser’s First US Location [Eater]
  • A Taste of Maison Kayser, Eric Kayser’s New Bakery on the Upper East Side [Serious Eats]
Our Map of Paris, New York:

View Paris, New York in a larger map

Readers revolt against Les Fines Gueules

In a city with hundreds of new restaurants to explore every year, we food writers rarely get a chance to revisit our old favorites. Take, for example, Les Fines Gueules. I visited four times between 2007-2010. I loved the veal carpaccio, the hand-cut tartare, and the burrata with toasted almonds. I praised it here and in several guides, then I floated away. The same is true for many others who wrote early and positive reviews.

In the meantime, our readers have continued going, and they are increasingly and vocally disgruntled. A flurry of comments within the last month highlight worsening service and segregation of English speakers. We’re posting them here as a caution, and also as an invitation to add your own comments about Les Fines Gueules or any other place in Our Guide to Paris Restaurants. Your words of praise and criticism are incredibly important in helping us to understand how these restaurants are performing year-round, not just during the press-heavy months after opening.

Recent Criticism of Les Fines Gueules
(comments in July & August 2012)

  • “I’ve been here three times: the first two times were great (back in 2011) but this past time was just awful. Having been seated in the “American ghetto” in the back of the restaurant (which is stuffy and hot), I was pretty adamant this time that we wanted to sit by the windows in the front. I speak good French and politely inquired, only to be made to wait for 10 minutes and then be led into the stuffy back room anyways; I protested and then we were finally seated in the front of the resto, which was full of French speakers… Bad service, bad food; will not be returning.”
  • “I have to say, I was extremely unimpressed with my meal tonight… The room was hot and stuffy and we felt very ignored and treated as detested August tourists. All the french speakers were downstairs in the lovely windows and street and all the Japanese and Americans were up by the toilet with the incompetent waitress who couldn’t even tell us if they had dessert wines. I don’t know if it was because we were Americans, if it was because its August and they just don’t care but I won’t go back. Last year I was treated well, this year was horrible.”
  • “It was suggested to me that things have slipped here because the owners opened a higher-end place and perhaps weren’t paying attention here anymore… I’ve been back a few times since I initially wrote my post about the place and found them less-attentive than in the past as well, and the food fine, but not necessarily as exceptional as it once was… It’s too bad that people are experiencing less-than-favorable welcome at the restaurant, since it was good in the past.”
  • “I went on Saturday evening, mostly because every other option in the city was shut and I can’t say I was overly impressed with the food or the service. While I wasn’t relegated to the ‘American Ghetto’ of the resto and I spoke to the staff in French, they treated my friends and I with barely concealed disdain. The service was slow and the food passable. I will not be recommending this to anyone.”


Frenchie Wine Bar to double in size

The rue du Nil, when Greg Marchand set up Frenchie restaurant, was nowheresville. Three years later, it’s a scene. Lines form before 7pm outside Frenchie Bar à Vins, which Marchand opened across the street in June 2011. Some have arrived with the deluded hope that there might be a cancellation at the restaurant. Most are there for the wine bar itself, which serves small plates and charcuterie. They scribble their names on a clipboard waiting list, spill wine on the cobblestones, and bring life to what was previously a dark little street.

In a few days, Marchand will complete work on an expansion of Frenchie Bar à Vins. The wine bar will reopen in the rentrée (after closing from July 28-August 22) with twenty-two additional seats, two new chefs from Denmark and Sweden, and a much larger kitchen. The former prep area, where 100 plates per night were created in a space that was smaller than la toilette, will be re-purposed for cold wine storage and cured meats.

Beneath the surface, Marchand has doubled the size of the cave to permit better storage and increased wine sales. He’s added another prep area, anticipating a future in which Frenchie Wine Bar might make produce in-house everything that’s on the menu. That will certainly include the house-made pasta he plans to add to the wine bar menu.

With this expansion, it’s clear that Marchand plans to stay in the Sentier and not relocate to a more central and larger location. He considered the latter, but says he loves the community that’s growing up around the rue du Nil. In the not-so-distant-future, that community will include a retail space for Terroirs d’Avenir (7, rue du Nil), the distributors of pristine produce that supply Frenchie, Saturne, Au Passage, Verjus, and many other ingredient-driven restaurants.



Pierre Jancou to open a new wine bar

The restaurant Vivant, like many others in Paris, will close for several weeks summer. There will be little rest, however, for Pierre Jancou, who plans to open an adjoining wine bar/cave à manger and to revamp the offerings at Vivant.

The current restaurant space will reopen as Vivant Table on August 28 with a new chef and more serious culinary aspirations. Chef Sota, formerly a second at Toyo, will expand beyond the simple product-driven dishes of the past, and prices will rise accordingly (as happened when Jancou installed Sven Chartier at Racines). After the rentrée, you can expect to pay 14-25€ for a starter, 25-40€ for a main and 10€ for a dessert.  Fixed price “carte blanche” menus will also be available for 35€ at lunch and 60€ at dinner. Jancou himself will continue to manage the service and the wine at Vivant Table.

Vivant Cave will open just next door around September 15, selling natural wine to go (no SO2) and food and wine to enjoy on site. The food here will be simple, recalling Jancou’s days at La Crèmerie, featuring lots of charcuterie and cheese (6-15€), sandwiches (5-8€), and daily specials for 15€ like rabbit and andouillette. David Benichou, who has a long history of pouring natural wines (at Vivant, The Ten Bells in NYC, and Le Garde Robe), will be the moustachioed face of this new annex, which will not accept reservations.


