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Paris Chocolate Shops for Easter Treats

Joyeuses Pâques!

When it comes to Easter chocolates in Paris, you can find flying bells, real eggs filled with solid chocolate, and giant eggs that think they are bunnies. Gourmet Easter chocolate reigns supreme in Paris. Here’s where to find it.

A Parisian Easter Egg Hunt

I have my own little Easter tradition that I like to indulge in each year. Not surprisingly, it involves Paris chocolate shops.

Every Easter Sunday, I have my own personal Easter egg hunt where I go on the search for delicious and unique Easter chocolate in the artisanal chocolate mecca that is Paris, France. Forget plastic eggs; this is a Parisian Easter egg hunt.

Usually before I head to church on Sunday, I will go from chocolate shop to chocolate shop filling my Easter basket (i.e. my hands) with treats. It’s like trick-or-treating on Halloween, except it’s more beautiful, and I have to pay for it.

A short stroll around the Marais will find you stumbling upon pretty shop windows filled with Easter delights. My two favorite neighborhoods for Easter chocolate finds are the Marais (3rd and 4th), Saint Germain (6th), and the 7th.

Josephine Vannier

Josephine Vannier had a series of gorgeous eggs with “This is a rabbit” or “This is a chicken” written in chocolate. I convinced myself that I would host an Easter brunch so I could justify this giant 21 euro egg that’s filled with other chocolate goodies.

I didn’t end up having time to host a brunch, though, so there I was, with this big, beautiful, untouched egg. Normal people would have shared it with friends or coworkers, but I sat there and stared at it, too excited to wait for sharing.

As I held the treasure in my hands, I examined it, trying to figure out the best way to dive into the interior (Take a bite? Tap a hole? Use a knife?). I started squeezing towards the top, thinking I might puncture a small hole or just break off the top.

And then I squeezed a leeetle too hard, and it exploded like a chocolate piñata in my hand, sending an explosion of chocolate pieces all over the room.

Most of it fell directly beneath me, but there were shards all over the floor and table.  Maybe normal people would collect the shards and save them throughout the week to eat in rational portions. I had every intention of doing that, but proceeded to eat the entire thing because it was so good.

“Oops”.

Gérard Mulot

One thing that I have to buy every year is a chocolate egg in a real egg shell. This is one of my favorite things I’ve found here that I haven’t seen elsewhere. It makes me giddy to peel a real egg apart to reveal chocolate within.

And they come in the normal cardboard egg crates – just a bit more colorful. I can’t handle it. They are my Easter obsession.

Usually, I get these from Michel Chaudun or Patrick Roger, but they cost something like 7-10 euros for one egg, so I just get one. This year, I found them for the bargain price of 4.50 euros at Gérard Mulot, and they were brightly colored eggs, rather than a normal uncolored shell.

Using the brunch excuse again, I bought three, but of course I ate two on the same day, before Easter, like a chocolate addict with zero self control. (See also: That giant chocolate egg I ate by myself. Plus all the chocolate inside.)

Chez Hélène

Another beautiful store I happened across in the Marais is called Chez Hélène.

These fresh flavored marshmallows put those chemically tasting over-sugared Peeps to shame. They’re probably not as funny to watch in the microwave though. (If you haven’t done that, stop everything, and go buy some Peeps).

How beautiful are these giant twin vases filled with flowers? Jaw dropping. And even though there’s a strong reflection, I don’t really mind because it’s reflecting beautiful Paris buildings. And myself, carrying too many bags of Easter sweets for the “brunch” I was hosting.

Window shopping is a fun enough activity in and of itself.

À la Mere de Famille

It’s not chocolate bunnies, but flying Easter bells, that reign in France. Why flying bells?

The tradition is that all the church bells fly off to the Vatican in Rome on good Friday, symbolically mourning the death of Jesus (to this day, church bells do not ring in France between Good Friday and Easter Sunday – because they are in Rome, duh).

Then on Sunday morning, they fly back to Paris to ring in celebration of the resurrection, bringing back chocolate and eggs with them.

I wish they would bring back fresh pasta and perfectly made espressos, but to each their own.

