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Unique and fabulous foods to take home

I am going to Paris for the 2nd time in May. The 1st time that I went, it was with someone who doesn't eat or care about food. This time I am going with my husband. Although he does not care about buying food, he does love to eat it and have it cooked for him.

So...was thinking about what wonderful things I can buy to take home from Paris...truffle oil, chocolate, mustard, herbs, cheese etc.

Would love any input on which truffle oils for example are particularly wonderful - and a few shops to get them at. Any other uniquely French, Parisian or just gournet or interesting food products to take home.

Also would like to take a half dozen really nice bottles of wine back - any favorites that won't break my piggy bank?

Thanks for any thoughts.

Oh...cookbooks? Cooking shops? Best restuarants for tasting menus? Favorite restaurants for Fois gras?

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  1. You can try going to Maille right near Fauchon, which has several different varieties of dijon with many different flavors. I would also recommend finding a market - I'm fond of the one near the Bastille that sells sea salts flavored with lemon, truffles, etc. It makes a nice keepsake. There is also a man at that market that sells olive oils from all over the world. I travel to paris for my job frequently and recently brought back my favorite chocolates and brand of creme de cassis. Now I can have a kir that tastes as good as the one's I have in paris (of course you will need to pack all of these items very carefully!)

    1. If you go to Maille on Place Madelaine, get the unpasteurized moutardes that come out of quasi beer taps. You must buy one of their jars and they fill with one of your choice. My favorite is the 'moutarde de ancienne' which is whole seed. The normal bottles you can get almost anywhere, but the unpasteurized stuff only here and at their store in Dijon, and it is the best.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        I agree about the unpasteurized moutardes. The only thing to be aware of is that Maille recommends that you carry the jar in the cabin rather than in your checked luggage. With the current policies regard liquids (yes, mustard is a liquid to some inspectors) we brought a ziplock bag and bought some bubble wrap and duct tape. We taped the cork top down, wrapped it in bubble wrap, taped that and put it in the ziploc bag and packed it in the checked luggage. No problems! If you bring the crock back they will refill it.

        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

          Last time through, just took the crock with the fabulous paper wrap they do at the store and put in checked-in for the reason you stated, no problems as well, no plastic, no ziploc, nuttin, perfect.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Yup, those Unilever products travel well. Pity they have now closed the original Maile factory in Dijon and have consolidated production in other factories.


      2. load up on pate faux grois. Also, get some sauterne wine--oh and a couple of bottles of good Creme de Cassis! Bon Chance!

        1 Reply
        1. re: jarona

          Do you literally mean "fake" pate fois gras? What is that?

        2. Christine Ferber jams are heavenly. You can pick them up at quite a few locations. They are sold at Pierre Herme, so if you're planning a stop there for sweets (and you should!), you can get the jams, as well.

          I also suggest a honey shop on Rue Vignon, just around the corner from Fauchon. They sell honey from various regions in France, along with honey candy, honey-based bath products, etc. There are some unusual and delicious choices.

          4 Replies
          1. re: purplescout

            The honey store is Maison du Miel, been there for quite a while.

            1. re: purplescout

              Second on the Ferber jams. Was also going to suggest Lavender honey, if you can find it.

              Dubernet Foie Gras is impossible to find in US, and is a FAR better product (imho) than the tinned ones we get here. Well worth carrying or shipping home. They have a store here: 2 Rue Augereau Paris 7e (75007).

              1. re: ChefJune

                The store on rue Augereau is really, really great! Just don't walk in there if you are hungry.

                1. re: Oakglen

                  There is also a really appetizing location in downtown Lyon. The same thing is true there! ;)

            2. I bought the most adorable dried morels from Fauchon on Place Madeleine. I bought both the tiny ones and the large ones. Also, bought red currants in a jar and edible gold in a spray can from Bon Marches Epicerie. Also, bought the cutest bouquet garni from the same place. I bought some Kusmi Tea and some of their teabags to make your own teabags. In a couple of places I found good quality plastic Asian spoons, forks, shot glasses for amuse bouche. I found an adorable little door plaque 'Chat Gourmand' at the department store across from City Hall. (My cat loves it when we cook.) I also came back with the most fabulous candied fruits. They aren't the artificial crap I buy in Canada but delicious real fruits that have been candied. Also bought some macarons to bring back but we ate them very quickly. Vin Jaune is the one thing I regret not buying.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sarah galvin

                "...at the department store across from City Hall" - Sarah I think you mean BHV. It has quite a good mainstream cook shop on one of the upper floors, but the real treasure trove is in the basement in the DIY section, with lots of very French souviners. Does it still have the cafe that looks like a workshop?