Snails to rails: L’Escargot busted for cocaine trafficking

“La rue Montorgueil, bonté du ciel! Véritable pays de Cocagne…” – Louis Lurine, Les Rues de Paris (1843)

According to the newspaper Le Parisien, three Paris restaurants were recently busted for trafficking in cocaine. The historic L’Escargot Montorgueil, which has been serving the namesake gastropods for more than a century, has in more recent times been serving rails as well as snails.

Along with restaurants Le Baci (owned by Thierry Costes) and La Bocca (the first Paris restaurant owned and long ago sold by Pierre Jancou), L’Escargot is subject to a short-term administrative closure after two dealers connected to the restaurants were arrested with 60 grams of cocaine, € 2,500 in cash and a loaded automatic pistol.

We always wondered why the customers at Costes establishments didn’t seem to care that the food was lousy. Now we know!

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2012

The 2012 World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards

Whether you love them or hate them, the bubble water’s annual rankings were revealed tonight in London. Rene Redzepi’s restaurant Noma retained the #1 spot for the third consecutive year, followed again by the Spaniards El Celler De Can Roca and Mugaritz.

There are no French restaurants in the Top 10 this year. Last year’s highest ranked Paris restaurant Le Chateaubriand, which fell this year from #9 to #15, was surpassed by L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon (now #12). While Alain Passard, Pierre Gagnaire and Pascal Barbot continue to jockey for position at the far end of the Top 20, Alain Ducasse was kicked off the list entirely, not even making the Top 100.

Among the younger Paris chefs, Bertrand Grébaut and his restaurant Septime snuck onto the extended list at #87, but there was no love for David Toutain, Daniel Rose or Gregory Marchand.

Paris Results

Full Results

  1. Noma, Denmark (no change)
  2. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain (no change)
  3. Mugaritz, Spain (no change)
  4. D.O.M, Brazil (up 3)
  5. Osteria Francescana, Italy (down 1)
  6. Per Se, USA (up 4)
  7. Alinea, USA (down 1)
  8. Arzak, Spain (no change)
  9. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, UK (new entry)
  10. Eleven Madison Park, USA (up 14)
  11. Steirereck, Austria (up 11)
  12. L’Atelier de Joel RobuchonFrance (up 2)
  13. The Fat Duck, UK (down eight)
  14. The Ledbury, UK (up 20)
  15. Le ChateaubriandFrance (down 6)
  16. L’ArpegeFrance (up 3)
  17. Pierre GagnaireFrance (down 1)
  18. L’AstranceFrance (down 5)
  19. Le Bernardin, USA (down 1)
  20. Frantzen/Lindeberg, Sweden (new entry)
  21. Oud Sluis, Netherlands (down 4)
  22. Aqua, Germany (up 3)
  23. Vendome, Germany (down 2)
  24. Mirazur, France (re-entry)
  25. Daniel, USA (down 14)
  26. Iggy’s, Singapore (up 1)
  27. Narisawa, Japan (down 15)
  28. Nihonryori RyuGin, Japan (down eight)
  29. Quay, Australia (down 3)
  30. Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland (down 2)
  31. Asador Etxebarri, Spain (up 19)
  32. Le Calandre, Italy (no change)
  33. De Librije, Netherlands (up 13)
  34. Fäviken, Sweden (new entry)
  35. Astrid Y Gaston, Peru (up 7)
  36. Pujol, Mexico (up 13)
  37. Momofuku Ssam Bar, USA (up 3)
  38. Biko, Mexico (down 7)
  39. Waku Ghin, Singapore (new entry)
  40. Quique Dacosta, Spain (new entry)
  41. Mathias Dalgren, Sweden (re-entry)
  42. Hof van Cleve, Belgium (down 27)
  43. The French Laundry, USA (re-entry)
  44. Amber, Hong Kong (down 7)
  45. Vila Joya, Portugal (new entry)
  46. Il Canto, Italy (down 7)
  47. BrasFrance (down 17)
  48. Manresa, USA (re-entry)
  49. Geranium, Denmark (new entry)
  50. Nahm, Bangkok (new entry)

Another food truck hits Paris

After the wild success of Le Camion Qui Fume, Paris now has a second food truck to stalk. The Cantine California opened for business this week selling burgers, carnitas, and red velvet cupcakes at the Marchés Raspail and Saint-Honoré.

The products are 100% organic and the menu offerings range from breakfast burritos and buttermilk pancakes to avocado burgers and enchiladas. Homemade cupcakes and milkshakes are available for dessert or between-meal snacks.

The truck is run by a pair of Jordans. Boy Jordan is a Canadian who spent time in California and then married a Frenchie. Lady Jordan is a graduate of the Ferrandi cooking school – the same school that graduated Kristin Frederick from Le Camion Qui Fume.

Speaking of Kristin, I spoke to her during the week that Le Camion Qui Fume had been temporarily shut down. She mentioned that part of her (now resolved) bureaucratic problem was related to the city’s need to reevaluate how to they wanted to handle the hundreds of food truck permit applications they have received in recent months. Based on this, I think we can expect many more food trucks to hit the pavement in the coming year.

In the meantime, the schedule for the Cantine California seems to be:

  • Tuesdays at le Marché Raspail: 10am-12pm: brunch; 12-2:30pm for lunch
  • Wednesdays at le Marché Saint-Honoré: 12-2:30pm for lunch; 3-7pm for cupcakes and shakes; 7-8:30pm for dinner
  • Fridays at le Marché Raspail: 10am-12pm: brunch; 12-2:30pm for lunch
  • Saturdays at le Marché Saint-Honoré: 9:30am-3pm: brunch and lunch

If you’ve tried it, let us know!

