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Apr 9, 2011 02:25 PM

Double Crème de Gruyère in Paris?

DL has me fantasizing about this regional specialty. Does anyone know of a source in Paris? One obscure internet mention is Fromages et Detail at 101 rue Lecourbe, which may or may not be valid. Also a business by the name of DCdG on rue St. Denis. Any experiences?

(My husband will only chase so many wild geese in a day...)

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  1. Never seen any double crème de la Gruyère in Paris (double crème de gruyère would be, I suppose, a double-layer box of Vache qui Rit, which is another delight). I suppose my Swiss expat friend Denis who keeps raving about it would know if it were available. Or wouldn't.

    However if you look into the Turkish butcher shop/groceries on the lower part of rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, you'll find cartons of Kaymak, which is (don't anybody tell my Swiss friend that I wrote that) somewhat similar.

    Or better, when Marks & Spencer reopens a shop in Paris, which is supposed to happen next Fall, English double cream will also return.
    In the meantime there is always the Jersey double cream at La Grande Epicerie. Come to think of it, if there should be Gruyère double cream somewhere in Paris, I'd look there first.

    (I know I know that's not what you're asking for.)

    8 Replies
    1. re: Ptipois

      Good sense, as always, Pti. On the home front, what would happen if I took the best quality local creme fraiche and strained it through a tea towel as in making Greek style yogurt? No, once again, not the same, but, hmmmm, perhaps not bad?

      1. re: mangeur

        Totally different products and totally different tastes.
        Crème fraîche has lactic cultures whereas double cream, wherever it's from, is unfermented, and definitely in the family of double Jersey cream, kaymak, mascarpone, malai, and clotted cream.

        However, on the home front, as you say: not bad, obviously! I'm only concerned that the absence of caseine in crème fraîche would make it a different matter than yogurt and would make straining difficult. You'd be likely to have very little left in your cheesecloth since there wouldn't be any caseine molecules to hold the fat.

        The best naturally fermented crème fraîche is usually much thicker than the more common, artificially fermented type. Norman cream is very thick and yellowish, as you will notice. I have also seen very thick naturally fermented cream from Lorraine, the North or Auvergne. If you find this type, there's no need for straining, it is thick enough to use as any double cream on fruit or pastry.
        Also when you whip thick Norman cream you get the most incredible Chantilly ever, though it takes some elbow grease.

        So my advice would be: find the right stuff and don't strain it.

        1. re: Ptipois

          Yes. I now do understand the real differences re culture and non-culture. I have sampled and not loved several English double creams. I'll look for Norman cream and perhaps, down the road, realize that I need to go to the source.

          Many thanks for the tutorial.

        2. re: mangeur

          Needless to say, if you do find that Swiss double cream, do tell - I'm interested too.

          1. re: Ptipois

            Kaymak, and clotted cream are cooked. They are different from British or Swiss double cream which are not heated

            I've seen "double cream" in France, but only bought direct from farms.

            The crème crue that I've found in cheese shops, and that Souphie swears by, ALMOST fits the bill, but for me still retains a tint of sour lactic acid culture, tarnishing its sweetness. But perhaps I should try more.of them.

            10 years after closing their most profitable store in the world, M&S are coming back, aptlly on the plus moche autoroute du monde. I'm lovin' it.

            1. re: vielleanglaise

              Any fresh cream left alone (crème crue) will ferment naturally, as does the Norman cream I referred to above. It is not identical to crème fraîche in the way that no culture was added but it does develop a sour taste after a short time.

              Hence my categorization of kaymak and double cream in the same family - creams in which the fermentation process has been stopped somehow. Now I do not know what process is used on English double cream or Gruyère cream to prevent them from fermenting, but I'd suspect some heating or pasteurization is applied or they would not be stable.

              1. re: Ptipois

                I used to spend my summers in a village in the chataignerie in the Cantal called Morjou - around which is centred the brilliant cookery book of the same name by Peter Graham, an English writer. We used to go to a farm there to get "sweet" double cream. It was definitely unpasteurised.

                In the UK, while "extra thick double cream" is thickened by heating, regular double cream is not - although it may, or may not be pasteurised. Par ailleurs, this is by far the best cream for whipping.

                This cream question is most perplexing. I'd like to find sour cream - which I buy in Tuscany (!) (along side great panna da montare) - but not in Paris. I'd also like to get hold of smetna.

                1. re: vielleanglaise

                  Sour cream is impossible to find in Paris. Now perhaps a visit to Gastronomia or any other Russian shop is due, but I have never located any. I managed to make some at home from raw cream and yogurt, but never tried again.

