Category Archives: specialty food shops

Travel Post: Paris, with Bois de Boulogne, Saint Denis, and some museums

So.  After my perfect Paris chocolate day (which still makes me smile whenever I think of it – it really was an absolute gift), I realised that Wednesday could not POSSIBLY live up to the same level of Parisian wonderfulness, and that was OK.  Really, one fantasy-Paris day in a visit should be enough for anyone.

On Wednesday, therefore, I decided to get started on my project of walking through as many arondissements in Paris as I could.  Having already explored the Tuileries Gardens (before getting distracted by chocolate), I took the Metro to the Place de Concorde, and began heading westward along the Champs Élysées.

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The Champs actually starts out quite leafy and green, but pretty quickly becomes a very busy and rather touristy and expensive shopping strip.  There is even a McDonalds, which I thought was a little sad.  I walked along, and snuck into a FNAC to pick up my concert tickets for later in the week and continued my approach to the Arc de Triomphe.

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Eating Good Things In Paris

I am, in fact, still writing my travel diaries, but adding pictures on this laptop is an absolute pain in the neck, and they still come out sideways half the time, so I probably won’t post any more of those updates until I’m in Australia again.  (And have dealt with the 16 ungrouped independents on the Senate ballot, aargh.)

But since tonight is my last night in Paris, I thought it was timely to write a post about the best meals I’ve had here, and also about the best patisserie I’ve had here.  I will add photographs at a later date, but good food information is always urgent, and now you will know why I will be radio silent until after the election, probably.

Edited on October 14 – I have finally added the photos!  Sorry this took so long.

Excellent Meals In Paris

I have to admit, I have found some terrible meals in Paris.  I had quite the run of bad luck last week, culminating in Café Panorama in Montmartre, which managed the brilliant combination of really poor service and really terrible food (I didn’t know you could make steak that tough and dry), with the waiter then getting terribly offended that I didn’t stay for dessert, even though I’d paid for it.

But I have also had some amazing meals.

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Travel Post – Paris with chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate

I was going to be good and write about Bath today, and I still might, but first, I must tell you about the absolutely excellent day I spent in Paris.

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Which is still quite underwater, incidentally.seine2

There are those who feel that I have an idealised view of Paris, and they are probably quite right, but honestly, today lived up to and beyond my wildest chocolate-related Paris fantasies, and this post might be a little incoherent because I am very full of chocolate right now (and not of much else, since it must be confessed that my essays into healthy, non-chocolate related food today were rather disappointing).

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Basically, I got to spend a really quite significant portion of the day discussing chocolate, in French.  With attractive men.  Who were offering me free chocolate to taste.  And they were really good chocolates. Continue reading

Review: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Rather Long Chocolate Review

I have never seen so much chocolate in the same place in my life.  In fact, I may never have seen that much chocolate over my entire life to date, though this is harder to judge.

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When Hannah first started talking about chocolates from the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie a few months ago, I was intrigued.  For one thing, the flavours sounded fascinating.  For another thing, I’ve never been to a chocolaterie before.  And for a third thing… didn’t my former chiropractor move to the Yarra Valley and start a chocolate business?

Yes, yes he did.  (Hi Paul!)

The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie is a really gorgeous space in a really gorgeous location.  It’s situated in Yarra Glen, which seems to be a bit of winery area in the Yarra Valley, and they are working on growing more of their ingredients, so there is a budding orchard on the long hill leading down to the dam.

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The Deli, Coburg, or why I can’t be trusted alone in a gourmet food shop

It all started so innocently.  I thought it would be nice to get some good pasta, and maybe some spicy sausage for carbonara.

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The rigatone and orecchiete were, of course, sensible pasta options, and I can never resist giant shells when I see them, because you can’t get those at the supermarket.  And really, giant squid ink pasta tubes are an *invitation*, don’t you think?  Already I find myself dreaming of inside-out tuna casserole.

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Adventures with Ingredients: La Latteria and Gewürzhaus

I had the day off today, which meant it was a day to go exploring interesting food shops!  After I went to that cheesemaking workshop, my father mentioned that his grandfathers both used to make cheese (and that, in fact, Nonna used to make ricotta) and that one of his grandfathers was the village cheesemaker.  He mentioned a kind of special mozzarella which has a knob of fresh butter in the middle, which sounded fascinating enough that I asked my cheesemaking tutor about it… and she said “Oh yes, that’s called ‘Burrino’, and there’s a shop in Carlton called La Latteria which makes it…”

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Good Food Day

Quite a nice food day today.  For one thing, my copy of Hermé’s Macarons arrived this morning, so I got to spend a significant portion of my day at work being an Evil Temptress and making people drool over both the macarons and the cookbook.

Then I came home to discover that my parcel from The Curious Chocolatier had arrived.  Oh, my.  Continue reading

Adventures with Ingredients – Gewürzhaus

Somehow, I missed knowing that there was a specialty herb and spice shop in Lygon Street.  Well, there is, and it’s called Gewürzhaus, and I’ve just been there.  It’s absolutely marvellous.  It’s also completely and utterly overwhelming – overwhelming is an understatement, actually, as I don’t know how to describe how I’m currently feeling.  I’m sort of lurching around going ‘The smells!  The smells!’ (just call me Quasinaso), and contemplating whether plain boiled potatoes with nothing on them might be a bit too rich, overspiced and exotic for dinner.  I didn’t touch anything, but my hands smell of cinnamon and vanilla and paprika and truffle and I don’t think it will ever stop.

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Adventures with ingredients – Casa Iberica!

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 3.29.57 AMI think I have mentioned elsewhere that I live in the Moreland region, an area which has always had a pretty big immigrant population – mostly Italian, Greek and Turkish, but with a fair scattering of people from India, North Africa and the Middle East.   But before this post goes off on a tangent about how much I love my little corner of Melbourne and the fact that it’s so friendly and vibrant and you can hear half a dozen languages spoken on any street corner and how this makes me happy in so many ways, I’ll attempt to get back to my point, which is that this is a fantastic area in which to shop for any ingredients used in the Mediterranean, Middle-East or North Africa.  It is not, however, a particularly good place to shop for ingredients for Latin-American cuisine, which is why, after reading yet another American cookbook which calls for ingredients I’ve yet to see in Australia (their supermarkets are clearly very different from ours), I asked my lovely Mexican friend at work if she had any idea where I could find chipotle peppers in adobo.

My friend immediately directed me to Casa Iberica, a family-run business in the Latin Quarter of Fitzroy, which specialises in foods from all over Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. It really has everything – sausages and cheeses and tapas, breads and portuguese tarts and tortillas, biscuits, cakes and fruit pastes (imported from around the world or made in Australia to traditional recipes), pickles, sauces, dried and tinned beans and fish, olive oils, vinegars, jams, sauces, spice mixes, and countless varieties of dried chillis, as well as the powdered kind.  And cookbooks.  And paella pans and other essential bits of kitchenware.

Oh yes, and they also have chipotle in adobo.  Seriously, if you live in Melbourne and haven’t been to this shop, you should go and have a look at their website right now – I’ll wait.

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