Le Zingam

It appears to be run by bike messengers,” was what a friend said of charming, wood-paneled épicerie and greengrocer Le Zingam when it opened by Voltaire in 2014. And lo, indeed it is. But who says bike messengers can’t also have impeccable taste and wallet-friendly politics?

Longtime friends from the neighborhood Lelio Stettin and Sonny Lac offer rigorously-selected vegetables, cheeses, meats, eggs, craft beers, organic and natural wines, and tinned preserves – all of opulent quality at quasi-socialist prices. Lac formerly worked nearby at the quaint wine-bistrot Mélac, and his wine selection at Le Zingam is honest and simple, geared towards casual refreshment over geek reverence. The shop’s product selection overall is a work of low-key brilliance – from tomme de chevre to pancetta to yogurt pots, Le Zingam’s selections are laser-targeted to invite wholesale adoption into one’s habitual home meals. For any Parisians perturbed by the slow transformation of quality foodstuffs into luxuries in their city, Le Zingam – discerning, refined, and unpretentious – is a godsend.

Café Oberkampf

This tiny café on a small street just off the rue Oberkampf perpetually has a crowd of young people lingering outside. They’re all waiting to snag one of just a dozen seats before the daily supply of Shakshuka runs out. The Lost in Cheeseland sandwich, named after the food writer who was an early supporter, is also a big hit, along with healthier fare like muesli and granola. If you come after 10am, expect to leave your name and to kill some time wandering around the neighborhood before a table opens up. If you prefer not to wait, their sister restaurant Café Méricourt opened around the corner in June 2017 and has much more seating.

French Cheese Tasting Workshop

About this workshop

If you’ve ever wondered why there are more than 500 different cheeses in France, how different cheeses are produced (what accounts for their texture, color, and smell?), why French cheesemakers use raw unpasteurized milk in their cheese, what the impact of seasonality and aging are on cheese, and how locals typically enjoy cheese in restaurants and at home… this is a tasting for you.

How much cheese? It depends on the day, but we usually go for at least 10 different cheeses, representing a wide variety of French regions and cheesemaking styles. And because it wouldn’t be a proper cheese tasting without wine, we’ll be matching at least five different French wines with our fromage and discussing principles for pairing cheese & wine that you can try on your own. You’ll leave with a solid understanding of some of the major categories and appellations of French cheese and wine, and you’ll have so much fun that it won’t feel like learning.