Catherine, a friend of ours moved to Paris to edit Paris By Mouth, if you are not familiar–– check it out. Part of her job is to host food and wine tours in the city. Martin Lane and I recently went on a quick trip to Paris and we were fortunate to have Catherine take us around the Marche d'Aligre and surrounding neighborhood. Her in-depth knowledge of food and history made us see places we had visited before with fresh eyes and introduced us to gems that we had previously walked by not even knowing they existed!
A few of the many highlights:
We met at Ble Sucre a new to me patisserie/boulangarie that a former pastry chef from a 3 star michelin restaurant opened a few year ago. We got a memorable loaf of grainy bread with millet and flax seeds.
We walked the Promenade Plantee and elevated garden that is nearly 3 miles long and runs along abandoned raised railway tracks. The timing was perfect with spring foliage and flowers just emerging including white wisteria.
From there we dipped into the Marche d'Aligre and visited a few of Catherine's favorite spots in the market and surrounding square two of my favorites:
La Graineterie du Marche the oldest shop in the area selling grains for humans and birds, seeds to plant spices, a few kitchen tools... we left with some candies that were a precursor to the marshmallow with a slight anise flavor, a two sided old fashioned madeline mold and some arugula seeds that are already sprouting in our garden in DC.
Le Garde Manger an Alsacian shop where we stocked up on presents of jams–– rhubarb vanilla, strawberry mint and black pepper, green tomato...
We wandered around the market feasting on a variety of strawberries, gariguette which I learned were an early spring variety.
On our way to lunch Catherine took us to a small made in France shoe store, La Botte Gardiane another not to be missed new discovery.
From there a perfect low key lunch at a nearby wine bar, A La Renaissance.
Last stop of the morning was Alain Ducasse's new bean to bar chocolate factory, La Manufacture–– perfect!
Thank you Catherine.