                1. re: PhilD

                  I went straight to the basement. I don't remember the cafe, sorry. I guess I wasn't hungry!

              2. Take a walk up the rue des martyrs in the 9th arr. On both sides of the street are all manner of cheese stores that sell dozens of cheese that cost a fortune in the US, if you can even find them. Ask for the cheeses to be sealed- sous vide- a vacuum pack method that will help you to bring home the cheese in great condition. These stores also have heavenly unpasteurized butters. Get a kilo tub and take it home. It makes any bread tasty. After you've finished buying cheeses, continue to the top of the street and go to a Monmartre bakery called Cocoliquot. The baguettes are fresh-just eat one on the spot with some On a completely different note (don't laugh) Monoprixs everywhere sell bars of dark chocolate bars that have bits of dried cherry,raspberry,or pistachio. About 2 euros each and good for a midnight nibble back at home. The first arrondisment has a number of good food stores too,esp. a famous purveyor of copper cookware. Can't remember the name-sorry. But ask the concierge- it is really famous.

                4 Replies
                1. re: pammi

                  The cookware shop in the 1st is Dehillerin which has a website. The clerks are quirky... sometimes helpful and other times crabby. They seem mostly harried so I would say to do your homework as to what you want because you may not get much info from them. They are quite accustomed to shipping to the US if you don't want to lug pots around w/ you. There is another cookware shop in the 1st, near Dehillerin. It's J. Simon and I bought sheetpan sized Silpats (which I cut into US cookie sheet sizes) and very good carbon steel paring knives there. J. Simon was more user friendly.

                  1. re: tinyalice

                    Don't cut Silpats. They contain fiberglass and you do not want to ingest bits of that.

                  2. re: pammi

                    Afraid l am the odd one out, lived on Rue des Martyrs for three years and rarely if ever shopped there. While the rest of Paris seems to love it, with the exception of a great bakery, found the patisseries butchers, and especially the cheese shops to be very sub par. Was annoying as sure convenient, but always got on the metro or even walked to the wonderful bakery on Rue Cadet about 6 blocks away.

                    1. re: pammi

                      Also near the top of rue des martyrs is Denise Acabo's "L'etoile d'or," which has the most outstanding assortment of candies by various makers to be found anywhere in France.

                    2. I'm getting rave reviews on the Jacques Genin passionfruit-mango caramels I brought back - the store is at 133 rue de Turenne (13th arr, M: Filles du Cavalier) They're pretty amazing - super fruity and acidic, rounded out by the lush caramel.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: daveena

                        Actually, it is in the 3rd, not 13th, just in case it confuses someone.
                        Not trying to be prickly about it.

                        1. re: dietndesire

                          Thanks :)

                          That's what I get for taking messing notes.

                          1. re: daveena

                            Oh, no worries and I am not trying to be that person correcting minor details or even those I think are just a typo.
                            And though if you plug the street name into the GPS or map or whatever, it would probably work out, you never know how people go about it.
                            Plus, maybe someone thinks, Oh, I'm in the 13th, let me go to Genin.
                            That disappointment would be too much.

                            1. re: dietndesire

                              And those caramels are too good to miss out on due to a typo. They are definitely on my list for our upcoming trip to Paris.

                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                The mango-passionfruit caramels are unique, even to Genin. They are only sold in sachets @ 17 Euros, not by the piece as are his other caramels. They are the only ones you keep in the fridge, and they really do lose their flavor after a week or so.

                                Nonetheless, they are to die for.

                                Metro Republique is also close, and on several lines.

                                1. re: RandyB

                                  BTW, DB Infusion chocolates has been selling exquisite passionfruit mango caramels since at least 2008. http://www.infusionchocolates.com/ . I am only an enthusiastic customer.

                      2. There are so many things you cannot get in the US. Why bring back wine just to save some $$s, unless you yourself have discovered a wine you absolutely love and know you can't get in the US?

