A Local Moveable Feast: Notes From Paris - Modern Farmer

A Local Moveable Feast: Notes From Paris

France's capital has long been a culinary mecca -- but new ideas and new innovations are re-inventing the Parisian food scene.


In France, the pejorative phrase for French drip coffee, jus des chaussettes, translates literally to “sock juice.” Anselme Blayney, who co-owns the Paris coffee roaster Belleville, says this bad reputation is well deserved. “People here love sharing a moment at a cafe, but the stuff they’re actually drinking? One step above commodity coffee,” he says. That’s all changing, though, as a new wave of artisans introduces France to the specialty coffee movement. Belleville is leading the way, seasonally sourcing its beans from farms around the globe, roasting small batches by hand and providing them to the new crop of specialty cafes opening throughout Paris. The roaster even holds weekly coffee cuppings, a new and novel concept to most Parisians. “We’re still at the phase where we’re trying to educate, to create a dialogue,” says Blayney. “People are really intrigued.” – MF


The French love good food. But how hard are they willing to work for it? That question is posed with the advent of La Louve, set to open in the 18th arrondissement in Paris in 2015. La Louve is modeled after a renowned food co-op in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and will be the first-ever “working food co-op” in France.

Co-op members are required to work regular shifts, resulting in reduced labor costs, which translates into higher pay for farmers and better deals at the cash register.

The idea for La Louve was born in 2011 when Americans Tom Boothe and Brian Horihan became frustrated that in Paris, a gourmet capital, the highest quality foods are out of reach for many Parisians. So they launched La Louve Buyer’s Club in 2011 to start building relationships with local producers and began looking for locations. “The supermarket we wanted to shop at didn’t exist,” says Boothe, “so we decided to try to create it.” – Jeanne Carstensen


Wine. Cheese. Croissants. And Picard. Picard frozen food grocery stores are the latest thing from France that we wish we could import. This supermarket only sells frozen food, but frozen food so good that shoppers swarm there – and often. Their success – Picard has been around for 15 years – lies in the quality of their food, their emphasis on premium products and their creative collaborations with chefs. The French aren’t enthusiastic about much, so their unanimous overriding love for Picard’s organic vegetables, gourmet dinners of sliced stuffed salmon with scallop-and-hake mousse and molten chocolate cake is quite an endorsement. Picard is modern too – they label non-GMO items and engage with customers through recipe sharing. With almost 1,000 stores now in France, they are expanding to Italy, Spain and Belgium, and are rumored to be expanding overseas soon. Fingers crossed. – MF

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