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 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!
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.
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.
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.