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Apr 9, 2010 09:25 AM

Looking for Jewish grocery tips in Paris

Lucky me to be spending a sunny Saturday in Paris (tomorrow). One of the places I'm going to is supposed to be one of the best Israeli grocery stores, it's called Izraël, at 30 rue François Miron. My main goal is to get my hands on some Matzoh - I'm tired of reading about it and want to finally try it for myself. Also, I adore falafels and I've read that in israel they are made with fava beans. Are they normally dried and need soaking like chickpeas?

If anyone could recommend a type of Matzoh I should start with, clear up the fava bean mystery and let me know if there is anything else in the Jewish food world that shouldn't be missed please let me know. Thanks!

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  1. There is a place called L'As du Falafel, in the 4th arrondissement, just north of the Rue de Rivoli. I have not eaten there, but gourmand friends of mine have raved about it for some time now. The info is here:

    L'As du Fallafel
    34 Rue des Rosiers
    75004 Paris, France
    01 48 87 63 60

    Good luck! And enjoy! Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world!

    3 Replies
    1. re: bluemikes

      You know, that was my first choice for a falafel but they are closed on Saturday which breaks my heart, so I'm going to Chez Marianne across the street which is also supposed to be good, but not the best -sigh- C'est la vie. Thanks for the reply and the good wishes.

      1. re: frenchgirl

        Chez Marianne is just as good, most people simply swallow the L'As du Falafel hype and never try any of the others around the area, after all they are usually only passing through on holiday. There are other Jewish places in the area including bakeries. I am not an expert but will any of the shops be open on Saturday?

        1. re: PhilD

          Izrael is a great store...but despite the name is not Israeli, or for that matter a particularly Jewish store. Though they stock many products that one might think as Jewish, not everything sold there is kosher and they're open on Saturdays...Nevertheless, it's one of the best gourmet stores in Paris : well worth a visit.

          For Maztoh, you can find it in most Parisian grocery stores, especially in neigbourhoods with strong Jewish communities. However, although matza, mazoh, is used in France the generic term for unleavened bread you're referring to "pain anzyme".

    2. Izrael is NOT a Jewish grocery store... It's a mostly-exotic spice store, with some eclectic items from North Africa ans Asia.

      The owner may be Jewish, but that's irrelevant...

      1. "Original" falafel is made with chickpeas, not fava beans. Chez Marianne makes terrible falafel. L'As's is famous for a reason--- it's really good.
        Matza is only eaten during passover, which just ended. You can probably still find it in some stores. There are lots of Jewish grocery stores in the Marais, and also on Rue Manin above Buttes-Chaumont. Yehudah brand is the best.

        4 Replies
        1. re: purpleceline

          Matzo is eaten and available all year round. Of course, during Passover the consumption of it increases many fold.

          1. re: purpleceline

            "Original" falafel is made with chickpeas, not fava beans." - I am sorry but that is incorrect. Falafel originaly came from Egypt where it is made with fava (or white broad) beans as the dish migrated up to "the fertile crescent" (Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan) chickpeas were substituted for white beans, the Israeli version of falafel adopted the local tradition (ref Claudia Roden: Middle Eastern Food).

            Lebovitz puts the Marais falafel houses into perspective: as David says Mi -Va-Mi is pretty good.

            Frenchgirl: if you want to use beans to make falafel Roden has a good recipe, she soaks dried beans for 24 hours, skins them if needed, and then minces them

            1. re: PhilD

              Thanks for all your replies. It seemed as though Chez Marianne was the only falafel joint open in the area on Saturday, which probably accounted for the 100+ people in the take-out window line-up. There was also a line-up for the restaurant, so in the end I didn't even get a falafel, more's the pity. If I had been alone I might have done the queue, but I took pity on my poor husband. Israel was amazing, stupidly I completely forgot about the matza and left with shopping bags full of things like big fat vanilla beans, and amazing spices. I did get the fava beans however, but I was surprised as I thought they were green, but they were brown. Maybe after they're soaked.... I will definitely try the Roden recipe, thanks for the tip.

              1. re: PhilD

                I guess I should define my "original"-- the OP was asking about *Jewish* style falafel, which is made with chickpeas. Of course, falafel is originally from other Arab countries, where it was made with fava beans. But what you'll get in Israel, or Paris, or any "jewish"-labeled falafel, is made with chickpeas.