August 25 2013
One of the things I love about living in Paris is the richness and abundance of great quality produce that is available on my doorstep.
I've already written about the Chinese supermarket, because where else can you find durian fruit next to Walkers shortbread rounds and sriracha sauce alongside a rather weird array of liquids, including an infamous fermented lychee drink.
I will harp on at length about my local indoor market, each stand with its own speciality - the Italian deli where I get my tipo 00 flour, the cheesemonger who will teach me something new each time I pass by and the poultry man who will butcher your bird while you wait.
I am known to go to the street market on Sundays to scout for a glut of cheap fruit to make into jam or for seasonal vegetables to pickle. Food is everywhere in this city - you just need to know where to look.
However, because Parisians like to keep all the best addresses to themselves, it can take a little while to discover the specialist niche shops.
Nestled behind Château Rouge metro station, in the deepest darkest part of the 18th arrondissement, is one such address - the newest Yves-Marie butcher's shop, run by Tim Sautereau.
Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec is one of those hallowed names within the circles in the know. His is an amazing story - starting out learning the trade at 16 years old, having his own shop even before his 18th birthday and now boasting over 25 years in the industry. He is known today as a specialist in selecting healthy, well-reared livestock (working closely with Ginger Pig in the UK) and for maturing the meat for far longer than the industry standard in order to get the tenderest possible cut.
If you've ever eaten at the widely spoken about Beef Club, you might know what I mean. The meat served there - the beautiful love child of Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec and Tim Wilson/Ginger Pig - is matured for an average of 60 days.
Cooking dinner for two? Here's my advice:
Head over to 25 rue Ramey and order a cote du boeuf. It's a juicy cut and when the meat is this good, it only needs a couple of minutes in a hot pan and a few more in the oven. Pick up some vegetables from the street market on the rue du Poteau (opposite the Town Hall in the 18th arrondissement.) Get some cheese from the Quatrehomme if you're feeling really decadent.
Pop by the Caves Dargent on the rue Ordener (176) and pick up a bottle of Bordeaux to wash it down. (I had a really good Haut Medoc de Giscours 2009 there last week that for the price was an absolute bargain.)
The only thing working against you will be time. Get to the butchers before it closes (7.30pm during the week but 6pm on Saturdays) and the wait while the wine opens up in the carafe (a couple of hours for best results, I'd say.) Then, to quote Julia Child, "bon appetit!"