“I have some extremely distressing news – we’ve just run out of wine.” — Richard E. Grant, Withnail & I, 1987.
With Le Confinement set to continue until at least 11th May, here’s some comforting news from the foodie frontlines.
#Ducasse chez Moi
International multi-star superchef Alain Ducasse has “le lockdown sorted”– you can eat at your favorite Ducasse addresses without leaving home. Tuesday to Friday 10am- 5pm (24 hours in advance) choose mouthwatering dishes from Champeaux, Aux Lyonnais, Adjugé, Rech, Spoon, Allard, Benoît, and Cucina-Mutualité plus a selection of wines, soft drinks, and yes, dreamy desserts… Tiramisu anyone? When it arrives, pop it in the fridge, and smile: “Of course I made it.”
Tel: +33 (0)6 22 58 55 90. Email: [email protected]
The brigade chez Cafe Constant, on rue St. Dominique in the 7th, together with chef Christian Constant cooked 200 duck breasts, 25 kilos of lingot beans and 25 kilos of sausages (ingredients supplied by Maison Jean Larnaudie) resulting in a giant sizzling traditional south-west France style cassoulet, divided into 165 portions, then presented to Hôpital Necker to the epicurean delight of the staff. (By the way, the chef is World Champion of Cassoulet). “They’re saving lives on the front line every day, it’s the least we can do to show our appreciation,” insists the chef. “We have lots of emails from the staff, thanking us, which is a lovely surprise,” adds Catherine Constant. In the meantime 7/7 order a mouthwatering three course take home meal from Café Constant’s daily changing menu (collect between 11hrs-17hrs – or via Deliveroo). The cost is 22€ + wine. And, don’t miss the Facebook “how to make” videos.
Since March 23rd, the Moma Group’s chefs and brigades have been cooking for the Service Réanimation Babinski at Le Pitié Salpêtriere hospital. On the menu is pumpkin soup, blanquette de veau Piémont rice, followed by lemon tart by Marc Veyrat at Rural, Porte Maillot. Gyozas and Thaï rice gambas – from Club 13 in the 8th; Quinoa, anticuchos y choclo from Peru by Gaston Acurio at Manko, 8th and La Gare, 16th. “We’re saying #merciauxsoignants.”
Brittany born Christopher Hierax, Pudlo 2017 Fishmonger of the Year, supplies top chefs such as Christian Le Squer, Eric Frechon Alain Ducasse and Pascal Barbot. Before le confinement, you could “go fishing” at 1, rue Bois Le Vent, the covered Marché Couvert de Passy or at 57, rue de la Pompe, 16th and the Annexe Traiteur, 35 rue de l’Annonciation, 16th. Now, the catch of the day can be delivered to your door throughout France. “My seafood counter’s just a click away”, says Hierax. Vacuum packed fish will keep for eleven days – compared to three for traditional vacuum packs. According to the market, choose fish, aperitif boxes complete with mouthwatering online recipe suggestions. In Hierax’s net – turbot, sole, saint-pierre, cod, red mullet, sar, sole, seabass, crustaceans and seasonal shellfish.
In pre-confinement days Rungis was strictly only for catering professionals. Take advantage since now they’re delivering a vast range of fruit, veg, spices, cheese, eggs, meats, chicken, via the “Rungis Delivered to your door” site. Minimum charge is €80 and, at the time of writing delivery’s free !
The Italian market adapts to the unprecedented health crisis currently affecting France/the world, streaming its know-how in the field of “eating well” at the service of nursing staff of Paris’ Public Assistance-Hospitals.
They are cooking daily meals for the teams of “Covid- 19” at Bichat Hospital in the 18th, five days a week, for the duration of the crisis.
To quote Eataly: “With this initiative, Eataly Paris Marais and its teams mark their contribution to national solidarity and express their profound respect and infinite gratitude to those who work tirelessly to resolve this unprecedented situation.”
Need to Know: The lively food concept (with 35+ locations in Italy and worldwide) opened its doors in 2019 in the heart of the Marais district at 37, rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, showcasing over 2,500 m2 of high-end Italian products selected from responsible/sustainable artisans, breeders and producers. Order online; they’ll deliver for a charge from €8.50-€25 depending on location. Ciao Bella!
Many find the bean-to-bar chocolate makers products addictive; the Paris boutique at 189, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré is so romantic. From the start of the lockdown, more than 2,000 chocolate bars were distributed by Maison Bonnat to everyday heroes. The House is now launching Operation La Tablette des Héros. For 30 bars sold, a carton of 30 tablets will be sent to a hospital, clinic, retirement home, fire station, police station or other service essential to our safety or well-being.
Chef Samin Nosrat’s intriguing four part docuseries – based on her book of the same name – makes lovely lockdown watching – recalling back in the day when we could journey freely to Liguria and taste the finest olive oils, make pesto, focaccia, learn the fine art of butchering, salute the famous red cows from which Parmigiano cheese is made. As Ms Nosrat writes in the introduction to her book: “Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or you’re an accomplished chef, there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste: salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies the flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food.”
Lead photo credit : Eataly Paris. Photo: Thibaut Voisin