A walking food tour is a great way to get under the skin of a city or region, to hear its heartbeat and feel its joy. There’s no substitute for an insider’s knowledge and love of their own patch.
One such is Le Marais Paris Food Tour run by The Tour Guy, not just one person but a collection of travellers sharing their love of various cities in small groups. Originally the Jewish quarter in Paris, the Marais is a quirky, hip neighbourhood now which includes the historic buildings of the original Paris food markets Les Halles, though the market itself has since moved. The three hour tour combines both architectural and culinary heritage, with some history thrown in for good measure.
There’s nothing like champagne and freshly shucked oysters to put a smile on your face, at L’iliot, especially when tour guide Gabriella expounds on the origins and evolution of both. Contrast the apparent fruitiness of the champagne with the saltiness of a Fin de Claire oyster from Brittany and Issigny from Normandy and all is right with the world.
Every street has something to offer, as you wind your way to the oldest market in Paris founded in 1628. Marché des Enfants Rouges has everything including cheese tasting with red wine. So named as there was an orphanage nearby which dressed the children in red. This is a stand-up market stall, open until 8pm with a dizzying number of cheeses on offer. Gabriella advises to eat from the softest to lightest. Try a triangular-shaped sheep’s milk Brebis, a Brie Melun from Isle de France, a Tomme de Chèvre with nettles, Comte from Franche-Comté-Compte with a glass of fabulous Bordeaux. Partaking in this, I am in heaven – and so would anyone be.
This is such an exciting area and you see so much more when you walk, so many shops, bars restaurants, quirky holes-in-the-wall and other interesting places – along with an insider’s view. Next offering is fabulous takeaway falafel from Chez Marianne in the Jewish area, just in case you are a tad peckish (really?) en route to La Cidrerie du Marais, where cider is traditionally served in a cup with four different crêpes which are traditional in Normandy and Brittany. A notable inclusion is a cider from Normandy, made with a secondary fermentation in a similar way to champagne.
The evening closes at Le Cafe de Musee for classic Boeuf Bourguignon, with wine to match, of course. Then, if you can, crème caramel. You too, can enjoy this happy tour if you are in Paris. Details here.