5 Paris chocolate shops for Easter chocolate and candyIncluding giant eggs, flying bells, real eggs, and pastel marshmallows:
  1. Josephine Vannier (“Ceci est un lapin” egg)
  2. Gérard Mulot (Bright colored eggs)
  3. Michel Chaudun (Incredible chocolate sculptures and real eggs)
  4. À la Mere de Famille (Chocolate bells of all sizes, and eggs, and fish, and chickens, and rabbits)
  5. Chez Hélène (Marshmallows, chocolates, and other candies)

There are many, many more incredible chocolate shops in Paris (Pierre Hermé and Jacques Genin are two other favorites), and this is not a “best” list or even a “favorites” list. It’s just where I happened to go this year on my Easter egg hunt, and I would be happy to go again.

May your baskets be filled with more chocolate than you should reasonably consume. Happy Easter!

The post Paris Easter Egg Hunt: Gourmet Chocolates & Where to Find Them appeared first on Paris Food Affair.

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HolyBelly 5

HolyBelly has had lines out the door for years, and it’s really a testament to the fact that they make some unbelievably satisfying brunch food.

On top of this worth-crossing-town-for brunch fare, they have friendly and efficient service, mighty fine coffee (not always a given), and it’s all done in a pretty space. 

It’s all the brunch basics we crave. The thing is that they go the extra mile – it’s not just an egg or a pancake. They’ve made their dishes standout with creative twists and quality ingredients.

Exhibit A, my favorite breakfast dish of all time:

The Savory Stack

Oh, lordy. (Fans self). Let’s break this down.

First of all, they make a good pancake. I have gone to places in Paris that have “pancake” in the name, for crying out loud, and they make a crappy pancake. These are light and fluffy and the perfect amount of sweetness. 

But in this dish, oh in this dish. It’s two pancakes, two fried eggs, bacon, a touch of maple syrup, and a big ‘ol slab of BOURBON BUTTER. And that’s what really makes it. That lava river of Bourbon butter flowing down the steaming hot pancakes.

Also, I suspect they may pour a little spoonful of bacon fat on top of the fried eggs and/or pancakes, and I would imagine this is also what makes it so phenomenal. Just a guess. 

Toasted Pain des Amis bread from bakery Du Pain et des Ideés

If you are a person who likes the savory/sweet combo, but more on the savory side, do not miss this dish. I dream of it. Otherwise, they have a sweet stack, normal stack, and a bunch of other combinations of eggs and sides to meet all your brunching whims. 

HolyBelly’s Coffee Game

The espresso-based drinks are perfectly made (hey-o, flat white), and they have a great drip coffee as well. 

I went for previously mentioned flat white followed by the drip (black), and it was the perfect combo. Sometimes I feel like a velvety milky drink, but most of the time, I just want straight black coffee, and today, I needed both. All your dreams can come true here.  

Here’s the drip, hiding behind a weird artsy looking foreground of blurred bacon, but really, I was just trying to get a shot of the mug while holding my camera down in front of my stomach, so as to avoid doing a full-on photo shoot at brunch. They have cute mugs.

There are two caveats that come with Holy Belly 5, and one secret mega tip. 

HolyBelly Caveat 1:

There is always a line.

Granted, even for a super-long line, it goes pretty quickly.

On Saturday at prime time, you’ll wait 35-45 minutes most likely. On Sunday 45 minutes to over an hour if you don’t get there early when they first open. Other days of the week, less than 30 minutes.

If you get there when they first open, you can probably walk right in. It’s just that most of us lazy brunchers want to have a nice sleep-in, and then slowly stumble over to HolyBelly 5 at 11am or 2pm, as we wish. If you’re an early bird, you’ll probably be fine. (I wouldn’t know, being the non-earliest bird that ever was).

HolyBelly Caveat 2:

If you are the brunching type who wants to stay at the table for 3-4 hours (understandably), then HolyBelly 5 may not be your place.

They’ve got a million people waiting outside, so while you won’t feel rushed to wolf down your food, they do have hungry people anxiously waiting to be seated, so you can’t just hang out all the day long.

For most visitors at least, it will be efficient and wonderful and plenty of time. And you’ve got things to do, anyway, and can’t spend your whole glorious day in Paris eating brunch. 

