One of my favourite spots in Paris and a must visit every time! Now at a second location! Disneyland for foodies!
La Grande Épicerie de Paris very recently moved to the Rive Droite, opening its twin store on November 9th in the lively rue de Passy. Curated selection, generosity, expertise, authenticity, quality, rarity and passion: the very spirit of La Grande Épicerie is sublimated in this new location. A genuine ode to delicacies, the place provides a wonderful showcase for various products – from the day-to-day to the more gourmet ones – and unique savoir-faire. Each floor has its own surprises and there are several tasting counters. The top floor is entirely dedicated to the restaurant, which has been entrusted to the young and talented chef Beatriz Gonzalez.
ENTERING THE PLACE DU MARCHÉ: SAVORS & SAVOIR-FAIRE
The store has two vegetal façades facing rue de Passy and avenue Paul Doumer, respectively, on which plants such as mint, thyme and rosemary have been sparsely planted. They provide a foretaste of what is to be expected – the freshness and savor of a genuine marketplace where fruit and vegetable stalls stretch from one end to the other. Tips, advice and recipes are posted on large poles decorated with gourmet illustrations: the best tomato variety to use for tomato coulis, a revamped leek vinaigrette recipe, Today’s best choice, etc. Breads and pastries are prepared every day by La Grande Épicerie’s artisan bakers. The fishmonger, who stands on the same side of the stall as the customer, will provide recommendations; at the butcher’s is an amazing variety of selected cuts, rotisserie, as well as a matured meat cellar: everything highlights the finest skills and expertise. To name but one product on offer: the Txogitxu Galician meat, which the greatest chefs in the world consider the most tender and delicious red meat in the world.
ON THE UNDERGROUND FLOOR, UNDER THE ARCHES : WINES, CHEESES & HAMS, EXCEPTIONAL ALLIES
The wine shares the cellar area with its best allies. One can walk through a forty-meter-long room where wines, champagnes and other types of liquor lead to exceptional vintages, presented in a little arched vault where rare bottles seem to levitate in a halo of golden light. The “Iberian” section offers a wide range of hams, including remarkable black hams such as the famous Patanegra from the Bellota-Bellota maison, the Bigorre black ham produced in partnership with the Padova consortium, Pascal Flori’s refined Corsican ham, and the Italian Caserte ham. Cold cuts, quiches, pies, tarts, puff pastries and vol-au-vent freshly baked and prepared by La Grande Épicerie’s chefs, carefully aged cheeses from all regions and countries… Everything here will wake your senses and can be tasted on the premises, in the warm and intimate atmosphere of a place dedicated to authentic products.
ON THE FIRST FLOOR : AN ORIGINAL MERCHANDISING OF FINE PRODUCTS FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Back to daylight on the first floor! The space, with its lofty ceiling, is lit with sunlight from large windows that look over the lively street. This is the place for sweet or salty products, from around the corner or around the world. Tall sideboards inspired from traditional kitchens are lined up on a floor made up of wooden cobbles. You will find a section dedicated to fine food; an amazing range of jams piled up by the hundreds and displayed within an alcove of a red berry color; an irresistible chocolate section (the “tablettothèque”) containing flavorful chocolates from the finest artisans; very much like the “water wall” in the Rive Gauche store, the Rive Droite disposes of an oil wall and a beer wall – a genuine invitation to travel; an enjoyable crisps section (the “chipsothèque”); a coffee and tea barista serving freshly roasted coffee; a multitude of tasting counters… The area dedicated to gourmet products offers wild salmons such as the highly demanded French Adour smoked salmon produced by the Barthouil family, seven iconic brands of caviar and a wide variety of savors, textures and grains, nine outstanding taramasalatas, including the famous lobster and truffle one. White Alba’s truffle, black truffle, white boudin with truffles, mille feuille of foie gras with truffles – the valued mushroom is the source of an amazing array of inspirations. We close this short repertoire with one last rarity: the extremely smooth and unctuous Sousa & Labourdette foie gras…
NOBLE MATERIALS & CREATIVE INTERIOR DESIGN
The character of the place is rooted in a desire to enhance authenticity, which is apparent in the range of products on offer, in the artisans’ expertise, and in the quality of the materials and furniture choices, which echo, among other things, the food safes of old.
Craftsmanship and traditional skills have been reintroduced with crystalline glass prisms in the dome, bricks in the vault, end grain wooden cobbles, stone tiles, ceramic tiles which come in a myriad of colors… The famous artist Mathilde Jonquière has created vast figurative frescoes that can be found at the baker’s and the fishmonger’s. The creations symbolize and unite the culinary specialties: shoals of fish for the fish shops, fruit pies for the cake shop and bread ears for the baker shop. With circular motifs and interlacing patterns, these unique pieces painted in matching shades illustrate the world of the different trades. The marble counters are striated with different colors – gold like the crust of bread at the baker’s, Calacatta viola at the butchers…
Along this gourmet tour is an opportunity to admire a few showpieces such as a Venetian cask – a gigantic oak barrel that can contain up to 4,000 liters of wine – that has been split in two; three Ardennes oak trunks over one hundred years old are located in the basement area, and an oversized Mauviel brass cauldron is used to display a whole range of jams…
UNDER THE GLASS DOME : THE MEETING PLACE FOR GOURMET
Inspired recipes, a purposeful cuisine and a fresh approach: these attributes are characteristic of Beatriz Gonzalez, chef of two Parisian restaurants – and now three with this new place. The daughter of two Mexican restaurant owners, Gonzalez moved to Paris at the age of 18 to learn the trade. She perfected her teaching in the most renowned restaurants before creating her own with her husband. She tends to favor a form of traditional cuisine boosted by sharp citrus savors. This hint of tanginess is very much linked to her culture and defines her own style. Her favorite dishes are instruments whose roles evolve with her inspiration – which expresses itself in the multitude of ingredients she uses, leading to an explosion of flavors through complex and refined gustatory and visual creations.
The restaurant’s decor reaffirms this longing for the fresh and the green, which can be found in the fabrics, ceramics and marble, seems to make its way from the vegetal façade towards the interior of the restaurant. Pierre Paulin and Kofod-Larsen chairs, VeniceM ceiling lights in mouth-blown Murano glass, and Piet Hein Eek tables, to name but a few, create a harmonious and subtly cadenced look.
As for the historical dome – a stately central piece made up of more than 2,300 prisms of extra clear glass – it shines in all its gleaming splendor and provides sunlight to the whole store.
There is no doubt that one finds here the atmosphere so enjoyed at Rive Gauche! The clear outline of the escalators, an area flooded with sunlight, unique products and flavors, in short a gourmet tour, a stimulation of all the senses which makes the experience of La Grande Épicerie de Paris so extraordinary.
As Xmas holidays approach, I can’t think of a more appropriate place to visit! Enjoy!