Truffles – Black Diamond Basics

It’s truffle season in Paris, and the knobby tubers are turning up on restaurant menus all over town. Many people, however, don’t know their Alba from their elbow, and can’t understand why a kilo of fungus might sell for thousands of euros. I myself was stumped over the holidays when I bought a truffled Brillat-Savarin cheese from two different sources and discovered a vast difference in intensity and flavor. Why was one truffle so much better than the other?

To increase my knowledge and enjoyment of this luxe ingredient, I turned to truffle maven and contributing advisor Patricia Wells. The James Beard Award-winning author authored a book called Simply Truffles, containing 60 recipes plus tips on buying, storage and preparation that will help any cook lucky enough to get her hands on a truffle. Being sans truffe myself, I read it mainly as a reference to help me understand what’s being shaved atop my dishes in Paris restaurants or stuffed inside my holiday cheeses. Here’s what I learned:


Truffle Types

  • The winter black truffle or truffe noir (Tuber melanosporum) is harvested from November to March and is at its peak of flavor during the month of January. This truffle is sometimes called the “Périgord” truffle, although only 20% of production comes from Southwest France. The majority of French black truffles are today harvested in the Vaucluse department of Provence. Another nickname is le diamant noir – the black diamond.
  • The summer “white” truffle or truffe de Saint-Jean (Tuber aestivum) is less powerful and less expensive – about one twentieth the price – of the black winter truffle.
  • The Burgundy truffle or truffe de Bourgogne (Tuber uncinatum) is somewhere between the winter and summer truffle, both in terms of intensity and price.
  • The Italian white truffle or truffe blanche d’Alba (Tuber magnatum) is even more rare and expensive than the French black truffle, and is at its peak of flavor in October and November.
  • The Chinese truffle (Tuber sinensis or Tuber indicum) is a winter black truffle harvested in China, one that is often exported to the West as an inferior-quality substitute for the French black truffle. These are sometimes soaked with extracts from the authentic French black truffle and then sold (wrongly) as Tuber melanosporum for a higher price. If you see a truffle on sale at Monoprix for 15€, it is almost certainly a Chinese truffle.

The Attraction of Truffles

  • The attraction of truffles can be partially attributed to their rarity, but taste has something to do with it, too. Wells describes truffles as having the scent of dry mushroom, humus and wet forest, with an earthy hazelnut flavor in the mouth. Diane Ackerman, in her book A Natural History of the Senses, compares the scent of the truffle to “the muskiness of a rumpled bed after an afternoon of love in the tropics.” Their strange sensuality can be attributed to the fact that truffles exude pheromones – a chemical secreted by male pigs (and also humans) in order to attract the animals that unearth them.

Truffle Cultivation

  • A truffle is the fruiting body of a fungus that grows in symbiosis with (mainly) oak and hazelnut trees. Truffles continue to evade our attempts at cultivation, and that elusiveness contributes greatly to their charm and price.
  • In 1847, a truffle farmer in Carpentras named August Rousseau was able to create ideal conditions for truffles by planting oak trees from acorns gathered beneath truffle-producing oaks. His harvest was so large that he received a prize at the 1855 World’s Fair in Paris.
  • In 1977, the first truffle was harvested beneath a tree that had been inoculated with truffle spores. Today, 80% of all truffles in France are found beneath trees that have been artificially mychorrizalized in this way.
  • Despite these advances, truffles are becoming increasingly rare. In just over 100 years, the annual truffle harvest has dropped from 2,200 tons in 1892 to 31 tons in 2010.
  • Because truffles grow several inches below the ground, humans depend on pigs or dogs to sniff them out. Female pigs have an innate ability to smell truffles because the tuber secretes a pheromone that resembles the sex hormone secreted by wild boars. Dogs need to be trained to hunt the tuber, but they can also be trained, unlike pigs, to not eat the truffle.

Additional Reading

  • Patricia Wells‘ book Simply Truffles is a great reference and recipe trove for truffle lovers. As chef Joël Robuchon writes in the foreward, “Patricia Wells, charming talented ambassador for the truffle, succeeds beautifully in sharing her love for this mysterious product of incomparable taste.” She also truffle cooking classes at her home in Provence.
  • I also love this article, originally published in 2001 in the International Herald Tribune, in which Wells recounts the heated negotiations between her family and the poachers who lay claim to the truffles on her land.
  • For a wonderful look at pig-assisted foraging, see David Lebovitz’ post about Truffle Hunting in Southwest France. The photos of pig and master are just stunning.


Thanksgiving in Paris

Haven’t sorted out your Thanksgiving holiday plans yet? No need to freak out. We’ve rounded up a few resources to help our American readers, as well as any locals who’ll be sharing the table this year.

Eating Out & Turkey To-Go

  • Breakfast in America will be hosting two seatings for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday at 6:30 and 9:30pm. Three courses plus aperitif for 32€ at 17 rue Lescot, 75005. Reservations by email only at Update: BIA is now fully booked but you can ask to be added to the waiting list.
  • Joe Allen will be serving a three-course meal with traditional Thanksgiving options (plus foie gras and Caesar salad) for 45€ on Thursday at 30 rue Pierre Lescot, 75010. Reservations at 01 42 36 70 13.
  • Ô Chateau will be hosting Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The usual prices apply (32€ for the three course meal & 65€ for the degustation menu including wine), but the menu will feature holiday favorites like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes & pumpkin pie. November 24-26 at 68 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001. Reservations by email at or by phone at: 01 44 73 97 80.
  • Le Saint-Martin will be serving a multi-course Thanksgiving meal, either at the restaurant or for takeaway, including carrot soup, roasted turkey, stuffing & mashed potatoes, green beans & squash, cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread, and three kinds of pie (apple, pecan, pumpkin). Available Thursday through Saturday (November 24-26) for 35€ per person at 25 rue Louis Blanc, 75010. Reservations by email at or by phone at 01 46 07 73 78.