HB5 Secret Mega Tip:

If you are a solo diner, you can rock up to that line, wait until someone comes around writing down the party sizes and letting you know approximate wait time.

Then, when you say “party of one”, you might be transported instantly to a counter in the back overlooking the kitchen which has a couple individual seats for solo diners.

I went on my own, and I was magically whisked past a 45-minute wait to instant brunching gratification, like some kind of VIP guest.

Benefits await the brave solo pancake eaters.

HolyBelly 5

Address: 5 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris, France

Open: Daily 9am-5pm

No Reservations

HB Website

Note: HB19 is their freshly opened spot located in the original HolyBelly space at 19 Lucien Sampaix. There are no pancakes here, and it’s more lunch-focused. And delightful.

The post Brunch Worth Waiting in Line For (and How to Get in Faster) appeared first on Paris Food Affair.

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Well, hello! The European Food Blogs Award announced Paris Food Affair as a nominee.

Please help me to win – it only takes two quick clicks by voting here. Merci mille fois for your help!!

The post European Food Blogs Award – Please Vote! appeared first on Paris Food Affair.

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Need some options for cheap eats while visiting Paris? I’ve got you covered. You don’t have to eat a ham sandwich every day to stay within a certain budget. Here are 7 great options for eating in Paris for under $20, without losing any of the flavor or thrill.

1. L’Avant Comptoir

This is a seriously fun place to get bang for your buck. You can get a hearty charcuterie board overflowing with some of the best charcuterie in France (Eric Ospital). Make a meal out of that alongside a few slices of their unique and addictive bread (flavored with saffron and a dash of piment d’espellette).

Said bread should of course be slathered with some of France’s finest butter (help yourself from the heaping mound of community Bordier butter from Brittany).

And I do mean heaping.

Of course, don’t forget the community cornichons (baby French pickles). But good luck, because their gourmet bites will tempt you to go beyond charcuterie, bread & butter. The hanging signs show you the photo and price.

There’s also the beautiful selection of natural wines. There’s no wine list – it’s in the staff’s head. So tell them what kind of wine you’re looking to drink – white, red, sparkling, light, full bodied, funky and interesting, or something similar to a Sauvignon Blanc. They’ll pour you a taste to see if you like their recommendation. Glasses are around 7€, so don’t worry about accidentally ordering a 25€ glass. I think the most expensive glass I’ve seen was 12€ for a beautiful wine.

I have happily passed many an evening here with a couple glasses of fascinating natural wines and a mixed planche of charcuterie. It’s easy to do that on the cheap. Though to be honest, I usually can’t resist ordering several of the (still very affordable) little hot dishes.

It’s standing room only, which means you’ll probably start talking to your neighbor at some point. It only adds to the fun, but if it’s too crowded for you to squeeze in, they have 2 sister wine bars: L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer (next door to the original) and L’Avant Comptoir du Marché (a 3 minute walk away).

Always makes for a fun evening, especially if you’re traveling solo.

2. YARD

Foodies & chefs flock to YARD because they make excellent food and offer a noteworthy selection of natural wines.

They are located in the northeast corner of Paris by the Pere Lachaise cemetery, and they have one of the best lunch deals in town. If you want to try contemporary French market cooking at a fraction of the price, go here for lunch. You can get 2 courses (starter/main or main/dessert) for 16€ or all 3 courses for 19€, and there are three options in each category.

Last time I went for lunch, I had watercress soup with a poached egg, a piece of perfectly pan-roasted fish with tomatoes, and a chocolate ganache with sea salt that I still dream about.

The restaurant is now split into a wine bar on the left and bistro on the right. The wine bar is the place to be for chefs and wine people on their day off Monday night. You can go at night to get a few bites along with very affordable bottles of wine. If you want their lovely food on the cheap, then go for lunch.

3. L’As du Falafel

I absolutely can’t resist getting a bursting-with-flavor falafel sandwich from L’As du Falafel anytime I’m in the Marais. People say it’s the best falafel outside of Israel, and for 6.50€, it can’t be beat.

