Paris, being what it is, offers an infinite array of eating possibilities. The choices are overwhelming, and for the uninitiated it can be hard to know where to start or finish. At times my preference is to walk for hours until something appealing turns up. The rest of the time I like to have a more defined plan. For this trip I have taken a lot of my cues from two Paris food websites, Chocolate & Zucchini and David Lebovitz, as well as the essays of Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue’s food columnist.
I wanted to make sure to visit some of the places these sources recommended before leaving Paris tomorrow for Burgundy. The day started with a trip to Gosselin Boulangerie, 1st place winner in 1996 and 2nd place winner in 2002 of the best traditional baguette. I know that debates rage among food snobs about where the best of just about anything is, and I’m in no place to weigh in on the baguettes of Paris, but regardless Gosselin’s baguette is really, really good.
After Gosselin we stopped at a nearby cafe for a quick snack of pork rillettes. At some point in between we may also have consumed a croissant and a pistachio eclair, but I won’t confirm or deny it. We followed this with a long walk to Sacre Coeur, feeling guilty for not having seen many of the tourist sights. It was beautiful, sure, but the unbearable crowds made me remember why I generally avoid tourist attractions in the first place. Besides, it was taking up valuable eating time. We escaped the throngs, and headed towards more food.
Clotilde, who writes the Chocolate & Zucchini blog, had posted a while ago about a blood and tongue sausage she had tried, so we headed over to the store to get ourselves some. I grew up eating tongue and Vanessa eating Colombian Morcilla, so the idea resonated with us, although I didn’t grow up on blood sausages, and can count on my hand the number of times I’ve eaten it:
The first was in London in 1999. I had a slice of what they call black pudding as part of a greasy spoon breakfast one morning. It wasn’t very good. Afterwards a friend heard I had tried it and squealed, “Yuck, you ate scab.” I wanted to throw up.
The second was in Valle d’Aosta, in the Italian Alps. There they make a blood, beet root, potato, and pork sausage generically called boudin or sanguinaccio. It renewed my hope that blood sausages could actually be enjoyed.
Third was at Beppe in NYC, working for Cesare Casella. We made a spiced blood and chocolate sausage from a traditional Tuscan recipe he knew. They were very good.
Fourth would be the sausage we ate today. In fact we bought two types of blood sausage: the blood and tongue sausage already mentioned as well as a boudin noir seasoned with sage and onion. Never one to limit myself, I added the following to my shopping bag:
1. Saucisson à l’ail (garlic sausage)
2. Andouille de Guémené. According to one website it is a particular type of andouille made from “black gut intestines” rolled into concentric circles, stuffed into beef bung, smoked over oak or beech wood, aged for about 9 months and then poached in a hay-infused broth.
3. Pig trotter terrine, studded with carrots and lightly flavored with tarragon.
4. Duck and green peppercorn terrine, the peppercorns giving a spiced quality that could almost make you think it was a chinese pork siu mai.
5. Lingot de Brebis, a soft-rind, raw sheep’s milk cheese that I think comes from the Auvergne region.
We picked up some ripe apricots and yogurt for dessert and went home for a feast.
What do you mean we forgot to eat our vegetables? I told you there were carrots in the pig trotter terrine.