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One day in Paris

dagoose Mar 13, 2013 08:48 AM

If you had one day in Paris, completely devoted to walking around and eating bits and bites all over the place where would you go? Less about lunch here or dinner there, more about the best pastry here, amazing oyster there kind of thing...

  1. l
    lemarais Apr 14, 2013 01:34 PM

    I dunno, I've never been thrilled with Ice Cream in Paris (or anywhere in France)-- even the highly touted Berthillon.

    Perhaps it's the closeness of Italy, and the Gelato. Granted, a different product, milk, not cream, but somehow the IC in France never approaches the flavor intensity of gelato.

    Now the pastry, however, just BLOWS away the Italian counterparts. And that goes for just about any patisserie!

    1 Reply
    1. re: lemarais
      o
      oferl Apr 17, 2013 10:26 PM

      Agree with that - especially because of many places in the world that have taken in my opinion ice cream to a more interesting level let's call it, more natural and more flavorful and interesting in combinations and sometime even mixed in goodies that are innovative and great by themself (and i don't mean an oreao cookie :-)).
      I will take anyday a more "homey" style like BiRite in SF or Rome's Fatamorgana daring flavors gelato, over Amorino, Grom or Berthillon, which i guess are the main "icons" available in Paris.. But eventually, each one's taste counts as always..

    2. l
      Londonlinda Mar 18, 2013 04:17 AM

      Ice cream (salted caramel or chocolate, or a sorbet) at Berthillon.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Londonlinda
        s
        Steve Mar 18, 2013 08:29 AM

        The chocolate with orange peel at Berthillon is expensive and worth it.

        1. re: Steve
          o
          oferl Mar 18, 2013 10:55 PM

          The last 2-3 years, my last couple of visits to Berthillon were pretty bad or medicore, i don't say that the place cannot produce excellent ice cream at any given time, but for sure the level is inconsistent now and not what used to be years ago. Actually, not sure that it deserves a special visit those days, with all the pastry options..

          1. re: oferl
            s
            Steve Mar 19, 2013 05:25 AM

            My experience was from August 2011. I had heard downhill or ho-hum rumors for years, but they proved not to be true, at least in my limited case.

            I didn't plan on going to Berthillon, but I was shut out from summer hiatus at Le Bac à Glaces, and Berthillon was oh so convenient. For the OP, definitely worth deciding for yourself if you are in that neck of the woods.

            1. re: Steve
              o
              oferl Mar 20, 2013 02:07 AM

              Hi Steve, i passed at Berthillon last time exactly a year ago :-) Have so much good sentimates to the place from many years ago, and found the ice cream there in last visits really "lacking", maybe here and there some flavors are better, but some things like icy bits and unpleasent heavy cream feel are annoying, nebermind how good flavors can be, altough they also were not so impressing. Maybe making ice cream at home "spoiled" me, but i think that anyway Berthillon today is not a "made from the heart" peoduct, don't know about Paris but better ice creams i found last years in newer and less "traditional" stores.

              1. re: Steve
                dagoose Mar 20, 2013 07:42 AM

                Sad to hear, as I'd heard such great things about Berthillon. I had a few other ice cream spots on my list, and will add Le Bac a Glaces and mostly just see what I'm near at any given point. Thanks for all the insight!

                1. re: dagoose
                  n
                  Nancy S. Apr 12, 2013 10:36 AM

                  I just had an excellent cone from the "original" Bertillion -- vanille et chocolat. The vanilla tastes, as is should, like frozen creme anglaise and the chocolate like frozen ganache. Getting it from the original makes a difference.

                  1. re: Nancy S.
                    s
                    Steve Apr 12, 2013 02:07 PM

                    Good point. I saw many signs in shops selling Berthillon ice cream. Are they all serving it at the right temperature? Properly handled?

                    1. re: Steve
                      n
                      Nancy S. Apr 14, 2013 10:26 AM

                      The temperature at the "other" places is colder, and it comes from a more industrial source. I only have choc. and van., but I tasted my husband's pear and raspberry and both were excellent. For me, it's the "best" ice cream in Paris -- I've tried the competition, and often compromise for the sake of geography, but Bertillion is usually worth a detour.

                    2. re: Nancy S.
                      o
                      oferl Apr 12, 2013 02:37 PM

                      I was talking about the original, never had Berthillon from another spot in the city. For sure ice cream level can change from batch to batch, day to day, my last 2 expiriences were very meh.. There is nothing like good home ice cream, so maybe it's just me :-) Had a good surprise here and there like with Berthillon raspberry and rose water sorbet, but that's it. I think that they used to source the sorbet fruit pastes from Boiron - so it is really hard to ruin very good stuff to begin with, too easy in my opinion and not impressed with that anymore..

