Food File: the weekly food news round-up

Lovely French things to buy and read

Sat, Jul 13, 2013, 01:00

Gallic gems in Irish shops
Françoise Gilley is originally from Saumur in the Loire Valley and runs Terroirs, the wine and food shop in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 with her husband, Seán. From her shop’s cache of French artisan products, she suggests trying Le Petit Duc nougat (€6.50). It’s made in Saint Rémy de Provence by Anne Daguin and Hermann Van Beek, who use no artificial flavours in their confectionery. Gilley also rates La Trinquelinette confiture d’abricot (€5.95), made with organic apricots in very small batches in copper pans by a former fruit farmer, Bernard Bérilley.

Jennifer King, marketing manager at Fallon & Byrne says she’s “really loving” the Aix et Terra range, which has just arrived in the Exchequer Street shop. There are cherry, rose and violet confits (€5.95-€7.95) – “to add a flourish to summer cakes, crèmes and sorbets”, and La Tourangelle pure nut oils (pictured, €5.95-€12.95). And she can’t resist the cheese counter’s Brie de Meaux with Perigord truffles (€58 per kg).

Niamh Douglas works at food sourcing company Odaios Foods. Her choices from a vast portfolio of delicious things are La Fermière clay pot yoghurts, and Valrhona’s Dulcey “blonde”, a new type of chocolate. The yoghurts, which you can buy in food shops including Avoca, Donnybrook Fair and Morton’s, are made with organic and unprocessed ingredients including whole milk and double cream. Dulcey “blonde” chocolate was discovered when a chef at Valrhona’s L’Ecole du Grand Chocolat forgot about some white chocolate he was melting. Ten hours later, it had taken on the aroma of caramelised milk and shortbread. It’s now used to make a variety of bars you can buy at Valrhona stockists.

Kate Saul, general manager at Cocoa Atelier , has just introduced La Tarte Tropezienne to customers of the chocolate shop on Drury Street in Dublin 2. The brioche and vanilla crème patissiere confections are topped with sugar crystals and come in a cute mini size (€1.30) as well as a large tarte that must be pre-ordered and costs €19.95. Cocoa Atelier also sells the ever popular macaron and chocolate eclair, and is introducing a range of French tarts and gateaux.

French food books
The French Market Cookbook, by Clotilde Dusoulier, Clarkson Potter, £15.99 and Goose Fat & Garlic, by Jeanne Strang, Kyle Books, £14.99
The timing of the arrival of The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier couldn’t be better: if we’re not already filling our chic wicker baskets at a French summer market, then we’re counting the days til it’s our turn to do so (or bemoaning the fact that it’s just not going to happen, this year).

This latest offering from the Paris-based cook majors on vegetables. It has been a three-year project – nothing Dusoulier does is less than meticulously researched, and it’s now available from

Goose Fat & Garlic, an updated version of a classic first published 20 years ago, couldn’t be more different. Hearty, meaty and full of the flavours of the south-west, it includes lots of very traditional recipes from this region of France, peppered with anecdotes garnered over 40 years living there.

Café au lait
Niamh Banks, who was project manager for the opening of Avoca’s Rathcoole and Belfast shops, is now running Mayfield Merchant, a kitchenware and gift shop where you’ll find lots of covetable things, like these pretty French-inspired enamel coffee pots (€35). The shop is an extension of the Mayfield Café in Terenure Road North and is open seven days a week.

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