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Feb 1, 2010 11:47 PM


I'm looking for a Parisian source of the following (or of their French equivalents):

Double Cream
Whipping Cream
Sour Cream (not crème fraiche)

And al of the above pasteurised (not UHT).

Any ideas?

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  1. Isn't sour cream just fermented cream that has been fermented longer than crème fraîche? Making fermented cream is not difficult; take either liquid cream or crème fraîche as your starting point, and add two soup spoons of lait fermenté to a half litre of cream. Stir well and let it sit at room temperature and it will thicken and sour over several hours, leaving it overnight should work fine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tmso

      No, I don't think they are the same thing as can be seen by appearence and reaction to heat (sour cream's reaction to heat means it works best on top of a chessecake). The cultures used to obtain them are different, and the fat level of sour is lower.

      1. re: vielleanglaise

        That's a good point about the different fat levels (and I hadn't been thinking about baking, ironically enough given my question below). Have you tried getting a cream with your desired fat level and fermenting it yourself? I ask because fermenting my own cream has worked well for me for Mexican cooking. It may well be that it doesn't work for you, the crema I'm familiar with possibly being different from the sour cream you know.

    2. Hijacking your thread a bit ... Does anyone know where to get Quark or Magerquark in Paris? I haven't really looked, but if there's a good local source, it would be easier than bringing it back from Germany from time to time.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tmso

        Hijack please, this is a lactose tolerant thread. I tjink youcan find quark a gogo either at Ronalba on the rue de fbg St Denis, or just around the corner at Globus Star on the rue du Chateu d'eau. Globus Star, the Serbian grocery (service with a scowl until they get to know you) have other branches in Paris.
        But to get back at you for your comment above: isn't Quark "fromage Frais"?

        1. re: vielleanglaise

          Same. What's the difference between Quark and fromage blanc? (except of course local taste)

          1. re: vielleanglaise

            Wonderful, thanks for the tip! You're right, of course, about fromage frais. And my problem is actually the same as yours: when making German desserts, they don't come out right using fromage frais.

          2. re: tmso

            have you tried the "vrai" brand of organic fromage frais? my darling german man scarfs it as soon as i buy it (i buy the 3.5% MG (= 20% magerstufe) kind because "magerquark schmeckt nicht!" but they do have 0% as well.)
            it's in a green sort of packaging, i get it at carrefour (sorry, don't live in paris)
            the yoghurt from this company is also überlecker... ;)

          3. Crème fraiche is the closest is you'll find to sour cream. They're both fermented creams, which makes them sour, but sour cream is usually more sour than crème fraîche. If you find it it will be under the name "crème aigre", likely in Eastern European groceries.

            Whipping cream is crème liquide, available in any supermarket.

            Crème double is crème épaisse with 45% fat. It can only be found in some cheese shops, most likely on order.

            Why would you want pasteurized cream when you can have it raw? Most good cheese shops and cheese stands on markets have crème crue (and beurre cru). Taste the difference (though it is more spectacular in late spring/early summer). It is liquid when it is very fresh but there some natural fermentation occuring so it turns into crème épaisse pretty quickly. Crème lliquide crue can also be found (I know Dubois has it) in small bottles. Yum.

            6 Replies
            1. re: souphie

              Mmm. Other people have given me the same advice about sour cream and Eastern European shops. I live in Eastern European grocery store central, and have looked and asked for "smetna" or "crème aigre", but to no avail. Too bad. Crème fraiche is good, but doesn't work the same on a cheesecake, in borscht, or on a baked potato.

              For whipping cream, the trouble with crème liquide (or fleurette) sold in supermarkets is that it's UHT, and thus insipid.

              I've found that there's some confusion around the terms"Crème double". and crème crue which sometimes have a certain soureness and are thus not always the same thing as "sweet" double cream or single cream as found in the UK (or at the Parisian Marks and Spencers in Paris in the good old days). Also, there's the pasteurization problem - in this household. for the time being, things have to be pasteurized.

