Lafayette Gourmet is the crème de la crème of French grocery stores. This particular store is modeled like a department store with floors and floors of only the highest quality groceries, home-goods, and eateries - seriously a foodie's wonderland! Lafayette Gourmet is located just blocks from (my favorite) the Opéra de Paris and is also walkable from a few touristy locations, like the Louvre Museum.
Before walking around the store, we pre gamed with lattes, looking over the Lafayette Gourmet floor map, strategizing our next move (and bite!).
We began with the pastry and dessert counter, and it was dreamy.
Then a gorgeous display of spices caught our eye. We sifted through dry spices, loose leaf teas, and salts, getting a nose full of everything.
We strolled by some beautiful gourmet salami and cured hams, all dangling like decorations.
And then, we turned the corner and I gasped. There, on the ground floor, someone was carving fresh prosciutto from a hoofed ham leg. It was so beautiful! The precision and skill needed to carve each slice is enough to stress anyone out but the butcher was calm, cool, and collected. Even occasionally smiling - hey, he's got a good gig!
Hand carving prosciutto is the most difficult but preferred method for slicing a preserved ham hock. Fun Fact: because of the way the ham is vertically hung when preserving, the meat towards the foot tastes sweeter, while the thigh meat tends to be more salty. When hand slicing, you are able to get super thin, uniform slices and get a better variety of both the sweet and salty flavors.
While continuing around the store, my Mom picked up some loose leaf tea, appropriately named 'Happy Birthday', in preparation for her big upcoming 60th celebration.
We checked out some of the lunch selections, with plenty of options to choose from. Picking between warm crusty pizza, fresh cured baguette sandwiches, and Asian dumplings was difficult, with each location sporting a hefty line of hungry customers.
We then glided down the escalator to see the produce, seafood, cheese, and fresh meat selections.
I saw so many unique tomatoes and bunches of white asparagus, just like at Marché d’Aligre. I am starting to think they are the national produce of France!
Entering the seafood section, I came face-to-face with a massive, live, spiny lobster! The tail alone was about a foot long with no claws, and extremely thin and spider-like legs. The spiny lobster was very
The cheese and cold cuts counter was making my mouth water. I held myself back from grabbing some crackers and digging in!
Our last stop was to the La Cave wine cellar, housing more than 2,500 wine labels and spectacular champagne displays. We spotted bottles from 1945 and others priced at 15,000 Euros! La Cave felt like a wine museum.. but you can actually buy the artwork!