Sunday, October 22, 2006

Goat cheese dreams

An amazing “Feuillete au chevre”, or in my translation: a goat cheese pastry. You might be able to tell that I was so excited to eat this that I forgot to take the picture until halfway through the pastry!
Another pastry from the same shop! Delicious!

As promised, I am forwarding my favorite French cheese pastry find to fellow blogger The Girl Who Ate Everything, who is studying in Paris right now and needs to experience it! I must apologize that it has taken me so long to send this information to my fellow bakery hunter. As the Girl Who Eats Everything, I am sure that she has no time to spare when finding out about the best goat cheese creations in town. Unfortunately, since my last trip to Paris in June, I have yet to properly organize all of the business cards, receipts, food stained scraps of paper and eating related scribbles that serve as records of my French food hunts. Finally, I am getting my act together for the purposes of The Great American Bakery Hunt, so without further ado: the goat cheese pastry to end all other goat cheese pastries.

Go forth, bakery hunters, hop on a plane the next chance you get, and try D. Sylla’s Boucherie de l’Étoile for yourself. Because his goat cheese pastry, or “Feuillete au chevre”, will change your life!

It’s truly scrumptious, and I fell for it so hard that I had to return back to this butcher shop several times during my last stay in Paris. The dough that wraps around the goat cheese center is just the right amount of flaky, and the cheese inside is just strong enough, just crumbly enough. The first time I sank my teeth into it, it was clear this was a special find. I tried a similar pastry from a different shop, one that actually specializes in cheese products, but there was no match for D. Sylla.

The tricky thing about this butcher shop (if you don’t speak much French) is that no one who works there speaks English, not even a little. But the good news is that the two men who work here are so genuinely nice that they are willing to resort to gestures to communicate with their customers. When ordering, there will be two cheese pastry options. Make sure you try the more expensive one-- I promise that it’s worth it!

Another tip: My first glimpse of the pastries happened when they were featured in the window display. But it is possible that you may not see any signs of these pastries in the shop. Before you curse my name for leading you on a wild goat cheese pastry hunt, try an inquiry with the butcher. Don’t fret, non-French speakers. Try your best French, or just gesture, until D.Sylla gets the gist of what you are after. At this point, he will go to a nearby refrigerator and pull out his selection, and although the goat cheese pastry is the most exceptional, he also has some meat pastries that are very tasty. There was one with ham, mushrooms and cheese and another with rabbit and pâté inside, and both were delicious.

D. Sylla clearly appreciates those that are hunting for an exceptional pastry. After the third consecutive visit of the week, he was so taken with the enthusiasm of his newfound American customers that he slipped some free sausages in the bag with the pastries. True to form, D. Sylla achieved excellence in his sausage sales as well, as these thin small sausages proved quite the tasty treat on the plane ride back home.

You can also find roasted chicken outside, which is excellent and makes for a decently priced dinner. Don’t be shy with the chicken, and make sure you buy some of those potatoes that rest underneath of it. As the chicken cooks, the juices from the poultry continue to coat the potatoes, and this collaboration between the ingredients transforms this into an outstanding feast that begs to find its way into your stomach. A similar chicken and potato duo is recreated in Orange County at none other than the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market off of Forest Avenue, so for all of you locals, you can find that on Saturdays starting at 8 AM and lasting until noon (but make sure to go a bit before the market closes if you have your heart set on it-- the potatoes will sell out, and from experience, I can tell you that Felix the chicken-potato man does not enjoy being the bearer of bad news!)

For those lucky enough to be in Paris, you also have to be wary of closing times. Some stores have business hours that are quite different from the US, where they close down around the afternoon for a few hours, and then return again afterwards. Beware of this as you venture out to the shops and hunt for food.

Boucherie de l’Étoile
D. Sylla
27 Rue des Acacias
75017 Paris
Tel: 01 43.80-12-63

If you’re around Paris, hunt down Boucherie de l’Étoile by taking Metro Line 1 toward La Defense. Metro stop: Argentine

D. Sylla also has a variety of Spanish and Italian hams, sausages, and meats in his shop. There are a few wines to choose from along with some salads, so if you want to spring for an excellent picnic, you’re in the right spot.

Picnic fixingsFull of melancholy, I get ready to feast upon my last pastry of the trip

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