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Boulangépicier

Location: 73 Boulevard de Courcelles, 8th arr. Paris.

While in Paris this weekend, i went to one of Alain Ducasse's eateries. No, I didn't plan far ahead and make reservations at one of his three-Michelin-starred restaurants. We dropped by his sandwich shop Boulangépicier on Saturday for a taste of Paris' best sandwich making, thanks to a Chocolate and Zucchini reccomendation.

The shop sells a lovely selection of sandwiches, tartines, salads, and desserts from the display case, while on the opposite wall is a tasteful display of various gourmet food products. A basket of bread stands by the cash register, ready to buy. At the back and outside are a number of tables for those of us eating in. Inside, the colors and lines are classically modern: squares, rectangles, rich browns against creams. After picking our treats from the display case, we settle in to a table at the back while our food is brought to us.

My sandwich was a tasty confection, poached pears, roquefort, and frisée lettuce on a batard-shaped roll studded with raisins. Pear and blue cheese make for a wonderful salad, but I'd never encountered the combination in sandwich form; it works quite well. When I asked what juices they stocked, the woman helping me recited a phenomenally long list, something like fourteen different fruits and fruit combinations. I opted for apricot juice in the end, from the Alain Milliat artisanal line. (Both the label and the flavor were striking enough that I wrote down the brand. The website is not responding at the moment, however.)

When I asked about the topping on the chocolate mousse before choosing it, the assistant uncertainly thought it might be crushed hazelnuts. Much as I like hazelnuts, I was even happier that she was wrong: the rich fluffiness of the mouse was topped with the bitter crunch of chocolate nibs.

You won't be surprised to hear that this isn't the cheapest sandwich shop around. My sandwich, dessert, and drink came to something in the ballpark of 15 or so euros. But for sandwiches, drinks, and desserts of this calibre? It was worth it.