                  There is definitely an ambiguous aspect to the term "crème double". In the French tradition it just means thick cream, as opposed to crème fleurette. Both, before refrigeration, soured a bit after a while and this was considered normal. When double cream needed to be stabilized and not get sour, it was briefly boiled. After WWII when industrialized food took over it got all confused because crème fraîche épaisse (which used to be "crème double" if you follow me) had lactic cultures added and so it is not the same product as the old crème fraîche/double cream which used to be identical but no longer are. And double cream disappeared from modern alimentation in France, except in places like Lyon or Auvergne where it was still the old stuff: unboiled, sweet and unacidic for a couple of days and then sourer and thicker as time went by.

                  Now it seems to be as such: cream is now nearly always pasteurized. When pasteurized it does not get sour. So lactic cultures are added to reproduce the taste of traditional crème fraîche (which you may still find as crème crue). Crème liquide/crème fleurette bought in cartons and plastic bottles at the supermarket is also pasteurized but with no cultures added so it keeps its sweet taste. Sometimes you'll come across unpasteurized crème fleurette (crème alsacienne for instance) but this sours rather quickly.

                  As for double cream in the UK, regular double cream should sour after a few days if unpasteurized, just like the old French version of double cream/crème fraîche, but if it does not sour at all then it's not only pasteurized but it also does not have lactic cultures added, which seems to be the main difference with crème fraîche épaisse in France.

                  Which is why I put different types of creams in two categories, not according to their fabrication (cooked / not cooked) but according to their taste: in the sour category, crème fraîche, sour cream, smetana and crème crue more than 2 or 3 days old. In the sweet category, the UK double creams (at least the ones I used to buy at M&S, these never soured), the cooked creams like kaymak, malai, clotted creams, etc.

                  I agree about double cream being the best for whipping since the best whipped cream I ever had was made from thick Norman cream.

                  The question is indeed very perplexing and re-reading myself I'm not even sure I make complete sense, but I suspect that what makes it perplexing is the industrial addition (or not) of lactic cultures and means used to stabilize the cream (pasteurization, carraghenanes, alginates, etc.). When these began to be used the old denominations were not changed so it is sometimes difficult to know what kind of cream you're dealing with.

                  As for the crème double de la Gruyère, I have no idea whether it is pasteurized or not. Seeing that it's sold in cartons I suppose it is, at least when sold outside of its region.

      2. Do you mean the product of Gruyeres (Suisse)? Here's a website:
        I've enjoyed it immensely in the region. Memorable at the Beau Rivage in Lausanne and at cafes in Crans sur Sierre with blackberries and with raspberries.

        6 Replies
        1. re: amrx

          Exactly. Have you a source in Paris?

          1. re: mangeur

            I've never had it outside of Switzerland. I would guess that it doesn't travel well and/or the supply is rather limited.

            1. re: mangeur

              It seems that the fromagerie at 101 rue Lecourbe does carry double cream from the Gruyère. It also sounds like the supply flies away quickly.
              You should also buy the meringues that go with it.

              1. re: Ptipois

                "You should also buy the meringues that go with it." Indeed! Will try to snag the cream first.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  101, rue Lecourbe does not have it today nor will they have it . Or maybe I was shown into the dreaded English room. ;)

                  1. re: mangeur

                    Should you want to try:

            2. David Lebovitz, on his blog, the other day, had a post about this.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Nancy S.

                Hence my DL reference. Why can't he understand that I would be a perfect baggage handler for him. I'd even iron shirts and do undies. Well, maybe the latter...

              2. I have had keymak in Istanbul and it is indeed a delight. Plain, thick cream with honey poured over it and served with crusty bread. Simple and wonderful.

                My immediate reaction to the first bite of keymak is that it strongly resembled marscapone cheese. So --- ? Possibly marscapone would be a good substitution?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Roland Parker

                  No need for a substitution. As Ptipois writes above, the Turkish shops on the rue du Fbg St Denis stock kaymac.

                2. FOUND and BOUGHT at 31, rue Cler today.

                  8 Replies
                    1. re: Ptipois

                      Nap time. Tomorrow sinful breakfast. Sadly, this is UHT, but better than none.

                      1. re: mangeur

                        Does UHT mean ultrapasturized?

                      2. re: Ptipois

                        Just now enjoying at breakfast's end. It's good. Very , very good. Gotta go. Husband has discovered how good it is.......

                        1. re: mangeur

                          Did you have it with a meringue like DL suggests it ? I am very curious to try this (although I'd had to make my own meringues, never found a good one at my local bakeries...)

                          1. re: Rio Yeti

                            Yes. Actually, in haste I settled for a giant meringue which we cut into chunks and slathered with the cream and...Oh, my...... :))). That's both a very happy face and a foreshadowing of the double chins this habit could lead to.