Friday, 20 May 2016

#WineGrapeChallenge 4: Hondarabbi Xuri

For those of the procreating variety half term dawns again and Facebook begins to be filled with humblebragging status updates about the queues at Gatwick or "treating myself to a glass of rose by the pool #blessed". For those of us not off sunning ourselves in foreign climes, knocking back cheap local plonk and thinking it’s the bee’s knees, spring can drag in the city.  Seemingly interminable rain showers make us wonder if summer might never arrive, or worse still has been and gone. Thankfully there has been the odd evening in the last couple of weeks like tonight when we can spend long evenings sat outside bars and restaurants behaving like we’re in the middle of San Sebastian rather than somewhere off Carnaby Street in the middle of Soho with a faint whiff of drains in the air. No matter- a hubbub of chatter and a plentiful supply of tapas can lead me to only one grape this week – Hondarrabi Zuri!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Paris: Kitchenware of Les Halles

Paris holds a special place in my heart having been obsessed with the likes of Edith Piaf, Montmartre and Toulouse Lautrec since my early teenage years and the sight of the light beaming out of the top of the Eiffel tower after sunset will never grow old. Once you've lost count of the number of hops you have made over (or under!) the channel , however, you probably aren't beating a path to the Louvre or Galeries Lafayette anymore. On my most recent visit, I decided to go a little more off the tourist track on this visit to find some very French kitchenware. Les Halles is probably the closest equivalent that Paris has to the Covent Garden in London. Once bustling with porters swerving trolleys around market traders shouting out their colourful array of food wares, for the most part its role as a central food market is consigned to history. Some hints as to the area's alimentary past remain however in the form of a treasure trove of shops. 

E Dehillerin
18 et 20 rue Coquillière 75001 Paris

The ultimate in French stores has to be Dehillerin. This shop is unbelievable. It is like stepping back at least 5 decades in time. It is incredibly dark Aladdin's cave rammed from floor to ceiling with weird and wonderful gadgets. If you are hoping to find a souvenir that you won't find anywhere else then Dehillerin is where you are going to find it. 

Nothing is priced but is instead labelled with a code. At the end of each row are brochures listing prices alongside all the codes. Confusing but I guess some of this stock has been here decades and its easier to change the brochure than the labels. 
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