Line up (guaranteed to be a line, for good reason), place your order, and pay the man patrolling the line. Then step up to the window to receive your warm pita filled with hot and crispy fried falafel, roasted eggplant, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt sauce and “sauce piquant”, (spicy red sauce). That harissa is my favorite part. Take it over to Places des Vosges to enjoy.

4. Crepes – Legit crepes.

And finally, there is the mighty crepe. You can get a cheap and filling ham & cheese crepe from any stand in the city, followed by a banana and Nutella dessert crepe. With that combo, you’ll be as happy as can be for about 8€ (for two crepes).

Even better, to stay under 20€ but still eat great quality, you can go to an official crepe restaurant like Breizh Cafe, hailing straight from the motherland of buckwheat crepes: Brittany.

They use pristine ingredients and have a wide variety of options. You can get a savory lunch crepe with cured ham, egg, mushroom and cheese (above), or opt for a light and healthy vegetable crepe.

And of course, when you go to a crepe restaurant, there’s always the dessert crepe. In this situation, I have to recommend the salted caramel crepe. It will leave you speechless as you ponder moving to France.

There’s a Breizh Cafe in the Marais and one near Odeon in the 6th. Both restaurants take reservations which can be smart in the summer. There are also many traditional crepe restaurants located around Montparnasse (I’m a big fan of Josselin).

5. Zia

If you’re visiting the Eiffel Tower on the weekend, you should 100% plan to stop for brunch at Zia on your way over.

They have a beautiful, bright little space just around the corner from the Champ de Mars, where they serve Dutch baby pancakes with fried eggs, bacon, and Comté for 17€, a breakfast burrito for 16€, or avocado toast with cucumber and poached egg for 15€.

During the week, they have fresh salads at lunch for 13-15€. They also serve great coffee, craft beers, and natural wines.

6. Chez Alain Miam Miam

People are obsessed with this guy, Alain. He makes ridiculously good gourmet sandwiches and crepes inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges, a covered market in the Marais. You’ll see the line for his stand, which often takes around 30 minutes if you don’t show up early.

Why? Because he lovingly crafts each sandwich made to order himself, filling it to the brim with whatever meats, cheese, and veggies you want.

If you’re starving and don’t want to wait, the market has plenty of great and cheap eating options. Or just show up early to avoid the wait so you can experience his hand-crafted sandwich and crepe magic.

7. A Gourmet Picnic

And of course, not to be missed (in good weather anyway), is the all time favorite outdoor Parisian standby, a glorious picnic. You can make your own spread of cured meats, baguette, cheeses, fruit, pastries, and wine without spending a crazy amount.

You could even get a roasted chicken with a baguette, tomatoes, and an avocado, and feel incredibly satisfied while dining al fresco staring at the Eiffel Tower or the gorgeous buildings along the Seine.

Pro tip: Don’t forget napkins, plastic knives, plastic cups, and a cork screw.

A picnic on a summer evening in front of an epic monument, bridge, or stunning Seine view as the sun sets can rival even the fanciest of restaurants in your rolodex of memorable meals.

The post Eating Cheap in Paris: 7 Great Options Under $20 appeared first on Paris Food Affair.

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It is actually pretty hard to find good traditional French food in Paris now. Josephine Chez Dumonet is on it. This is an old world bistro from the Belle Epoque era.

Disclaimer

Here’s the thing. Before we dive in, I want to keep it real. I’ve been to Josephine Chez Dumonet many times over the years. But you know what? I always go at night. And you know what’s not good at night? Lighting. In an old restaurant. So the photos I have are complete crap.

They are trash, and I admit it, with my whole heart. Should I go for lunch one day, order everything, and take photos? Yes, I probably should. But a big heavy classic French dinner of beef Bourguignon and duck confit does not sound good to me at lunch. I like to keep it light, so I’m not sleeping through my entire day.

Since my photos are too dark and ugly to see the light of day, I’m going to insert some Instagram photos from total strangers who went during the day and got better photos. I’m just a girl living my life and eating food at the time I want to eat food. I’ll tell you about it, but in this case, others will show you.

There. It’s out there. You can’t judge me because I’ve called it. I think we all feel better now.

On to what makes Josephine Chez Dumonet the classic French restaurant of your dreams.

