This weekend Paris hosted the largest food fair I've ever been to, with over 400 hundred artisanal vendors, producers, and artists of gourmet food & wine. The Salon Saveurs Des Plaisirs Gourmands was held in the 17th arrondissement (right next to us!!!) at porte de Chamberrett. We sampled wine, foie gras, apple cidre, vodka, cognac, cheese, chocolate, candy, pasta, and champagne from all over France for only 4 euros! This possibly was the first true bargain we've come across in Paris.
The most beautiful stall was created by Les Jardins de Morgane from Vauvert in the South of France, who had perfect little marzipan fruits and pastries displayed. They even had a barrel of marzipan bananas half peeled flecked with brown aging polka dots. I couldn't get over the meticulous perfection required to shape each item. I bought a little peach to take home and try (5 euros for one piece of fruit–tres chere!) and it didn't taste very good, but I'm not sure that it was really supposed to be eaten anyway. My husband was shocked that I actually bit into the miniture piece of art, but it just looked so juicy.
My husband and I are suckers for pinot noir so we tasted at the stall of the Caves du Palais, Michel Saban, Grands vins de Bourgogne. We justified our purchase of Nuits St. Georges 2002 and Beaune Premier Cru 2002 as Christmas presents for friends and family–and us too. The wine vendors tried to talk us into purchasing a limited production grand cru pinot noir, and after tasting it we found it hard to say no, but sometimes you need to cut your losses and walk away.
The saucisse and jambon stalls go on an on and we happily sampled different varieties from Basque country, South of France, Spain and more. My Cordon Bleu friends couldn't pass up the Pata Negra jambon (black shoe) and they purchased a half kilo. It keeps for years and just tastes better and better with age. The only downside is that you can't legally bring it into the U.S. so I guess they'll have to share it with me while they're here! So many different types of salami (saucisse): super dry, moist & peppered, chorizo, and even meat and cheese filled.
I don't normally eat foie gras because I think the process is inhumane, but the Groliere foie gras vendors were in such good spirits and so happy to share their product that I reluctantly decided to give it a try. Admittedly, it was delicious and my husband and our friends happily savored bite after bite. I stopped after the vendor joked with me that it was toad paste. My concious was having a hard enough time with it anyway. However, they have won many medals for their foie gras and pate and several items can be shipped back to the States. Unfortunately you can't ship the uncooked stuff home, but it's all delicious. foies gras groliere
No food fair would be complete without chocolate sampling. I tasted an incoyable range of different little chocolate treats including chocolate made with olive oil that has a surprisingly beautiful finish on the palette. I never thought that olive oil and chocolate would be a good pairing, but it works. Our friend's bebe, Etienne, ate the biggest chocolate macaroon that I have ever seen and saved a few tastes for later too!