                      1. re: oferl
                        ChefJune Apr 15, 2013 11:22 AM

                        Interesting discussion. I quite like the Berthillon ice creams I've had, but find the sorbets sickeningly sweet.

                2. re: oferl
                  l
                  Londonlinda Apr 20, 2013 09:07 AM

                  The replies to my posting on Berthillon struck ice into my heart: could the wonderful ice cream be going downhill? However, a trip through Paris en route to Switzerland allowed me enough time this week to swing by the original Berthillon and the salted caramel was just as delicious as ever. A couple of places in London make it but it's not even close.

                  1. re: Londonlinda
                    p
                    Ptipois Apr 20, 2013 10:05 AM

                    No, it's not going downhill and is not showing any signs of doing so. It is the same as ever: 1. some flavors are better than others, 2. seasonality has its importance (don't order fraise des bois or melon in December for instance), 3. most importantly, Berthillon is a definite style of ice-cream, and now that other styles have multiplied in Paris (mostly the creamier, softer Italian style or the richer, sweeter American style), some people may like them better or have gotten used to them, which makes them less likely to appreciate Berthillon.
                    In my book it is still the best of all, hands down.

                    1. re: Ptipois
                      o
                      oferl Apr 20, 2013 09:59 PM

                      I'm sure that i cannot argue with your countless expiriences at the place :-) Unfourtanatly as i wrote in the past, my last visits, especially the last one, included ice cream with ice crystals probably due to improper handling, remaining unpleasent creamy feeling and "unkown" sweet like hell sorbet flavors, really bad expirience by any mean for me in an ice cream parlor.. Service on the other hand that last time, was the nicest i ever got there "-)
                      But i guess every place can have days, and more important maybe your point no. 1 is critical, altough i think it is not the best of signs for a place.. Point 2 i'm also a bit not sure about relevancy, but i guess that probably even fruit pastes may have better times or being kept for long etc. ? Cause i'm pretty much sure nothing is done at Berthillon with fruits from scratch. But again - i don't have the privilege to sample the place much.

                      1. re: oferl
                        p
                        Ptipois Apr 21, 2013 01:42 AM

                        I live a 20-minute walk away from Berthillon and I've been in the neighborhood from age 11 to 24 then from 32 to, um, now, beyond my 50th birthday. I have been a regular at Berthillon since my early teens, and I can tell you what things have changed in the meantime:

                        - Sometime in the early or mid-80s, other cafés on the island have started carrying Berthillon ice creams (for the unhappy pilgrims who found the flagship closed or weren't willing to wait in a 50-yard long line). I always found them satisfactory substitutes.

                        - Sometime in the 90s they opened a salon de thé, in which I was always surprised to find a table after a short wait, given the quality of the coupes and sundaes.

                        Aside from that I'll maintain what I wrote above, Berthillon represents the old-fashioned style of French ice cream at its best, and no my point no. 1 is not critical, the fact that some flavors are better than others is not something we in France would consider a flaw. Just the reality of a house that has plenty of different ice creams to offer. Also consistency throughout the four seasons would be considered dubious. We're not in a "best of best" mentality here.

                        Considering that, I think Berthillon still is the very best ice cream maker in Paris, in spite of its flaws or maybe even because of them, and who cares about a few ice crystals; this is artisanal ice cream. And it has always been that way.

                        I have no idea of what you're referring to by "sweet like hell sorbet flavors", for I always tend to order the same: vanilla, coconut, creole, nougat au miel, pistachio, mango, pear, pêche de vigne, melon, raspberry, and they're always OK.

                        What is the "unpleasant creamy feeling"? Can't figure that one out.

                        1. re: Ptipois
                          o
                          oferl Apr 21, 2013 02:38 AM

                          When i was 20 something, i took my sister to a sweet 16 birthday present trip around europe :-) It was early 90s i think, and we entered the Salon do the, a grumpy faced waiter brought us the most amazing apricot and melon sorbets, and a great chocolate and vanilla ice creams, nothing close to what i had before. The apricot sorbet taste did not leave me till today, life changing for sure..
                          Well, 20 years later, apricot sorbet last year was not even a shadow, and the prune armagnac that left some good memories also, was problematic in texture, leaving unpleasent fat coating like feeling on tonge, it happeans with excessive fat content in ice cream, sometimes also preparation causes that or quite lousy emulsifier use etc., not sure what was the case, but in general it is high fat content.. It was the first time i threw away Berthillon ice cream.
                          Btw do you know if in the far past, there used to be commercial sorbet and/or sherbets, especially melon and another flavor i don't remember, that used to carry Berthillon name ? I'm pretty much sure i had something like that in the past, even not at France.. But it sounds a bit too adventurus for the brand, of course familiar with it being sold at points around Paris even many years ago, i think it still available today here and there..