              Oddly enough though, for those people familiar with it, I've found a very good substitute for clotted cream in Turkish groceries. Who knew.

              1. re: vielleanglaise

                It may be my memory playing tricks on me but I am certain I used to buy sour cream at Bon Marche. For other creams I got into the habit of buying based on the fat content needed for the style of cooking...although this wasn't a perfect strategy as I had some disasters.

                1. re: PhilD

                  The Bon Marché? Oh well, I guess I'll have to schlep all the way over there the next time I cook a baked potato.

                2. re: vielleanglaise

                  You need to look better. There i crème liquide, or fleurette, non refrigerated and UHT indeed, but there also is some in the refrigerated section.

                  And as for pasteurization, I still can't think of any reason why you would want it. It's the general rule anyway.

                  1. re: souphie

                    No. Even the creams in the refrigerated section (apart creme fraiche) are UHT, or sterilised if you prefer. The whipping creams are adulterated with starch and gelatin.

                    You can but pasteurised milk "lait frais", but not cream.

                    Unfortunately, lait cru, fromage au lait cru,creme cru, are persona non grata in this household for the time being, and pasteurised cream would be preferable to sterilsed....

                    1. re: vielleanglaise

                      Only low fat whipping creams are adulterated with starch and crème fraiche. I'll give you that they represent the majority on the shelves, given the ridiculous appeal of low-fat in general -- but look better, and you'll find good stuff. I'm pretty sure you'll get pasteurised crème liquide at a Monoprix near you. And definitely at your closest cheese shop if it's only half decent.

                      See for instance this from Monoprix's online shop: (it does have some crap in it, though, as you'd expect from most supermarkets products).

              2. Have you checked out David Lebovitz's site? I couldn't easily locate a post specifically about creams, French equivalents, and/or where to find them in Paris, but I bet that information is somewhere on the site, in a post or in the comments. Or you could ask in a comment yourself. He comes back to posts to answer many of the questions asked in the comments, and he's amazingly nice about it and patient.

                This is an example link, showing a post about ingredients used in American baking, some French equivalents, and where to find them in Paris.


                8 Replies
                1. re: optimal forager

                  I know and often go to this site, but I haven't checked his site out for this, but I will...though I fear that cream cravings are a more English thing.

                  1. re: vielleanglaise

                    You may have already looked here, but I'm pretty sure that I would see double cream in jars in the refrigerator section of larger, central Monoprixs like the one on the Champs Elysees near the George V metro, or the one near the St Germain metro stop.

                    In addition to Bon Marche, the Galeries Lafayette food hall by the Opera also carried some products from the UK, but I can't remember the refrigerated dairy section.

                    google also turned up this:

                    EPICERIE ANGLAISE
                    5 Cité du Wauxhall
                    75010 • PARIS

                    Has anyone checked it out?

                    1. re: souvenir

                      The epicerie Anglaise is very expensive (2 euros for a can of Dr Pepper, 10 for a box of grape nuts...) and they are almost always out of the fresh produce, especially cream, which they list, but never have.

                        1. re: souvenir

                          The only cream I can find here (Provence) to make a real good whipped cream with is Super U's own brand "crème fraîche fluide". Nothing else works, but this one does.

                        2. re: vielleanglaise

                          I got some clotted cream from the Epicerie Anglaise on Cité Wauxhall. Didn't taste right. I remember the clotted cream in the old Marks & Spencer being much better.
                          Chère Anglaise,
                          Maybe you can steer me to good clotted cream in Paris please please...

                          1. re: Parigi

                            Dear Parigi,

                            I think I can. Go to any one of the Turkish grocery stores on the rue du faubourg St Denis (Gunes at no 74 springs to to mind). Look for, or, if you can't find it, ask for "kaymak". it's clotted (Turkish) cream. If they only have the longlife, tinned version, look elsewhere in the other Turkish shops on the street for the stuff sold in plastic, that has a shorter shelf life, but which is better.

                            It's not Cornish, but it's not bad.

                            1. re: vielleanglaise

                              Turkish clotted cream? Who would have thunk. Merci !