Pauline & Mathilde
Pauline et Mathilde,
our treasure hunters
Until 30 June, La Grande Épicerie de Paris sets its clocks to Italian time and invites you to discover the products that Italians can’t get enough of from morning to night.
We’re sitting down with Pauline and Mathilde, our treasure hunters, who are going to reveal everything to us. They have given us a sneak peek into the event and their trip to Italy to hunt out their prized products.
Tell us all about the event A Tavola at La Grande Épicerie de Paris!
Pauline : Italian cuisine is an integral part of the what is on offer at La Grande Épicerie de Paris. For the event
A Tavola*, we wanted to present
the essential items of Italian cuisine with six tables symbolising the main meals that punctuate the everyday lives of the Italian people. These are real moments when people come together, and are synonymous with sharing and pleasure.
Among these 6 tables we can find, la mattina*, the perfect Italian-style breakfast domenica*, the unmissable family Sunday lunch, alla spiaggia* and its sea products,alla campagna* showcasing the most traditional specialities, l’aperitivo*, the aperitif with friends or family, and to finish, I bambini* focusing on sweet treat for kids.
Why is Italian cuisine an essential feature at La Grande Épicerie de Paris?
Mathilde : Italian cuisine has been enjoying great success for many years. It is particularly appreciated in France for its quality, easy-to-cook products such as its pasta, sauce and cheese. The French are the biggest pizza-eaters in Europe, after Italy! We are also the second-biggest importers of Italian products, just behind Germany.
Pauline : We can observe a real market trend, with a specialised offering that continues to just grow and grow. Although it has become one of the most-loved specialities at La Grande Épicerie de Paris, it is still a cuisine we take great pleasure in rediscovering. For A Tavola*, we wanted to surprise our customers with a new selection to enrich our existing range in the store.
Tell us about your roles as product selectors. How have you chosen the producers and the products sold for A Tavola* ?
Pauline : We decided to work region by region, selecting the most typical products of each, such as the Amalfi lemon and Piedmont hazelnuts. We also ensure we select seasonal specialities, particularly the most flavoursome ones of flawless quality. After defining these different criteria, we set out in search of the best producers with whom we wished to collaborate. We prioritised small-scale Italian producers who were not yet selling their products in France.
Mathilde : Last December, we went off to Italy to meet them. Most of the companies we selected are family companies, such as Tanara, which specialises in Parma hams. It has been producing hams in the same way for 60 years. They all come from pigs reared in Italy. The salting is then carried out by hand, and then the hams are put to dry in front of large open windows and with the air of the neighbouring river.
To make our selection, we set off to find not only products, but also stories, actions and expertise.
More broadly speaking, for A Tavola, all our fresh stands are set up to reflect the authentic Italian style. For example, you can find Genoese octopus at our fishmongers, or creations from our chefs at the Pâtisserie, at the Boulangerie and at the Cuisine*.
Among the 160 products selected for the event, which are your top picks?
During our trip, I really fell for the burrata by the company Maldera.
Usually, we just taste the products, but this time I didn’t think twice about eating the whole thing despite it being really early in the morning! This burrata is made in Murge in the Puglia region from the milk of cows that graze freely in the open air. It is particularly creamy on the palate, and is one of the region’s most delicious specialities.
I also really liked the finocchiona sausage by Negrini. This Bologna company has been around since 1955. Today it is led by the grandson, Tino, who produces sausages from pigs reared in Italy. This sausage flavoured with fennel is an unusual Tuscan recipe, it is original and delicious. It must be discovered!
Pauline : I discovered an intensely fruity olive oil from Frisino. It is made in Puglia, a region known for its olives. Just a few drops is all it takes to enhance cheese, such as burrata, or a plate of pasta. This oil is used by many Parisian chefs.
This a real gauge of quality for us.
As for sweet things, I really enjoyed the
gâteau aux noisettes de chez Altalanga, made exclusively from organic Piedmont IGP hazelnuts, grown by the producer itself. Its sponge cake is really soft and its hazelnut flavour is particularly intense. You would think that it had just been made with fresh hazelnuts!
The crunchy mouthfuls by Vincente also made an impression on me. They are made from famous pistachios from Bronte, grown on the slopes of Etna. It is one of Sicily’s prized products. They go perfectly with coffee after a meal. Their beautiful packaging makes it a wonderful gift idea!
A Tavola!: Dinner’s ready! - * La mattina: the morning - * La domenica: Sunday - * Alla spiaggia: at the beach - * Alla campagna: in the countryside - * L’aperitivo: The apéritif - * I bambini: Children.
* The creations by the chefs of the Kitchen are only offered at the Rive Gauche store.