                          1. re: oferl
                            p
                            Ptipois Apr 21, 2013 06:21 AM

                            Do you mean the items Berthillon sells directly at the original house, and possibly in other shops? Berthillon has always been an artisan ice-cream and sorbet maker that supplied a few cafés and restaurants in Paris, plus even fewer selling points, and it never embraced semi-industrialization for a larger distribution. That, I believe, has not changed much in recent years. The practice may have receded, since there are more challengers on the market than there used to be and fewer people choose to carry Berthillon products at home, even if consuming on the spot is still a very big thing.

            2. l
              lemarais Mar 14, 2013 09:18 AM

              The hot chocolate and the salted caramels at Jacques Genin, near République. OMG.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lemarais
                y
                yanks26dmb Mar 15, 2013 02:25 PM

                Is it possible to get *any* pastries from Jacques Genin anymore? Can an order be placed?

                1. re: yanks26dmb
                  l
                  lemarais Mar 16, 2013 06:49 AM

                  There was recent news that he is cutting back on pastry and concentrating on the chocolate and salted caramels. (I can't say that without salivating!) But great pastry is ubiquitous in Paris...

                  http://parisbymouth.com/jacques-genin...

                  1. re: yanks26dmb
                    s
                    Steve Mar 18, 2013 08:27 AM

                    You can sit down and eat in the tea salon at JG, so if they are doing the millefeuilles, it is a highly worthwhile experience.

                    Plus, I would be tempted to pre-order a heavenly lemon basil tart if I could get it back to my hotel room (safely and unconsumed).

                    And I must admit the tarragon or rosemary versions sound intriguing. When's the next time you'd ever get to have one of those? Worth a phone call I think.

                2. John Talbott Mar 13, 2013 01:37 PM

                  Le marché des enfants rouges; Le marché Saint-Quentin or Batignolles or up and down St Dominique or the Rue Paul Bert or, or, or.........
                  So many places, so little time.
                  Happy hunting!

                  1. ChefJune Mar 13, 2013 10:27 AM

                    mmmhmmm One day, walking around tasting, eh? Let's see.

                    Oteiza (Blvd St. Michel)for Basque charcuterie (and foie gras, bien sur); Laurent DuBois in the Place Maubert for cheeses; Patrick Roger for chocolate (Blvd St. Germain). These are all quite near to each other. Then I'd like some mocha macarons from Maison du Chocolat, there's one not too far from the original Lionel Poilane bakery for some butter cookies and an apple tartlet.. Oysters? L'Ecume St. Honore for a few violettes with rye bread.

                    How's that for a start?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ChefJune
                      dagoose Mar 13, 2013 10:59 AM

                      Oh, Chef June, that was EXACTLY what I was looking for! basque charcuterie and foie gras? Followed by cheeses? oh, I cannot wait!

                      1. re: ChefJune
                        o
                        oferl Mar 13, 2013 11:05 AM

                        Amen to that :-) I would have added to that, altough not exactly same area but very "walkable", if i'm not mistaken - Carl Marletti in the 5th, Dans Led Landes seems to be close also, Chez Hamadi according to my notes, did not try it, Un Dimanche a Paris, Craperie Genia in Rue De La Harpe which is cheap and simple and i liked, i guess there might be other small place in this street, Sadaharu Aoki small shop i think still in 6th, of course Laduree, Pierre Herme, Josephine Chez Dumont, if day relevan a visit to orgenic market in Marché du Boulevard Raspail is very nice with some ok stuff to grab on way.. And we can continue :-) crossing to the 7th is easy there, with le bon marche, hugo and victor, Barthelemy, La Pâtisserie des Rêves ... Fun stuff..

                        1. re: oferl
                          ChefJune Mar 13, 2013 12:59 PM

                          that would be Josephine, Chez Dumonet. (One of my favorite restaurants of Paris :) )

                      2. d
                        don515 Mar 13, 2013 09:24 AM

                        Michel Chaudun chocolates tiny square truffes you eat with a toothpick! Not far from the tower and they do travel well eso this time of year...

                        http://www.francetoday.com/articles/2...

                        DC

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: don515
                          s
                          Steve Mar 18, 2013 08:17 AM

                          The pavé at Michel Chaudun. Buy a box and eat one wherever you go.

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