Old World Atmosphere

Think white tablecloths and waiters with black ties. It can feel a bit on the upscale side of things, but sometimes that’s what you want. This place probably hasn’t changed in a hundred years if you’re on the search for a little old world Paris. You can get that from other institutions like Chez Georges, too, but I think the food wins at Josephine Chez Dumonet.

Josephine Chez Dumonet is very well known amongst travelers. World has gotten out. So there will be a lot of anglophones in there, which I know can throw off the fun of being in a French restaurant. I would even dare go as far to prepare you for the fact that they will likely put English speakers all together. Let’s face it, certain English speakers (cough Americans) are loud talkers. We all practically scream at each other over dinner. Laughing at the top of our lungs and yelling about our story we want to tell from earlier.

In American restaurants, that flies, because everyone is yelling, and the music is blasting, and we’re all having dinner at rock concert volume levels. Meanwhile, the French are hovered over their little table having conversation that only people at their table can hear, and that’s how they like it.

In sum, you might get thrown into the English-speaking bull pen. That’s okay. Be prepared for it. This is how they can still serve their regular French customers who want to come for a nice quiet dinner and not have visitors shouting about their stories at each other. Can’t find fault in that, can we? And anyway, the food is delicious no matter where you sit.

That being said, because the restaurant is popular amongst the international food-loving crowd, the waiters will for sure speak English, and they won’t shame you for your lack of French skills. I have always found the servers to be friendly and charming, which can be a rarity.

Beef Bourgignon

The Beef Bourgignon is out of this world. I’ve had many a Beef Bourg in the hallowed places of Paris, and a lot of times, I think, “yah that’s good”. I’ve made beef Bourguignon many a time at home, and I think, “yah that’s good”. Here at Jo Chez Du (such a long name, this had to be done), it is just “Oh. Oh, this. This is Beef Bourguignon.” Moment of silence. Here, you’ll find rich, meaty and bacon-y wine sauce with tender chunks of melting braised beef.

Buttery noodles come served on the side, comme il faut. So then you can pile your fall-apart tender beef and rich sauce all over the noodles in a glorious pile of never-want-to-leave-Paris.

When it comes to the side, I’ve never been one to eat BB with rice. That’s for the paupers. (Although there is a spot in the 15th I like which serves THREE side dishes with its beef Bourguignon: mashed potatoes, rice, and polenta. And it’s quite fun to mix and match.) But noodles are the way to go.

The half portion is plenty, by the way.

Duck Confit

Honestly, when faced with the decision between ordering Beef Bourguignon and the duck leg confit, you have to feel what is in your heart.

The duck confit is done perfectly – crisp on the outside and falling apart on the inside. It’s everything a duck confit should be, and most restaurants just butcher it. Dry meat, flabby skin. Woof. But here, it’s text book. Even the mighty David Lebovitz agrees, there is no duck confit more perfect than Josephine Chez Dumonet. Annnnd there’s a side of potatoes fried in duck fat, don’tmindifido.

Classic French Desserts

For dessert? They’ve got the classics, and they do them well. They are known for their Grand Marnier soufflé, but the trick is that you have to order it at the beginning of the meal. It will then saunter over to you at the end of the meal, just so, a pillow of soufflé perfection. 

You will receive a small glass of Grand Marnier on the side to add in a little extra oomph, or to sip alongside, as you wish.

They have other fantastic classic desserts, too, and another top choice is the millefeuille (a pastry that literally translated means “a thousand sheets” – sheets of pastry, that is). Ironically, their particular millefeuille does not have as many layers as you typically see at a pastry shop or restaurant, but they still have one of the best in town.

All in all, I believe Josephine Chez Dumonet is the perfect choice for classic French in Paris. Go in hungry, and enjoy rolling out, stuffed to the brim, filled with a piece of Paris history.

Josephine Chez Dumonet
Address: 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris, France
Hours:

Mon-Fri 12:30-2:30PM, 7:30-10:30PM

Closed Sat/Sun

Phone: +33 1 45 48 52 40

The post Josephine Chez Dumonet: One of the Best Classic French Restaurants Left in Paris appeared first on Paris Food Affair.

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