Soufflé, s'il vous plaît?


My first week has ended, and my experience gets better and better every minute. Our globalization and consumer behavior marketing courses have been demanding yet engaging. The afternoon and evening discoveries of sites, cafés and shops will be etched in my mind forever. I just don't think it's going to hit me that I'm HERE in Europe until I'm sitting on the plane next month.

I have checked many more sights off my list, including some new food experiences to share with you, my wonderful foodie audience.

Le Bon Marche

Imagine Bergdorf's. Now imagine the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin. Now imagine them combined...and on steroids!

My friends and I walked in the doors in utter amazement. I've never seen so much luxury fashion in one place. The building itself blew my mind, but the shoes, bags, clothes and jewelry were literally unlike any other. I knew I was in the fashion capital of the world as soon as I entered.

The department store is attached to Le Grande Epicerie, or "The Great Market," where we picked up dinner and specialty foods to stock the apartment. I'm pretty positive we spent an hour roaming the aisles and departments, which housed the most unbelievable assortment of meats, fish, produce, cheeses, wines, prepared foods and dessert. I wish I could've bought it all to bring home to Memphis and cook with...too bad the food would not last and my wallet would be empty.

I settled on a few items that I knew I couldn't find at our local grocery or anywhere else in Paris. First, fresh wheat raisin bread, which I will pair with a strawberry jam from Honfleur and Brie. Next, Chardonnay. The cheapest item in my basket, as always. Next, fresh blackberries - plump and bright violet - and soft almond cookies from the bakery. For dinner, I found Vietnamese rice paper "ravioli" in the prepared foods section with shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, basil and brown rice. The sweet soy sauce on the side didn't overpower the filling, and I enjoyed getting in my Asian fix!

The sweet ending to our Le Bon Marche experience was that we ate in the park next door. The spontaneous piqué nique was relaxing and let us take in the extraordinary department store and market.

Le Soufflé

After a fancy dinner at Chez Flottes in the first district (or arrondissement), we immediately began another venture for dessert.

Coincidentally, we didn't have to look far. We turned ONE corner and I read the sign "Le Soufflé." Then it clicked! My dear friend Bunny had recommended the spot for the "best soufflés in the city."

We walked in and were humorously placed in the back room since we had not made a reservation beforehand. But our tight booth did not take away from the experience - we were there for soufflé, si vout plais!

We ordered the classic chocolate and caramel soufflés. While tempted to order another bottle of wine, we stuck with water. The soufflés arrived quickly, popping over the serving dish and literally calling our names. The waiter cut into the chocolate soufflé and poured steaming hot chocolate sauce in the center. Hannah was closing my jaw at this point.

The soufflés were divine but surprisingly different from American soufflés. They were more mild, less rich, and evenly fluffy and foamy throughout. In America, the center is usually raw, almost like an uncooked brownie. I enjoyed mine at Le Soufflé because of their lighter, airy texture that was more satisfying than overwhelming.

Hannah also asked for a side of vanilla ice cream. Great call. It melts beautifully with the warm soufflé.

Stumbling upon the best soufflé in town was just what the doctor ordered - it was the perfect ending to another perfect week in Paris. Below are a few more shots!

goat cheese, honey, arugula from au metro