                        I always buy cheese from a good affineur like Alléosse in the rue Poncelet near pl. des Ternes. They have their own caves and any cheese you buy from them will be perfect. Even common cheeses like Reblochon are much better than they will be in the US, especially if they are made from raw milk (lait cru). I bring cheese back several times a year, always declaring it on the back of the customs form (not the front, where `food` means truly raw stuff). I have never been questioned. While vacuum packing may feel more secure, I`ve never had any trouble with Alléesse`s non-vacuum travel packing. Always unpack the cheese from the vacuum or travel packing when you get home. It is best stored in the special cheese paper, which will be the initial packing.

                        For a really unusual cheese, try the Cabris Ariègois. It has the appearance and texture (spoon ready) of a Mont d'Or, but is made from goat`s milk. Very few cheese shops other than Alléosse carry it, even rarely.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: RandyB

                          Same cheese available at a store, cannot remember name, fromage Rebecca maybe a block from Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro. You are right fab, another from the arriege there that is equally wonderful and rarely one called Pechegos that even blows the Cabris away, if you ever see Pechegos, jump on it, well not literally.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            So, is this Fromage Rebecca worth a detour even if I have gone to the couple of most well known cheese houses?
                            Where do you usually see the Pechegos?
                            I will not jump on it but maybe purchase some.
                            I need to stick with this board.

                            How do these spoon ready cheese travel?
                            I assume RandyB, you had no problem even with them.

                            1. re: dietndesire

                              Saw the Pechegos all over the south of France, From Foix where it is made close to as far away as Angers. Seasonal and do not recall when. Looks like an oval 1" slice of pudding with birch around the outside. l rarely bring 'pudding' cheeses home, too much can happen on trip. Have seen in Paris, but Frankly do not remember where. Cheese shop is mentioned in Pudlo in the Montmartre area. She has a very small shop but her selection of products of the Arriege is unequalled. Last time there she had 5. Arriege is an area, very rural east of Pyrenees south of Toulouse and north of Perpignan, sort of on the way to Andorra that has quite unique and wonderful cheeses.

                              1. re: dietndesire

                                The Cabri Ariègois is the only spoon ready cheese I've brought home. I ask for the least ripe one they are willing to sell. (They will refuse to sell it if it isn't matured to their minimum standard, which is ready to eat.) I've never had any problem traveling with it. I unwrap it from the airtight packaging as soon as I get home and put it in the fridge. They we eat it within 4-5 days.

                                1. re: RandyB

                                  I feel that I must comment here. I have always brought in wonderful cheeses from France to the US with no problems. (packaged carefully) Last time there, I had all the soft cheese confiscated by the French authorities at the airport in Paris. I was only allowed to bring in the hard cheeses (comte, etc). I have always had concerns about getting them into the US on the US side but was surprised when I could not take them out of France. I brought them through in carry on and perhaps would not have had a problem if I had packed them in our checked luggage. I am shy to try it again? Anyone else have this experience? Any further suggestions on how to bring back cheese?

                                  1. re: dych

                                    It wasn't that they were cheeses, it was that they were gooey, they could have been plastic explosive, regretfully this is not folly. Any soft products must be in check-in. Have had boysenberry preserves taken from me at LAX, as they were emulsion-y, like toothpaste, shaving cream, shampoo, etc. Yes, a sad state of affairs but it is what it is.

                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      Good advice about checking those soft foods, DCM. Indeed, I like to bring back a dozen or so jars of fabulous jam from Le Furet Tanrade. They are happy to wrap the jars separately in paper. but I don`t think that`s enough for checked luggage unless you just have a few jars well scattered among soft clothes. I usually pick up some bubble wrap at BHV or Office Depot and wrap the jars in that, and then check them... Never a problem, even when I brought back 12 large jars.

                          2. Rougie foie gras is pretty good to bring home. There's a famous chocolate store on the left bank called Debauve & Gallais - been there since 1800. Best I've EVER had, but costly. It's just a block or two from the waterfront - just ask anyone.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bayoucook

                              Rougie foie gras is available in US, whereas Dubernet, which imho is far superior, is not. I wouldn't spend time or euros on Rougie in Paris.