Tea and Sympathy Buzz

By Margaret Kemp

Talking tea-time “Tea In the City” by Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson (Benjamin Press) is a jewel of a book you shouldn't leave home without. So far there's New York, London and Paris, ($18.95) “Like any delicacy, tea should be savoured in petite bites so that you don't satiate your appetite”, say the gurus-du-thé. “We'll add more tea-palaces during future visits to Paris, they've been doing tea correctly here for 375 years, and it can only get better!”

From Paris, the authors sugest easy day trips to Giverny, Chartres or Versailles. They say excellent tea and sympathy can be had in all these loctions, along with awesome patisserie.

Ms Pettigrew spent quality time in Paris, where she taught French. Taking the reader by the hand, she presents not only a nice cuppa Darjeeling or Earl Grey but also the delights of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Greek, Taiwanese, American and Egyptian tea proprietors, and of course the many French, who are selling and serving an amazing range of teas. “In Paris to-day, the selection of tea is outstanding. The variety of tea rooms in the city reflects the mixture of influences that makes Paris so colourful and interesting”, notes Ms Pettigrew who once owned a tea-room in London.

“Step through the door of Toraya (10 rue Saint-Florentin 1st), leave Paris behind and find yourself in a delicate, minimalist part of Japan. In winter warm up with matcha-flavoured hot chocolate. In summer try the ice-cream drenched in matcha green tea and strawberry syrup”, advises Ms Pettigrew.

And talking Japan, Ms Pettigrew should consider a visit to BIZAN. Talk to the Japanese and they say it's impossible to find good sushi, sashimi, etc. in Paris. A recent dinner at Toshiro Kuroda's BIZAN was not only delicious but each dish a modern work of art. Eat at the bar and watch sushi master Koji Shindo or upstairs, and you're in Kyoto, tasting the Kaiseki menu.

Take time to visit ISSE, Mr. Kuroda's Japanese epicerie and workshop. Lunchtime buy bento boxes, eat at the bar or take away, along with products such as fresh wasabi,  kombu, wakame, nori, vinegars, rare sakis (there's a cave à saki and always generous tastings) soya, miso, green teas, and Kuroshicimi (7 black spices from Kyoto). Michel Troigros, Yannick Alleno and Pascal Barbot are regulars in the boutique.

Mr Kuroda came to Paris in 1971 as a financial journalist for Japanese TV. Not finding good Japanese food, he decided to open a restaurant which he called BIZAN (the name comes from a hill on the Ille of Shikoku, off Japan, where he was born). “It was a hobby, now it's a passion”, he admits. Recognised as the finest connaisseur of saké in Europe, Mr Kuroda says that during a Japanese meal Saké stimulates the palate, brings out the flavour of the food. “Tsukimi-Zaké, drink a glass of saké while looking at the moon”, he suggests. BIZAN also features a fine list of French wines, teas and champagnes.The menus change daily, according to the market (Rungis) and what arrives from Japan. . So Bi-Zen at BIZAN. Don't hesitate.

BIZAN

56 rue Saint Anne, 2nd (Metro: Bourse)

T: 01 42 96 67 76

Average Spend:

Lunch with miso soup 25€

Kaiseki Degustation 100€

Seasonal Tastin Menu 150€

Bizan Tastine Menu 60€ or A La Carte

Shut Sat Lunch & Sunday.

Workshop Isse et Cie,

11 rue Saint Augustin, 2nd

Open 7/7 11am-7pm

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