DIY (Ingredient Sourcing)

  • The aptly-named Thanksgiving – a shop which probably earns 80% of its annual revenue during this one week – is a good source for turkeys (farm-raised & ready to cook for 12€/kg or rolled & trussed turkeys for 14€/kg), desserts (pies & cheesecakes for 25-28€), and ingredients for baking & seasonal side dishes (canned pumpkin, jellied cranberry sauce, pecans, etc.). The shop is located at 20 rue Saint Paul, but turkeys and desserts need to be ordered in advance at 01 42 77 68 29. A good left-bank option for American ingredients is The Real McCoy at 194 rue de Grenelle, 75007.
  • Beyond the specialty shops, ingredients for most traditional side dishes are widely available in Paris markets and grocery stores. Granted, you might have to skip the canned pumpkin and go for authentic potiron, or forgo the Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup in favor of crème fraîche and wild mushrooms, but you should have no problem finding patates douces (sweet potatoes), courge butternut (squash), choux de Bruxelles (Brussel sprouts), haricots verts (green beans) and marrons (chestnuts). Pecans and cranberries (canneberge or the similar airelle) are trickier to find, although not impossible. And if you need inspiration regarding the best way to roast a turkey, behold the following:

* Thanks to our discussion forum members RandyDiaz, NancyLi, JohnTalbott, mbcraw4d and CroqueCamille for contributing information that was used in this article.

Full (un)Coverage of the 2011 Salon du Chocolat

There isn’t much in the way of free samples at the Salon du Chocolat. Buying a ticket permits little more than the opportunity to buy chocolate once inside. Which we did. Who could resist tasting the wares of so many talented chocolatiers gathered in one (strange) spot?

The best bite of the day, we all agreed, was the Tablette Atlantique from Franck Kestener. The dark chocolate squares, oozing with salty caramel and crunchy shortbread, were quickly devoured by a gang of Barbra Austin, Dorie Greenspan, Molly Wizenberg. I should have bought four more just to get me through the weekend.

The Salon isn’t entirely about shopping. It’s also about sex. Or at least it was in 2011, with the “baroque-burlesque” fashion show  featuring models strutting in chocolate lingerie. Here’s what we took away from the event:

The 2011 Salon du Chocolat fashion show

Our video documenting the all-chocolate lingerie show that featured not one but two prosthetic choco-butt pads…



Who Wore it Butt-er?

Vote for your favorite cocoa prosthesis – matte & classe or glossy & glam…




Chocolate & nipples: a Parisian pairing

Stay abreast of the latest trend in molded candies…




Gail Simmons’ Paris favorites

When we learned that Gail Simmons (reigning queen of the Top Chef franchise) would be returning to Paris for the first time in a decade, we asked our Twitter followers to share some favorite spots for food & wine. Your most frequent suggestions? Le Comptoir du Relais, Chez l’Ami Jean, & Gérard Mulot.

At the end of her stay, I caught up with Gail for dinners (she put away two full meals that night) and to ask which mouthfuls had made an impression.

Gail Simmons’ Top Paris Tastes

  • The boudin noir (blood sausage) and roast coquelet with potatoes and root vegetables at Le Comptoir du Relais
  • The cod with smoked eggplant and pleurotes (king oyster mushrooms) at Frenchie

Your full set of Twitter suggestions

L’Arpège and l’Ami Jean not to be missed. – @101points

L’Epi Dupin for lunch, rice pudding at l’Ami Jean. – @lvd123

Must go to Angelina pâtisserie rue de Rivoli of course and Le Comptoir – the bistrot of Yves Camdeborde! – @fpnegroni

A meal at Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir du Relais. Macarons at Gérard Mulot. Green tea millefeuille at Sadaharu Aoki. – @frogprincesse

Pâtes de fruits from Pierre Hermé by St. Sulpice. Amazing amazing dinner at Le Chateaubriand, including duck heart… L’As du Fallafel in le Marais. Tea from Nina’s Salon de Thé in the 1st. Macarons from Gérard Mulot. – @KiraTV

Dinner at Spring Restaurant. – @drjenniferbaer

We recommend dinner at Pizza Positano followed by dessert at Gérard Mulot! – @TwelveOaksBakes

Has @gailsimmons hit up Le Baratin? So much better than RL’s limp hamburger-serving Ralph’s! (Luv your clothes tho Ralphie!) – @literarygroup

Don’t miss Un Dimanche à Paris, chocolate concept shop. – @flavorsofparis

Septime is a must but I also recommend Pomze, my favorite. – @LostNCheeseland

Le Gaigne (near Pompidou), and Le Dali in Le Meurice Hotel. – @phlu

It’s not “fine cuisine” but for delicious seafood & great wines in a fun atmosphere, try Fish near Rue de Buci! – @PeteyNYCHHI

Chez Gladines in the 13th! Used to live in Paris, ate there weekly. – @ThePlebeReport

You must shop and taste at Le Grand Epicerie at Le Bon Marché. Also Guenmai – vegetarian in 6th arrondissement. – @NEVlondon

Le Petit Bofinger has the world’s best gazpacho! – @yabastaal

Restaurant Pasco in the 7th arr is a hidden gem! The goat cheese stuffed peppers are divine! Also all of Rue Cler. – @2Plus2NYCReview

Want more?


The Best Baguettes in Paris are again in Montmartre

Grand Prix de la Baguette de la Ville de Paris

In 2011, and for the 4 of the last 5 years (see past results below), a bakery in Montmartre has taken home the top prize. Congratulations to Pascal Barillon of Au Levain d’Antan! The 52 year-old baker will earn a 4000€ cash prize and a contract to keep President Nicolas Sarkozy (and Carla, if she eats them) in fresh baguettes throughout the coming year.

