Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine and My New Favorite Fromagerie

18 07 2010

Julhès: the fromagerie/caviste

Admittedly, one of the reasons this is a favorite is that it’s less than half a block from my apartment.  Even so, I’m a little sad that I didn’t know about Julhès before moving to the rue du Faubourg St. Denis.  Yes, it’s a cheese shop.  It’s also a wine cave.  With an impressive selection of liquor.  And select charcuterie.  Plus bulk free-range eggs and fresh dairy products like yogurt, milk, and butter.  Not to mention the snacks – Tyrell’s chips, bars of Valrhona and Zaabar chcoclate – and condiments – a truly mouthwatering array of mustards, sauces, and jams.  It’s a one-stop shop for a picnic if I ever saw one.

But the best part is that the cheeses (and wines…) are good.  The service is friendly, too.  One time I saw them make a camembert sandwich for a customer.  And they’re open seven days a week, though they close for lunch on weekdays, as well as on Sunday afternoons.  Pretty good for Paris.  The cheese/wine shop (a category that gave me some trouble when I was adding it to my map because my current color-coding scheme doesn’t allow for such a thing), however, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Julhès: the boulangerie-pâtisserie

Julhès also has a boulangerie-pâtisserie two doors down.  I like their baguette au levain bio (organic sourdough baguette) quite a bit – I think it’s one of the best 1-euro baguettes in town.  A full gamut of pastries are on display, which I have yet to try, as well as a coin traiteur (deli counter) serving various salads and sandwiches, and they even offer outdoor table service!

Julhès: the foreign products

And then there’s the produits étrangers.  Just past the Kurdish sandwich place, Julhès has yet another outpost.  Here they specialize in products from around Europe, particularly Italy, Greece, and Eastern Europe.  Fresh raviolis and other non-filled pastas, a myriad of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, stuffed peppers, and various dips and spreads are sold in awesome, re-usable plastic containers.  In addition, the walls are lined with olive oils, non-French wines, and a parade of Polish and Russian vodkas.

Have I mentioned how great it smells on my street?  I mean it, even if I do have to step over the occasional bum to get to the sidewalk from my apartment.

I seem to have gotten a little sidetracked.  I was supposed to be writing about cheese.  Just this morning I popped over to Julhès (the fromagerie) to get provisions for an afternoon snack.

I picked up three kinds of cheese, a bottle of Corsican red wine, and a baguette.

Cheeses from Julhès

Ok, it was partly an excuse to bust out the slate tile and Laguiole cheese knives I recently convinced myself I needed to buy.  But you gotta have sustenance between Sunday brunch and dinner, right?  A wedge of bleu des causses, a Petit Gaugry, and a log of Sainte-maure-de-Touraine ought to cover it.

The Sainte-maure-de-Touraine was a new one for me.  It’s a classic goat cheese, with the defining feature being a rye straw running through the center.  In the past, this helped the cheese to keep its shape, but now it’s more traditional than anything.  Producers nowadays engrave the straw with their name to ensure quality control.  The cheese is on the large size, around a quarter of a kilogram, which represents the milk output of a single goat in a day (around two liters).  In order to legally call your cheese Sainte-maure-de-Touraine it must be made from the milk of goats who live and eat in the Touraine area of the Loire valley.  The cheese, once formed into a log around the straw, is rubbed with a mixture of salt and wood ash to form the rind.  It has a short aging period of about 10 days, at which point the chalk-white cheese has a smooth texture and fresh, mildly goaty taste.  The rind adds just a bit of zing.

Laser-engraved straw

Summer is, in my opinion, the best season for goat cheeses.  Not only are they generally on the fresher side, they also tend to be lower in fat than their cow’s milk and sheep’s milk counterparts.  As such, they have the light, refreshing flavor you’re looking for when temperatures start to climb.  Plus they partner so well with summer produce like tomatoes and zucchini.  And what salad isn’t improved with a little goat cheese on top?

On this day in 2008: More Pizza Ideas (Includes my recipe for pizza dough, which I use constantly.)

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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6 responses

18 07 2010
Celine

Now I kinda want this tomorrow instead of Zoe. Sigh. I just have a cheese problem.
BTW the salads at Les Funambules are really good. A long time ago they were the best meal-sized salad you could get in Paris.

19 07 2010
Hannah

That shop (the first, but actually, all of them) sounds like exactly the kind of place I could lose myself in for hours, no matter how many times I’ve visited. I wish I could explore it with you! And then eat ALL YOUR CHEESE.

P.S. I’ve decided that I shall never be content until I’ve walked down a street in Australia and seen a shop with “CHEESE MAKER” written atop it in enormous letters.

19 07 2010
Michel Augsburger

I think everyone should be so lucky to have a shop like you have in their neighborhood. I love your post.

20 07 2010
hungry dog

I got ravenously hungry eating, I mean READING, this post. Good lord. I need to move to France. Just for the cheese. (and the wine)

Those knives look beautiful!!

20 07 2010
anne

I must try and remember this place next time I am in Paris for a longer stay.. sounds just the place to be in for a while .. hard to choose to I suppose.

20 07 2010
croquecamille

Celine – Glad to hear it! And I think we were probably better off at Zoe than we would have been had we just gorged ourselves on cheese. :)

Hannah – I was kicking myself for not telling you about this place when you were in town, but then I remembered that I didn’t know about it then! So all was forgiven. I guess you’ll just have to come back. ;)

Michel – I think so, too!

hungry dog – I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy them since I moved here. I eventually decided that “I live in France” is a good enough reason. :)

anne – It’s a lot of fun, I hope you get a chance to visit soon!




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