Visiting the Librairie Gourmande has been on my Things I Must Do In Paris list for longer than I care to admit, and especially since I just discovered it is a 5-minute walk from my apartment and that I had passed by it many a time and never noticed! From what I understand, it is THE culinary bookstore in Paris and any respectable cook worth their weight in fleur de sel goes there. Who knew? Not me, obviously!
My friend Sophie, one of the pastry chefs I worked with at the George V, asked me to meet her there so off I went, map in one hand and visa card in the other. I am like Imelda Marcos in a shoe store when I get within 100 feet of a bookstore, not to mention a COOKbook store!, so I knew I had to practice restraint.
I keep forgetting "librairie" does not equal library and I was expecting a large, office-like building, not an unassuming little Parisian shop. But that did not deter it from stocking what looked like every cookbook ever written! We spent 2 hours turning page after page of the most beautiful pictures of mesmerizing platings and spectacular desserts.
I asked the woman if I could have one of every book. She stared at me stone-faced. My humor was lost on her so rather than cause her more pain by trying to explain myself in my 2nd grade level French, I simply handed her 2 books and my visa card. I was looking for ideas more than recipes (since I can't read French unless I have a dictionary on one side of me and my roommate on the other) so compelling photos of food that I could re-create or that would give me ideas was key. As was being written in English, so I bought one of each.
Agrumes: Le soleil dans les verres et dans les assiettes, by Armin Zogbaum (in French)
The title translates literally to Citrus Fruits: The sun in the glasses and the plates. You get the jist. I love citrus fruits and even more so cooking with them and this little book is chock full of wonderful recipes all using an agrume!
a little taste of france, by Maria Villegas (in English, thank goodness!) offers traditional French recipes that have been simplified and modernized (read: easy) with stunning photography of local country markets, cheese stands, etc. There are many of the same recipes that I studied in cooking school but with half the ingredients and a quarter of the steps! My kind of cooking!
I'll let you know when I make something from these books.
Until then, bon appetit et mangi bene :-)
4 rue Dante
+33 (0)1 43 53 37 27
Fax : 01 43 54 31 16
Web : http://www.librairie-gourmande.fr
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org