When was the last time you got a French geography lesson with your lunch?
For me, it was last month, at Epicerie Saint-Sabin, a new grocery store/wine cave/café near the Bastille, when owner Laurent Pataille ran down the sandwich choices scratched on the chalkboard near his impeccable deli counter.
I learned that le Noir de Bigorre ham comes from the northern slopes of the Pyrenees; Laguiolle cheese, pronounced “la-yol” and similar to Cantal, is made in the Aveyron; and that tourte de meule is a delicious whole grain sourdough bread made throughout France.
I ordered a sandwich made from all three ingredients, and the lesson didn’t end there. M Pataille also recommended a wine I had never heard of: Fitou, (Champs de Soeurs 2011)—a luscious red apellation from Languedoc-Roussillon.
Wines from Cahors, Marcillac, Fronton, Gascogne, Roussillon; fresh and packaged edibles from Aveyron, Lot, Gars, Hautes-Pyrénées and Toulouse; tins of smoked mackeral, syrup made from poppies, candy made from violets, hazelnut cake from Rouergue, a commune in the Aveyron—the shop is dedicated to terroir.
My sandwich and glass of wine (at 3:00 in the afternoon, when it’s not always easy to find a bite to eat) were the high point of the day, and at 9.50€ a bargain. Especially when you include the duck sausage that tided me over while my sandwich was being prepared. And not to mention the high price of schooling.
Have you been there? Tell us what you think!