A virtual gastronomic tour of the Rue Mouffetard
[To-die-for French Cheeses]
If you're a gastronomy junky, than a trip to Paris can't be complete without trotting down the "food market" on Rue Mouffetard. Well, it's really a street with many food stores and restaurants. And in the mornings and on weekends, makeshift stalls selling fresh vegetables and flowers are also set up on the sides and corners of the road. Here are a few foodie highlights I've come across, which you could look out for if you pay a visit yourself.
This buckwheat crepe comes from the Brittany region (Bretagne). The rough difference between a galette and a crepe is that galette is savory and crepe sweet. Most often served at home simply with a fried egg and ham, it is kind of a cross between comfort food and instant cooking.
Lots of them. Just use your creativity if you're making them. I've tasted a friend's version of salmon with zucchini and another version with pumpkin and squash with bits of ham. Here in the window of a tarte cafe, you have savoyarde, vegetarian, and grilled aubergine.
Hmmm, French cheese… For me, it's to die for. The past trip I've tasted some really good Comte. Also I got acquainted with a creamy Saint-Marcellin that is made with both goat's and cow's milk. If you wanna learn more, here's a great online resource with info on cheese pairing and cheese history.
My favorite kind is an aged Beaufort, made from raw cow's milk from the Savoie region in the Alps. Belonging to the family of French Gruyères (not Swiss), the 19th century French gastronome and writer Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin named Beaufort the "Prince of the Gruyeres".
(Beaufort photo and info courtesy of Frenchcheese.co.uk.)
Les Fruits de Mer
Stores dedicated to only seafood are easily spotted in Paris. Featured in this picture are Coquilles St. Jacques or what we call scallops en Anglais. Sea urchins, crabs, prawns, squids, and octupus... all the sea creatures you can name.
The Mouffetard has two specialty wine shops that I know of. If you could converse in a little French, you can ask the shopkeeper to recommend you one according to the region you fancy and the budget you have. They're usually helpful with that. This recent trip, I tasted a red from Vallée du Rhône, an excellent Cassis white from the coastal town in Provence, and a Chardonnay.