Click on any of the links for more information, or visit Our Guide to Paris Bakeries for all of our bakery listings.

List of 2011 winners

  1. Pascal Barillon (Au Levain d’Antan), 6 rue des Abbesses, 75018
  2. Gaétan Romp 14 rue de la Michodière, 75002
  3. Pascal Jamin (Les Saveurs du 20ème), 120 rue de Bagnolet, 75020
  4. Gontran Cherrier (Gontran Cherrier), 22 rue Caulaincourt, 75018
  5. M. Risser (Le Fournil du Village), 12 place J.B. Clément, 75018
  6. Gilles Levaslot (Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel), 187 rue de Grenelle, 75007
  7. Jean-Noël Julien (Julien), 75 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
  8. Philippe Marache, 92 av de la République Paris, 75011
  9. Philippe Bogner, 204 rue des Pyrénées, 75020
  10. Le Grenier à Pain Saint-Amand, 33 bis rue Saint-Amand, 75015

Map of all winners in the past five years

[cetsEmbedGmap src=,2.340431&spn=0.126252,0.308647&z=12 width=500 height=400 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

List of past winners

2010 winners

  1. Djibril Bodian (Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses), 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
  2. Daniel Pouphary (La Parisienne) 28 rue Monge, 75005
  3. Dominique Saibron 77 avenue du Général Leclerc, 75014
  4. Yves Desgranges 6 rue de Passy, 75016
  5. Philippe Gosselin 258 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007
  6. Xavier Doué 163 avenue de versaillais, 75016
  7. Sébastien and Sylvie Lohézic (Boulangerie Lohézic), 31 rue Guersant, 75017
  8. Michel Chorin (Boulangerie d’Isa) 127 rue de Charenton, 75012
  9. Boulangerie Zerzour (now closed), 50 rue de l’Amiral Roussin, 75015
  10. Zerzour II (now closed), 324 rue Lecourbe, 75014

2009 winners

  1. Franck Tombarel (Le Grenier de Félix), 64 avenue Félix Faure, 75015
  2. Benjamin Turquier 134 rue de Turenne, 75003
  3. Stéphane Eury  98 rue de Meaux, 75019
  4. Eran Mayer 100 rue du Théâtre, 75015
  5. Djibril Bodian (Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses), 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
  6. Stéphane Henry 2 bis boulevard Morland, 75004
  7. Thierry Racoillet (Coquelicot) 50 bis rue de Douai, 75009
  8. Frédéric Pichard 88 rue de Cambronne, 75015
  9. Jean-Marc Touchard 111 rue Saint Dominique, 75007
  10. Bertrand Pougnet (Le Grenier à Pain), 52 avenue d’Italie, 75013

2008 winners

  1. Anis Bouabsa (Au Duc de la Chapelle), 32 rue Tristan Tzara, 75018
  2. Fabrice Pottier 231 rue Vaugirard, 75015
  3. Morgan Gantier 2 rue Corot, 75016
  4. Franck Tombarel (Le Grenier de Félix),  64 avenue Félix Faure, 75015
  5. Emmanuel Merlhes 225 rue Charenton, 75012
  6. Lydie et Arnaud Dumont 53 rue Navier, 75017
  7. Régis Colin 53 rue Montmartre, 75002
  8. Raoul Maeder 158 boulevard Berthier, 75017
  9. Stéphane Eury 98 rue de Meaux, 75019
  10. Alexandre Planchais (Boulangerie Alexine), 40 rue Lepic, 75018

2007 winners

  1. Arnaud Delmontel 57 rue Damrémont, 75018
  2. Régis Colin 53 rue Montmartre, 75002
  3. Anis Bouabsa (Au Duc de la Chapelle), 32 rue Tristan Tzara, 75018
  4. Djibril Bodian (Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses), 38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
  5. Raoul Maeder 158 boulevard Berthier, 75017
  6. Thierry Racoillet 24 rue des Abbesses, 75018
  7. Emmanuel Croteau 40 rue Sorbier, 75020 *CHANGE OF OWNER
  8. Alexandre Planchais (Boulangerie Alexine), 40 rue Lepic, 75018
  9. Thierry Renard 113 bis boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75013 MOVED to 58 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006
  10. Bertrand Pougnet (Le Grenier à Pain), 52 avenue d’Italie, 75013

Additional reading

  • Caroline Mignot shares her experience [FR] as a member of the baguette-tasting jury in 2011
  • Phyllis Flick writes about what makes a baguette de tradition (2011) and her experience as a member of the baguette-tasting jury in 2010
  • The Guardian (2011) publishes the most alliterative headline ever: “French bakers battle to bag best baguette bounty.”
  • Meg Zimbeck (2010) presents 10 bakeries who have rocked this competition over the past few years (Budget Travel)
  • Steven Kaplan (aka “the bread professor”) teaches Conan O’Brien about what makes a good baguette



Paris Rankings Among the World’s 50 Best Restos

The 2011 Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards

Whether you love them, hate them, or (like Ferran Adrià) just think they need a little reform, the annual rankings were revealed tonight in London. We were nerdy enough to watch the live streaming event in our pyjamas and to post the play-by-play on our Facebook page. Rene Redzepi’s restaurant Noma retained the #1 spot, followed by two Spanish restaurants, El Celler De Can Roca and Mugaritz. The highest ranked Paris restaurant was Le Chateaubriand, which broke the the top ten for the first time this year.

