Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Paris By Mouth Food Tours

Yesterday I joined Paris By Mouth Food Tours to Montmartre. A little word to the wise - take the bus, do not take the Metro to Abbesses unless you love 100+ stairs.

Paris By Mouth is a terrific up-to-date website for Foodies on Paris - a don't miss daily read. Meg Zimbeck was our astute guide from PBM.

First stop bien sur was this year's best baguette winner.

Meg explains in detail what constitutes the best baguette. A hunk of bread will never taste the same.

We're joined by Barbara Austen, former pastry chef, for more details on texture, construction, flavours, ingredients. I scribble madly notes. If only I could read my hand-writing.

Meg shows us the difference between a plain baguette and a baguette traditional (the prize winner now adorns the President's table). The price difference between la creme de la creme and l'ordinaire is a mere 15 centimes. The French government decides these things tu sait.

On to the next course - charcuterie and another prize winner for their boudin noir/blood sausage (which we do not sample Dieu merci!).

Red meat isn't on my menu these days but you have to be flexible when traveling.

Meg and Barbara set up a mini picnic dans la rue for tasting. That baguette came in handy.

La fromagerie is next.

Chevre/goat cheese is my favorite. These are quite aged. We taste frais/fresh and unpasturized chevre.

The cheese seller is a beau mec/cute guy...miam

On to the park nearby to sample and discuss fromage at length. I must admit I buy French cheese at the super marche, never a fromagerie - shame on me. That evening I am brave and buy chevre frais with figue inside from a fromagerie.

On to dessert.
And rue des Martyr's newest most fashionable patisserie - reknown Sebastien Gaudard.

You can tell from his website this is going to be an elegant experience. Chef Gaudard came out while we invaded his shop. He chastised one of us not to touch anything (and correctly so). 
*Jamais/never help yourself in a Paris shop to the merchandise, especially in a patisserie.
l'interdit! I did not have the nerve to take a photo.

Les patisseries were lush. Meg picked 3 and I bought another 3. Can you ever have too much dessert?

Meg, always well-equipped, divies up in the street, the 1st taste - an Alsacian mini kugel - very light and delicate - the outer crust crunchie and caramelized.

Puit d'amour, Paris Brest + une dacquoise à l'amande (ou à la noisette  - meringue-esque - all exceptional.

And the rhum Baba.
Chef Sebastien Gaudard's adorable Jack Russell, 'Hot Dog' at Selby/Colette. Wouldn't he look handsome painted  in front of Gaudard's new shop 22, rue des Martrys?
You won't need lunch and your tastebuds won't forget the experience.


  1. Mais pourquoi pas Boudin Noir? J'adore. En anglais il s'appel Black Pudding. Miam miam ;)

    You probably walked past my Dutch friend who lives at rue des Trois Frères.

  2. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Dear Carol:

    There are several elevators at the Abbesses metro station. Having taken the stairs once, I have warned many tourists to avoid them. The metro platform is 118 feet below street level. Of course, taking the stairs takes away some of the guilt from eating all of the goodies along Rue des Abbesses.

    1. The elevators were NOT working.
      All of them in fact.
      c'est la vie

  3. Great post! I'm assuming that the baguette traditionnelle is the one with the most air pockets???

  4. I was already planning on taking one of these tours as well--quelle coincidence!

  5. sister and I fell for that...we saw the elevators but thought...who needs an elevator? we'll just take the stairs...mon dieu! but I do agree with's a good workout.

  6. I wasn't hungry before I read this, but now...I'm dying inside at Mankato, Minnesota's, lack of a boulangerie patisserie!

    1. just think of all the calories yr saving!

      Actually I am eating a LOT of fruitie compote
      and a lot less boulangerie
      Not that it has made the slightest diff in my figure/ligne, ahem

  7. Great post Carol. You took me back to a favorite neighborhood of mine. I am going to re-post it on my Facebook page chez French Girl if that is all right with you. I think my readers will enjoy it too! Continue to have fun and visit cute fromagers and boulangers in Paris! ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  8. Another wonderful taste of Paris, literally! :-)

    A fromagerie usually offers each cheese at its peak, therefore way tastier than other places. I now have to go and rummage in my cheese drawer and have some cheese with Traminer wine jelly.

  9. Great photos, Carol. The tour is a great idea, and it looks like she sure can pick out delicious food.
    I like the meats (should I feel guilty?).
    The pastries look fabulous, too.

    1. I had not idea we would be tasting so many samples!

      Soup-to-nuts really.

  10. I hate that people kill animals, and yet I'm such a hypocrite. I love meat! The meat with the bread baked around it looks incredible. Oh my. But I think I could be persuaded quite easily to forgo the meat for any of the deserts in the pictures. It's a good thing we can't afford to go to Paris, because I'd end up too fat to fly home.

  11. Hahah. After reading this, those stairs seem like a good antidote!
    (Adding this wonderful activity to my Paris wish list!)

  12. Love this post!
    I am friends with Meg's mother here in the States. I so badly want to take one of Meg's tours...someday!

  13. Oh, it's perfect!!

    Thanks so much, Carol!!

  14. Quoi? Chérie, cheese is always better at the fromagerie. The supermarket stuff stinks but not quite enough, if you get my drift. That baguette is calling to me. I need to get there soon. Our local baguette isn't as good as this and I'm missing poifection!

  15. The patisserie chef whom wouldn't let you touch anything! Reminds me of the bookstore owners in Portlandia....

  16. Anonymous3:42 PM

    it all looks delicious! what was the name of the charcuterie & the fromagerie? merci!

    1. Unfortunately I can not tell.
      It wouldn't be fair to PBM Tours.
      Just climb aboard.
      By far one of the best foodie tours I've been on and there have been many.

  17. We'll be in Paris in a month... can't wait to try all those amazing pastries!
    We'll definitely use your blog as a guide :)

  18. Anonymous6:18 PM

    Which baguette above is the winner?

  19. Oh what a wonderful experience. I've bookmarked this for my next trip next year. I did a bakery tour on my last trip, and it was fabulous to get an idea of behind the scenes action. It's great how many fantastic activities there are in Paris.

  20. Oh, those charcuteries! Memories of childhood picnics. Heaven!

  21. Terri in Arabia10:25 AM

    Dear PB,
    Thank you for all of your updates on Paris(EVERTHING!)
    I took the Paris By Mouth foodie tours you mentioned and leved every minute with Phyllis and Meg.
    Please keep mentioning their tours!!!!

    Better yet draw pictures of them giving tours!!!!!

    Thank you for making me smile everyday.


  22. Thanks for the updates about the best of france tours


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