Ahhh Paris in the spring. What could be more meaty….
Now that the winter rain has subsided, and the grey skies parting, many of you will start taking trips to Paris in search of romance and fatty foods. When there, make sure to hit up the growing deli scene in the Marais, the traditional Jewish district in the city’s center.
Now, I’ve waxed many times about Maison David, the small butcher shop run by Michel and Francine Kalifa, just off the Rue des Rosiers. Others seem to be getting the idea too. Recently, Maison David was featured in the influential guide Le Fooding, and a gorgeous coffee table book on Parisian restaurants by the master chef Alain Ducasse called J’Aime Paris. Now, Maison David has been discovered by expat Parisian food blogger John Talbott, who visited recently for the new eat-in meal that Michel is offering and dubbed it “the best meat in the world” :
Now I’ve left out an essential to this tale; before during and after serving(s), he’s slicing, spooning and dishing up stuff for the 4-6 folks at the counter, announcing each from the pictured coarsely chopped chicken-liver (like I’ve never had so good at any bar mitzvah), goose rillettes and slices of green and black pepper, dry and moist sausage. The latter, ten minutes after I stopped eating, suddenly kicked in and I said, “Wait a minute, what was that sausage with black pepper, suddenly it took off?” And M. Kalifa smiles and says, “I watched your face when you ate it and it didn’t move – it takes that long for the taste to arrive, doesn’t it?”
And if that’s not reason enough to visit, head on over a few stores to Schwartz’s Deli, a Parisian take on a North American style Jewish delicatessen, though the owners insist it has nothing to do with the famous Montreal Deli of the same name. The Montreal Gazette isn’t so sure:
Chutzpah is a dish best served hot – in Paris, anyway.
Consider: A father and son open a delicatessen in the Jewish quarter of La Ville-Lumière, serve fast food like pastrami and pickles and hot dogs, and call the place Schwartz’s – when their name is actually Rubenstein.
Yes, such a place really exists. Not only exists, but even has a red-lettered logo remarkably similar to that of the iconic restaurant on Montreal’s Main.
Either way, these and the other Jewish bakeries, butchers, and delicatessens in Paris’s Marais district are enough to rekindle any gastronomic romance with the city of lights.