Paris Results

Among the Paris rankings, there are some very different stories. Le Chateaubriand, which broke the top ten for the first time this year (and is the only French restaurant to do so) has been rising dramatically since its entry in 2009. Pierre Gagnaire, on the other hand, has steadily slipping ever since its highest point at #3 in 2008. L’Astrance, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and L’Arpège are all on a comeback kick, while Alain Ducasse has been tumbling consistently down in the rankings. Anne-Sophie Pic was named as the World’s Best Female Chef, but her restaurant (Maison Pic, Valence) didn’t make the top 50. Also ranked in the second tier was Le Meurice, squeaking in at #97.

So how do we explain the fact that Le Chateaubriand and L’Arpège are rising while Ducasse and Gagnaire are slipping? And what about all those three-star Michelin chefs (Frechon, Alleno, Savoy) who didn’t make the cut? What does it mean that David Chang’s noodle bar outranks the founder of the Collège Culinaire de France?

Full Results

  1. Noma, Denmark
  2. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain
  3. Mugaritz, Spain
  4. Osteria Francescana, Italy
  5. The Fat Duck, UK
  6. Alinea, USA
  7. D.O.M, Brazil
  8. Arzak, Spain
  9. Le Chateaubriand, France
  10. Per Se, USA
  11. Daniel, USA
  12. Les Creations de Narisawa, Japan
  13. L’Astrance, France
  14. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France
  15. Hof van Cleve, Belgium
  16. Pierre Gagnaire, France
  17. Oud Sluis, Netherlands
  18. Le Bernardin, USA
  19. L’Arpege, France
  20. Nihonryori RyuGin, Japan
  21. Vendome, Germany
  22. Steirereck, Austria
  23. Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland
  24. Eleven Madison Park, USA (second highest climber)
  25. Aqua, Germany
  26. Quay, Australia
  27. Iggy’s, Singapore
  28. Combal Zero, Italy
  29. Martin Berasategui, Spain
  30. Bras, France
  31. Biko, Mexico
  32. Le Calandre, Italy
  33. Cracco, Italy
  34. The Ledbury, UK (highest new entry)
  35. Chez Dominique, Finland
  36. Le Quartier Francais, South Africa
  37. Amber, China
  38. Dal Pescatore, Italy
  39. Il Canto, Italy
  40. Momofuku Ssam Bar, USA
  41. St John, UK
  42. Astrid Y Gaston, Peru
  43. Hibiscus, UK
  44. Maison Troisgros, France
  45. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, France
  46. De Librije, Netherlands
  47. Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, Switzerland
  48. Varvary, Russia
  49. Pujol, Mexico
  50. Asador Etxebarri, Spain


New Michelin Guide promotes Piège & Passage 53

Photo by Bruno Verjus (Food Intelligence)

Michelin Guide France 2011

The Michelin Guide has just announced its annual star shower, with the following changes for Paris restos:

Stéphane Riss and François Simon both got up very early to post the full results online. Riss claims to have been first, but he also predicted (collective giggle of the Omnivore audience) that Cyril Lignac would win a star. You can read additional commentary and predictions on their sites, as well as Food Intelligence, Et Toque!, & Gilles Pudlowski.

For those who hold these ratings dear, did you know that you can use our handy search widget (below and more permanently in the sidebar at right) to find restaurants based on their number of Michelin stars? We’ve updated our tags to reflect the 2011 designations, and you can filter these by neighborhood and when they’re open.

Find a Restaurant in Our Guide

Get OFF for free

Score: the kind people at Omnivore have just provided 10 free passes for us to give away to readers who want to attend their three-day food & wine festival in Deauville (Feb 20-22). More on how to win these tickets below, but first a few words about the festival itself.

Having never attended the Omnivore Food Festival (OFF), I turned to a few local experts to explain what makes this event unique. Here’s a summary of what they said:

Omnivore is Young

It’s the “unmissable rendez-vous for young, creative cuisine,” says French food writer Bruno Verjus, who will be hosting the Omnivore radio program for this year’s festival. The chefs in the spotlight – Sven Chartier (Saturne), Inaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand), and Giovanni Passerini (Rino) – are all still young and unburdened by stars.

Omnivore is International

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s France’s one and only international food festival,” says food writer and Master Chef judge Sébastien Demorand, who will be hosting this year’s salé (savory) demonstrations. Celebrated French chefs like Jean-François Piège and Thierry Marx share equal billing at Omnivore with internationals like Rasmus Kofoed, Juan Mari Arzak, and Magnus Nilsson. Clotilde Dusoulier, the blogger-turned-food-writer (and PbM contributing editor) who will be hosting this year’s sucré (dessert) demonstrations, cited foreigners like Rosio Sanchez (Noma) as highlights on the sweet stage. In short, Omnivore doesn’t limit itself to the hexagon. It’s three-day tour of la planète gastronomie.

Omnivore is Sex?

According to Sophie Brissaud, a prize-winning food writer (and PbM contributing editor), the Omnivore Food Festival is “a terrific collective sex party where everyone gets naked and screws like bunnies while eating pleine mer oysters and drinking Plageoles wines.” She’s probably kidding, but I’m bringing my video camera just in case.

Omnivore is Free

At least for 10 of you, it is. To win a free three-day pass to the Omnivore Food Festival, all you have to do is send an email with your full name to We’ll select the first ten responses and email you with confirmation before next Tuesday. Update: we have our ten winners, thanks for playing!

To learn more about OFF, visit the festival website or see this video report on last year’s event.

