Tuesday, November 16, 2010

La Grande Epicerie (oh how grande it was............)

After the Eiffel Tower visit, we were off to the next destination, La Grande Epicerie, located on the ground level of the Bon Marche.

I had heard tales of wonder and amazement.............and oh, the rumours were true! Truly, I was nearly rendered speechless as I walked into the store. I was expecting something smaller, I guess - the space was massive, the size of a good-sized grocery store. Wall to wall shelves of beautiful, high-end, eye candy..........in the form of food and food items. It was difficult to know where to start. We made our way towards the back of the store, the dairy section. The selection, the interesting products and packaging............amazing. Grabbed a container of banoffee pie, for starters. Saw egg cartons in easter colours, a section of baby vegetables, edible flowers, and stir fry veg kits that looked like works of art. And, Jones soda!!

The clientele of La Grande Epicerie are clearly foodies - this is no run-of-the-mill corner grocery store. Picture an olive display the size of entire deli section in one of our grocery stores - just olives! The ready-to-heat deli display was huge, with an amazing assortment of tantalizing dishes ready to take home and eat. Food from all over the world was represented - Asian potstickers, tandoori chicken, Turkish eggplant, honey-drenched Kataifi pastries.......it just never ended. We picked a container of eggplant caviar, a red pepper feta dip and a cous cous salad with yoghurt and chicken (so good!). We were given a sample of proscuitto that melted in your mouth......of course, we bought some.

There was a fabulous spice section, with many spices offered in bulk. One, of note, was mustard seeds for $25/kg. This is a crazy high price, for those not from the prairies where the seed is grown. For that price, the mustard wasn't even cleaned, as there were visible bits of debris.

The candy section was, not surprisingly, displayed elaborately. The cheese section contained so many treats for the eye, not just for the cheeses themselves, but for the packaging and decoration (I chose two goat cheeses). The produce displays looked like they came to life from a food photography shoot. A mushroom section to die for - with a massive section of beautiful chanterelles. We picked up some fresh figs and strawberries to go with the rest of our 'picnic' supper. I also snagged a container of marzipan cherries - complete with stems :)

For gifts, I picked up a couple jars of two-toned jam, raspberry on the bottom and peach on top. There were several items created just for picnics - a condiment set (which I bought) that had a tiny olive oil, balsamic, ketchup, mustard, salt & pepper. I also picked up a couple dozen tiny vinaigrettes, also for picnics. Too cute to pass up. Bought some crazy bowtie pasta, all from natural dyes (squid ink, tomato, turmeric, spinach), one that looked like licorice all sorts and one with pastel stripes. Knowing, full well, they were going to be a nightmare to transport back home. But, I could not resist.

I stopped by the patisserie section - the cakes (in small portion sizes) were works of art, everything looked absolutely perfect, many adorned with elaborate garnishes. I chose a mini Opera cake, a fruit/mousse cake that had a baby persimmon on top, and a chocolate cake for Dana. Macarons (lots, of course) and cupcakes were also there. Nearby the patisserie is the bakery - a myriad of artisan breads, baguettes, croissants.........

I picked up (had to, of course) yet another reusable shopping bag - it was only 15euros, I had to! In total we spent 142 euros..............my memories of La Grande Epicerie........priceless. This was my favourite experience of the trip (pre Le Cordon Bleu).

1 comment:

Penny McKinlay said...

I'm really enjoying reading about your trip to Paris. Thanks for sharing.