Monday was our last day in Paris, the day I had reserved to visit foodie destinations: the cookware store Dehillerin; Place de la Madeleine, a square filled with gourmet food shops; and dinner at Le Souffle. It was so full of food-related activities that I decided this day deserved its own post.
Throughout the day we toured the city on an open-topped, hop-on-hop-off bus. While I wouldn’t recommend the tour due to the traffic in Paris, it did allow us to get off at various areas we hadn’t yet reached by foot. One of the main stops was Place de la Madeleine, a square surrounded by gourmet food and chocolate shops. We bought a few pieces of chocolate at Fauchon that were eaten in a hurry along with a gift set of jams to take home. Then we went to Hediard around the corner where I purchased a set of candied fruits. The store had a tremendous display of perfect-looking fruits and vegetables near the entrance that were so perfect they didn’t look real – on first glance they looked as though they were made from wax. In a small way this store reminded me of Chicago’s Fox & Obel.
The final bus stop for us was within walking distance on Dehillerin, a renowned cookware store. There were so many things I wanted there but had to leave without buying because it would have been too difficult to get purchases home.
For dinner that evening, I can only say we went out with a bang at Le Souffle. The appetizers were souffle tomate basilic (tomato-basil souffle) for my mom, and symphonie gourmande de saumon (smoked salmon, greens and savory souffle) for me. Both were excellent – her’s simple with a tomato sauce poured over the top; mine more extensive with multiple parts including a dense salmon mousse for the airy souffle.
The main courses were just as good, and even caused my mom to rave about a savory dish for the first time in Paris: magret de canard aux peches (duck with a peach sauce, spinach custard, fried mashed potatoes, and green beans). While she doesn’t normally choose duck, this dish was magnificent due to the peach sauce and layers of sliced peach. My dinner entree of filets de roguet, gambas grillees et calamars a l’americaine (red fish, grilled shrimp, green beans, and mushroom sauce with calamari) was also very good, although I preferred the appetizer.
I can barely even begin to talk about the desserts. I ordered the souffle au chocolat noir et sa sauce chocolate noir (dark chocolate souffle with chocolate sauce) and my mom had the souffle au peches (souffle with peaches). The chocolate souffle was fantastic – it was rich and light at the same time and the chocolate sauce made it even better. The waiter poured about a third of the sauce over the souffle when he served it and left the rest on the side. Obviously it didn’t stay on the side long. The peach souflle didn’t was a little too subdued in the peach flavor, instead relying heavily on the bottle of peach schnopps served alongside it to add the flavor. The same was said of the souffle au Grand-Marnier which, due to the sharing nature of the people sitting around us, I also sampled.
Fauchon: 26 place de la Madeleine, 8e; www.fauchon.fr
Heidard: 21 place de la Madeleine, 8e
Dehillerin: 18 rue Coquilliere, 1er; www.e-dehillerin.fr
Le Souffle: 36 rue Mont-Thabor, 1er; (33) 01 42 60 27 19