Paris Food & Wine Events February 3-10

Wine Tastings

  • February 3 (Thursday) at Spring Boutique: free tasting of charcuterie made from a chevreuil (deer) that was nabbed by their friend, accompanied by €5 glasses of Cornas. From 6-8pm at 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001.
  • February 4 (Friday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free “2 1/2 Happy Hours” wine tasting with nibbles from 5-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.
  • February 5 (Saturday) at Les Caves Taillevent: a free wine tasting from 10am-5pm at 199 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008.
  • February 5 (Saturday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free wine tasting from 11am-7pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.

Wine Tasting Classes

  • Feburary 4 & 5 (Thursday & Friday) at Spring Restaurant: The “Grand Afternoon Tasting” is a 1.5 hour class in English and will “go over the basics of how to taste wine, introduce you to six different wines from our favorite artisanal producers, and discuss wine and food pairing. Cost: 60€ per person. Classes in the 16th-century cave beneath the restaurant at 6 rue Bailleul (1st) begin at 4pm. More information here.
  • Every Day (but Sunday) at Ô Chateau: wine tasting classes in English ranging from French Wine Introductory (30€) to the Grand Crus Tasting (80€). Classes (except the Champagne river cruise) take place at 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec in the 1st.

Continue reading Paris Food & Wine Events February 3-10

Paris Food & Wine Events Jan. 28-Feb. 3

Troglodyte Caves below the Chateau de Brézé where the "Roots, Sweet Roots" wine tasting will be held

Special Events

Wine lovers from all over the world are heading to the Loire Valley this week for some very impressive tastings. Check the SNCF site for travel times and ticket prices.

  • January 30 – February 1st (Sunday-Tuesday) at the Parc des Expositions in Angers: The Salon des Vins de Loire is a massive trade fair that features 600+ winemakers and draws more than 8500 visitors per year. The Salon is reserved for wine professionals only, as is the Renaissance tasting at Greniers Saint Jean and a host of others, but this next one is open to the public…
  • January 30 & 31(Sunday & Monday) at the Château de BrézéLa Dive Bouteille is hosting the “Roots, Sweet Roots” tasting down in the Troglodyte caves at the Château (dress warmly). Hundreds of the country’s most well-regarded winemakers will be pouring (the full list here). Admission is 10€, and shuttles will be running between the Château and the train station at Saumur (10km). Sunday from 2-7pm and Monday from 10am-6pm.

Free Wine Tastings

  • January 28 (Friday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free “2 1/2 Happy Hours” wine tasting with nibbles from 5-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.
  • January 29 (Saturday) at Les Caves Taillevent: a free wine tasting from 10am-5pm at 199 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008.
  • January 29 (Saturday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free wine tasting from 11am-7pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.

Wine Tasting Classes

  • January 27 & 28 (Thursday & Friday) at Spring Restaurant: The “Grand Afternoon Tasting” is a 1.5 hour class in English and will “go over the basics of how to taste wine, introduce you to six different wines from our favorite artisanal producers, and discuss wine and food pairing. Cost: 60€ per person. Classes in the 16th-century cave beneath the restaurant at 6 rue Bailleul (1st) begin at 4pm. More information here.
  • Every Day (but Sunday) at Ô Chateau: wine tasting classes in English ranging from French Wine Introductory (30€) to the Grand Crus Tasting (80€). Classes (except the Champagne river cruise) take place at 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec in the 1st.

Continue reading Paris Food & Wine Events Jan. 28-Feb. 3

Paris Food & Wine Events January 14-20

Special Dinners

  • January 17 (Saturday) at Les Grand Tables du 104: For their 100% Fish event, Omnivore has recruited two chefs from the coast for a pisci-demonstration and tasting. The €35 price includes dinner and a glass of natural wine (additional bottles start at €15). 8:30pm at 5 rue Curial, 75019.

Free Wine Tastings

  • January 14 (Friday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free “2 1/2 Happy Hours” wine tasting with nibbles from 5-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.
  • January 15 (Saturday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free tasting of wine from 11am-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.

Wine Tasting Classes

  • January 20 (Thursday) at Spring Restaurant: The “Grand Afternoon Tasting” is a 1.5 hour class in English and will “go over the basics of how to taste wine, introduce you to six different wines from our favorite artisanal producers, and discuss wine and food pairing – with some ‘hands-on’ practice. Cost: 60€ per person. Classes in the 16th-century cave beneath the restaurant at 6 rue Bailleul (1st) will begin at 4pm. More information here.
  • Every Day (but Sunday) at Ô Chateau: wine tasting classes in English ranging from French Wine Introductory (30€) to the Grand Crus Tasting (80€). Classes (except the Champagne river cruise) take place at 52 rue de l’Arbre Sec in the 1st.

Looking Ahead

  • January 23 (Sunday) at Hidden Kitchen: In a break from the normal ten-course dinner format (twice-weekly affairs that are already booked through the end of March) Braden Perkins will be working with friend/guest chef Nicolas Calcott to prepare an eight-course tasting menu of refined Szechwan cuisine. The 70€ price includes an aperitif and wines paired by Juan Sanchez of La Dernière Goutte. To book, email The central Paris location will be revealed by email after confirmation of your reservation.
  • January 22-24 (Saturday-Monday) at Paris-Villepinte Expo Center: The Paris ds Chefs event comprises three days of discussion between chefs and design folk (architects, photographers, visual artists…), all for the purpose of trying to explain marble décor of Le Dauphin. Ok, that’s a lie. They’re really gathering for 20 hour-long debates about “the visible and the invisible.” Entry for a single day, which would never be enough, is €20. Better to spend €30 and get all three days/20 hours.

If you have information to contribute about Paris food and wine events, send an email to

Paris food & wine events for the weekend of December 17-19

Book Reading & Signing

  • December 18 (Saturday) at Spring Boutique: contributing editor Alexander Lobrano will be hanging out, sipping Champagne and signing/selling copies of the new edition of his must-have guide to Paris restaurants (Hungry for Paris). The reading will begin around 5pm but the festivities will continue until 8pm at 52 Rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001.

