It all began with a quest for grappa. Why my husband couldn't have just bought a good marc? But no he wanted Italian grappa. His search not only turned up good grappa at our first stop, but also an Aladdin's cave of Italian products at our second stop, the Au Village Italien.
There was everything you could want, hams, prosciuttos, salamis, oils, wines, dried and fresh homemade pastas of all sorts. The prepared foods and pizza made, even me, hungry for some good Italian food.
Au Village Italien, is spitting distance from République, and has been supplying Paris with Italian products since the end of Second World War. Their are shoppers who came with their grandparents and now shop with their grandchildren. The current owners have held the reigns for more than 27 years and all their prepared food and fresh pastas are made in a little kitchen at the back of the store.
We spent a good time looking at everything, then we spotted the burrata. The small hand written sign announcing that it was new addition to the cheese selection. We pounced on it. Burrata had been rare and pricier than usual this summer in Toronto and we'd only eaten it twice. As we'd already bought some heritage tomatoes in the Edgar-Quinet market earlier in the day we snapped it up. This started a conversation with another shopper, who had lived in Chicago for several years. He suggested that we try the wine from Sicily with a licorice taste. We passed on that and instead bought some canned Italian tomatoes, good canned tomatoes are not readily available in French supermarkets, and a slice of the marzipan torte, really a delicious, dense mixture of dried fruits mixed with almonds.
We plunged into long discussion with the owner about fat. Sometimes I just can't stop talking about it, and when I meet a fellow fat love. We both bemoaned the irrational fear of fat and how she no longer stocked good fatty pancetta, as no one would buy it. While there was no lardo di colonnata, she did have a wonderful piece of pork fat cured with hot peppers. This is one of the few stores that can tempt me away from my beloved French food.
Although this store is on the other side of Paris from our apartment, we've been back twice. We asked if she might have access fresh white truffles, part two of my husband's Italian quest this October (don't ask) but, alas no.
However, a couple of days latter while looking for seed bread, we stumbled on another Italian store closer to home. This tiny store had no burrata or marzipan torte but an inviting lunch counter and the chalk board announcing the arrival of something close to our hearts and stomachs. More soon....