31 May 2010

Paris Day 4

Continued from Paris Day 3.

We did take the Eurostar to Paris and on our last day, I had a few more things on my list to tick off before going home.

One was to go to the food market on rue Mouffetard. Not that I had anything in mind that I wanted to buy, but I love to wander around in food markets and this one was really lovely. We arrived fairly early in the morning with the intention of getting breakfast there, but my schedule was busy and we decided against sitting down.

The market is not too big, but had a good variety of shops and I'll definitely go back and spend a bit longer there.

We then rushed off to Poilâne on 8 rue du Cherche-Midi. It's well hidden away, but well worth going to. The tiny shop had several shelves full of their famous signature loaf, a few pretty looking pastries and some other bread in the back. At the entrance I saw other worshippers pressing their noses against the window glass.


And so I entered into the temple of bread with Lundulph in tow. It smelt wonderful and I wish I could have bought a sample of everything.

But instead, I asked for one of the breads, a pain au chocolat and a chausson aux pommes and weaseled off to the counter and the little basket of punitions, which I knew were there for the customers to try. They are little butter biscuits and punitions mean punishments, the story is shown in this interview with Dorie Greenspan. The bread is sold by the kilo and my loaf came in at just over 2 kg. I was tempted to buy a bag of punitons as well, but decided to leave that for next time as with so many things on this trip already.

The pain au chocolat was a bit on the greasy side and it didn't help that it got a bit squashed by the massive bread in my bag. Lundulph is partial to apple turnovers and that's what he had - a chausson aux pommes, which again was a bit on the greasy side. The one he had at patisserie Paul outside Forum Les Halles was much better.

We had our breakfast sitting in front of Notre Dame, then walked on past it and on to Il Saint-Louis, which I'd also missed in my previous visit. This is a very nice place, beautiful houses and shops and reminded me very much of Gamla Stan in Stockholm on a sunny Summer's day.

I had some vague hopes that Berthillon would have just opened and not have a massive queue outside. Because I wanted to try some of the famous ice creams. Sadly it was closed, so we completed our round of the island and went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. Next time, the first place to go will be Berthillon, even if I have to queue up for half an hour or so.

Well home, we opened our suitcase to unpack and everything smelt of bread, as I'd put it in there, it was quite heavy to carry.


I had to have a sit-down after slicing the bread, the best thing would have been to ask them to slice it in the shop, but it would have to last, so I bought it whole. I froze most of it, but we had a few slices in the first few days after coming home and this is indeed a wonderful bread that's definitely worth its reputation.

The crust is thick, sour tasting and crunchy-chewy, while the inner crumb has no sourness to it at all. No extreme holes, but not too dense, it is very good with pretty much anything on it. We've certainly tried it with all the different jams we have, I had it with Leerdamer cheese and chicken liver and wild mushroom paté. Lundulph had it with ham and just plain with butter. It was fantastic and very much worth lugging back home.

And the best thing of all I just found out - there is a Poilâne shop in London, meaning we can get this fabulous bread easier than waiting for our next trip to Paris.

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