The more famous Dehillerin (best known, to Americans at least, as Julia Child’s favorite cookware store in Paris) may be just around the corner, but the tourists can keep the dark, cramped aisles and mysterious pricing system for themselves. I’ll be where the professionals shop.
On the corner of rue Etienne Marcel and rue Montmartre stands La Bovida. Its three floors (ok, two and a half) house all kinds of kitchenware, mainly aimed at commercial kitchens, although the shop is open to the public. Right inside the door a large selection of heavy-duty pots and pans hang overhead and the shelves are filled with professional-grade appliances and bulk containers of spices. Further back you will find more small appliances as well as a wall stocked with a multitude of knives and kitchen gadgets. Upstairs on the landing resides the selection of barware and glasses. This is one of the few places in Paris I’ve seen big wine glasses – you know the ones. Personally, I prefer drinking wine, especially nice wine, out of a big glass. (And no, I don’t necessarily mean drink more of it, I just like having that extra swirling and sniffing room.) On the top floor is everything else: dishes, silverware, Le Creuset, to-go packaging, cook’s uniforms, cookbooks, pastry gear, and those 7-layer copper Mauviel sauté pans that I pine after.
Across the rue Montmartre lies the smaller, but no less exciting, Mora. Mora is also geared toward culinary professionals, but certainly caters more to the pâtissiers and chocolatiers. The front of the shop displays Staub cookware, silicone molds, glassware, knives, and a selection of serious cookbooks (when I say serious, I mean big and expensive, and textbooks). Further back is more of that gorgeous Mauviel, as well as a wall lined with frying pans and crèpe pans of all sizes. I couldn’t resist picking up an 8 euro crèpe pan, seeing as La Chandeleur is almost upon us – La Chandeleur being the crèpe making and eating holiday which technically is on February 2nd, but really starts up as soon as the galette-mania dies down and goes for a couple of weeks. Back at Mora, in the furthest room of the shop, is a treasure trove of pastry and chocolate molds. Ring molds and tart pans in all shapes and sizes, an array of pastry tips, and chocolate molds galore. This room makes me want to open up my own chocolaterie.
So which do I prefer? Bovida is great for the basic stuff, and for things like single-use balsawood loaf pans, aluminum pudding cups, and muffin tin liners (!), but their prices on higher-end items and specialty equipment tend to be higher than those at Mora, sometimes significantly - I saw the same set of Matfer biscuit cutters at both stores, 100 euros at Bovida, 70 at Mora! My boss prefers the value items at Bovida, and when I said I liked Mora better, he said “c’est parce que c’est pour les intellectuels de la pâtisserie,” which I think he meant as a gentle insult, but which I totally took as a compliment.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.