Free Wine Tastings

  • December 18 (Friday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free “2 1/2 Happy Hours” tasting with wine and chutney from Clothilde from 5-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.
  • December 18 (Saturday) at Les Caves Augé: A free tasting among “Vignerons de Champagne”, including Didier Gimonnet, Jérôme Prevost, Olivier Collin, Michel Drappier, Larmandier Bernier, Vouette et Sorbée, Anselme Selosse, Egly Ouriet, Lassaigne, Beaufort, Horiot, Jacquesson. From 11am-7pm at 16 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008.

Continue reading Paris food & wine events for the weekend of December 17-19

Paris food & wine events for the weekend of December 10-12


Free Wine Tastings

  • December 10 (Friday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free “2 1/2 Happy Hours” tasting with wine and cheese from 5-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.
  • December 11 (Saturday) at Les Caves Taillevent: a free tasting of suggested holiday wines, “Noël provençal: quels vins pour le sublimer?” From 10am-5pm at 199 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008.
  • December 11 (Saturday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free tasting with Isabelle Champart from Mas Champart (Saint-Chinian), Jean Gardiés (Cotes du Roussillon Villages) and Champagne maker Franck Pascal, who will be pouring the prize-winning Sagesse Brut Nature and other bubbles. From 11am-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.

Paid Wine Tastings

  • December 10-11 (Friday & Saturday) at the Carrousel du Louvre: Le Grand Tasting, a two-day tasting event hosted by Bettane & Desseauve and featuring winemakers from all over France, including many top producers from Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne (consult list here). The price of entry is €20 for one day and €25 for both days and includes a Riedel wine glass for tasting. From 10:30am-8:30pm on Friday and 10:30am-7:30pm on Saturday at 99 rue de Rivoli, 75001.

Continue reading Paris food & wine events for the weekend of December 10-12

Paris wine tastings for the weekend of December 3-5

Free (or really cheap) Wine Tastings in Paris

  • December 3 (Friday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free “Happy Hour” tasting with winemaker Julien Labat (Jura) accompanied by a good Comté from the same region. From 4:30-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.
  • December 4 (Saturday) at La Dernière Goutte: a free tasting with three different winemakers from 11am-7:30pm at 6 rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006.
  • December 4 (Saturday) at La Cave du Moulin Vieux: a free tasting of Champagnes from the Masion Roederer with Bruno Fritsch. From 10am-8pm at 4 rue de la Butte aux Cailles, 75013.
  • December 4 (Saturday) at Les Caves Taillevent: a free tasting of two different whites, “Avec le poisson: Sauvignon du Sancerrois ou Chardonnay de Côte d’Or?” From 10am-7pm at 199 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008.
  • December 4-5 (Saturday & Sunday) at Le Comptoir Général: it’s Festivin, a two day celebration of wine sponsored by Le Vin en Tête (€5). Tastings in the presence of more than 50 winemakers, with food provided by Tartes Kluger and the wine bars Oh Bigre! and le Garde Robe. Workshops offering tastings of wine & chocolate or wine & foie gras. There’s even a cabaret performance from 3-4pm and jazz from 7-8pm on Saturday night. From 11am-8pm on Saturday and 10am-7pm on Sunday at 80 quai de Jemmapes, 75010.
  • December 5 (Sunday) at Les Caves Augé: A free tasting of “Maisons Traditionelles de Champagne”, including Billecart Salmon, Krug, Roederer, Veuve Clicquot, Deutz, Taittinger, Bollinger, Jacquesson, Dom Pérignon, Laurent Perrier, Moêt & Chandon, Joseph Perrier, & Pommery. From 11am-7pm at 16 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008.

For more food and wine happenings, check out our calendar of events.

C’est (almost) arrivée: Beaujolais Nouveau to hit Paris on Thursday, November 18

The annual festival of barely-fermented wine is almost upon us, so we’ve rounded up a few ideas to help you get your headache on.

Les Caves Augé


Free dégustation of Vins Nouveaux direct from the barrel, “ni filtré, ni collé, ni sulfité…” Winemakers to include Mas de l’Anglore, Chassorney, Morentin, Foillard, Foulards Rouges.

Les Caves Augé – 116 boulevard Haussmann, 75008

Spring Boutique + Le Garde Robe


The wine bar and the wine shop have teamed up to throw what will undoubtedly be the best Beaujolais party in town. According to Spring, winemaker Jean-Claude Lapalu will be “coming from the Beaujolais with a barrel of zero sulfite gamay, a funnel, 25 cases of empty bottles, and a corking machine. We’ll have the soup and the saucisson.” Our advice: get there early if you want a taste of soup, buy your own bottle so that you don’t wait in line at the bar, and be ready to dance in the street between the two locations.

Le Garde Robe – 41 rue l’Arbre Sec, 75001
Spring Boutique – 52 rue l’Arbre Sec, 75001

Continue reading C’est (almost) arrivée: Beaujolais Nouveau to hit Paris on Thursday, November 18

Meg Zimbeck

Meg ZimbeckMeg Zimbeck is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Paris by Mouth.

Beyond the content on this site, she writes about food in Paris for the Wall Street Journal. In the past, she has served as the Paris editor for both Budget Travel and BlackBook and has contributed to Food & Wine, SAVEUR, AFARGridskipperthe BBC’s Olive magazine, and the seat-pocket magazines of United, Virgin Trains, and Gulf Air. She also hosted a program on Paris Street Eats for the  Travel Channel (USA). Meg’s food photography has been featured in T Magazinethe Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, and Libération.

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