OverviewMany of you ask me where I found an item, or whether a particular thing is a good buy, or which brand is best for this or that. So I have brought together on this page the addresses of my favourite suppliers, products, tools, and good books on subjects that interest us.
Of course these choices are very subjective and somewhat random, but I have dealt with those listed here, and I am a satisfied customer or user of their products.
If you contact them, you can mention the recommendation on this site if you wish. Perhaps long term, if there are enough of us, they will offer us a discount :-).
|Huile d'olive||If (like me) you like olive oil, then you need to try what Arnaud Gillet produce, near Heraklion in Creta, from his own olives tree (see video).|
This is of course an excellent virgin olive oil, delivered to you in record time, and straight from producer to consumer. See his website, terre2crete.com for more information (pricing, delivery time, etc..).
|Jura wines||As a loyal customer of the Rolet Estate in the town of Arbois in the Jura, I recommend in particular their "Cotes du Jura" white, mostly savagnin grapes with a litle chardonnay.|
|Vins d'Anjou||Even more loyal to the Moulin de Chauvigné estate in Rochefort sur Loire. The winemaker is a lady (rare enough to be worth mentioning). Sylvie Termeau produces the full range of wines from Anjou, but I have a weakness for the "Savennières", a very fruity dry white. I recomend this wine all the more as I had the opportunity to harvest with Sylvie and therefore to see how it is made. By the way, if you have the opportunity to spen a day harvesting, do it! It's a magical moment where you can see, touch and taste the wine as it is being (and probably give yourself a bad back at the same time!) made.|
|Flour||I encourage you to go to the Siohan Mill, based in the mill of Coat-Meret in Lanhouarneau, Finistère. The boss is a very nice guy (and a master in flour), and the mill is well worth seeing.|
|Organic vegetables||Finistère again, if you want good organic vegetables in a weekly basket, see what les voisins bio offer.|
|Utensils and products for chefs and bakers||In Angers: Fuseau shop, rue Charles Lacretelle, 49070 BEAUCOUZE. Tel: +33 (0)2 41 35 10 90 (huge shop to the left of Décathlon) where you can find utensils and especially products and ingredients (dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, abricot glaze, etc.) at trade prices. Also an aisle of papers, packaging, boxes.|
|Wines||In Brest : Bacchus wine merchant, a wide choice of good wines from the best wine merchant in town.|
Tools and utensils
|Kitchen tools||In Paris: "Mora" shop in les Halles district, a kind of Ali-baba's cave (but not free) dedicated to tools for cookery and baking. Mostly aimed at professionals, but you and I can go in. See their website for more details.|
If you are in the area, cross the street, walk 50 metres North in the rue Montmartre and you will find a good similar shop: A. Simon.
In Besançon: Same choice and variety in the Bersot shop (Planoise district), 6 rue Edouard Belin, 25000 Besançon. Tel: +33 (0)3 81 51 74 74.
|Food Processor/Mixer||I'm a Kenwood fan, I had a 600 watts "Chef" model for 15 years, which seemed unbreakable, but it finally packed up. I now have a 1500 watts "Major Titanium".|
These "kitchen robots" are fully multi-purpose, they can knead, whip, cut, mix, blend, etc. so are really useful.
This "Major Titanium" is very good, but I have noticed a reduction in quality of the motor, especially on minimum speed. It seems that Kenwood was bought by Delonghi, and since then it's not been the same, such a pity ...
|Gourmet whip||For gourmet whips there is a fairly simple hierarchy: ISI, and the others. ISI is an Austrian brand that manufactures an extremely solid (steel) gourmet whip, effective, and easy to clean. They are available everywhere now in various sizes, but for family use, a capacity of 0.5 litre is fine.|
|Cartridges for gourmet whip||Get N2O cartridges, (nitrogen tetroxide, silver or gold), instead of CO2 (grey) because the silver ones are neutral, while the grey can add a little acidity.|
|Ice Cream Maker||Magimix make a sophisticated ice cream maker that has its own power unit for cooling, so nothing to put in the freezer in advance, and cold that's constant and for as long as you need.|
Okay, it's expensive (around 500 euros) but it's an investment that is really worthwhile if you like ice cream.
|Wooden baker's peel||Since 1916 the firm of Barbier have been making and selling wooden peels for professional and amateur bakers.|
They can sell you many kinds of wooden tools, all in solid, natural, high quality wood. I especially appreciate their rectangular peel with square section handle, for ease of handling, that you see in this photo - a must!
|Cooking bags||Oven cooking bags can be found in supermarkets or professional shops.|
Trade mark "Nalophan" is a kind of long tube (10 feet), which you cut with scissors to the size of cooking bag you need.
|Pan with removable handle||In some recipes you will sometime need a pan that can be used on the hob and then in the oven. For this chefs use pans made entirely of metal, and they always use a towel to hold the metal (and sometimes very hot) handle.|
Because our amateur cooking pans have plastic handles, putting them in the oven would be catastrophic. Fortunately, you can now find pans with removable handles. This is very useful: you use it as a normal pan and when it's time to put it in the oven (or dish washer), just press two buttons, and with a click the handle's off.
I recommend the Ingenio system by Tefal: a range of pans in various diameters and depths, and one handle that you can use on all of them.
|"Desserts and Pastries ("Faites votre pâtisserie") by Gaston Lenôtre is for me THE ultimate cake and pastry book. I have learned all the basics (pastry, tarts, cream, cakes, and much more) from it, and it was a present from my mum 20 years ago, can you imagine?|
Very educational, the book has been widely reprinted and translated. The edition that I have has a photo of the master on the cover, instead of the charlotte you see now.
Objectively, the layout of the book is a bit dated, the photos are a bit old style and too few. But (and that's the important point), all the recipes are timeless. In short, you needed this in your library!
After this first opus, Gaston Lenôtre (who died in 2009) published several other books, in particular: "Ice Creams and Candies" ("Faites votre glâces et votre confiserie").
|"Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Food" ("Révélations gastronomiques") is the first book by Hervé This, a chemist at the College de France, who specialised in kitchen chemistry. He is the originator of the famous molecular gastronomy.|
But he is first and foremost an excellent teacher, who explains everything and makes it seem so simple ... This is a cookbook, but for each recipe, This explains how and why things happen: why whipped egg-whites froth up, why cut fruit browns, why beaten yolks turn pale, etc.
|"The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery" ("Ma cuisine") by Auguste Escoffier, a legend of French cooking from the last century.|
Hundreds of recipes in this book, almost no pictures, but it is a museum piece, extraordinary to leaf through, and speaks of a cuisine and way of life long past with delightfully old-fashioned charm.
An example about coffee: "A carefully prepared coffee, taken some time after the meal, helps digestion. Coffee likes to be served in the lounge; as his suave aroma develops it goes to the head, wakes the spirit and adds flair to the conversation."