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Around Faustine’s desk on the Rive Gauche: Spanish deli Ibérique Gourmet
Next up in the series by our office manager Faustine Cressot, giving you regular glimpses of the neighborhood around her desk on the rue de Verneuil, is an interview with gourmet grocers Marie and Angel at Ibérique Gourmet.
I recently visited deli Ibérique Gourmet to seek out some typical Spanish delicacies. Marie and Angel’s shop opened in 2012 at 3 rue Paul-Louis Courrier right next to the rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement (district). They explained to me the art of Spanish cuisine and told me about their top quality products. In their brand new bistro-restaurant Tourette, close by at 70 rue de Grenelle, they transform their products into appetizing dishes.
Tell me about the Ibérique Gourmet concept
We are high quality delis offering a selection of the best Spanish foods. The first store opened three years ago in the 5th arrondissement and we’ve just celebrated the first anniversary of this one in the 7th.
Our main product, which typifies Spanish cuisine, is charcuterie: meat from pigs fed on acorns and prized by chefs around the world, pork filet and chorizo sausage. We also sell seafood products from the Cantabrian coast of northern Spain, supplied by Zallo, who selects locally-caught white tuna, mini-sardines and anchovy filets. All of these products are selected with respect for the environment and for quality as priorities.
Naturally, they are accompanied by a selection of Spanish wines: Priorat from Catalonia, Montsant and local country wines. We continue to increase our range and we go to select the products personally and at specialist food and wine fairs.
What is the history of the concept? How did it come about?
While traveling in Spain, the owner, Olivier Morin, was very impressed with the ham and said that Parisians should be able to enjoy it and see how it’s prepared. A master carver enhances the quality of the ham by the way he or she slices it. The ritual surrounding this has also become part of the legend. Our restaurant, Tourette, was born from this idea. The ham is prominently displayed there and everything is fresh and cooked at the last minute.
Why did you choose this location?
It’s a neighborhood frequented by artists, travelers and tourists with a certain purchasing power. The appealing character of the rue du Bac, with all these commerces de bouche [literally, a business in the mouth trade], shows that the people who live here appreciate good quality and are interested in trying new things. We can introduce people to different products and they can taste them if they aren’t sure – in a relaxed setting.
Also, we fell in love with this store, which has a real spirit of its own. Tourette was formerly a café-cum-coal merchant’s shop* and we’ve tried to retain as many of the original features as possible. The spirit of the place is important.
[*Note: Parisian coal merchants were very often immigrants from the Auvergne and Aveyron areas of central France. Known as ‘bougnats’, they frequently combined their coal trading with a neighborhood café at the front of the store and sometimes a hotel or restaurant. The premises were also known as a ‘bougnat’.]
What is your signature product?
The most popular products are the ham and the mini-sardines/anchovies.
Who are your clients? Do some of them come from other neighborhoods?
Our regular clientele come in every week. There is some passing trade but it’s a small street so we have to market ourselves as well. Some people come to buy a particular product, such as liquid turron [nougat. The liquid version is used as a sauce for desserts and ice cream]. They look for it on the Internet and usually make a special trip to find it. Most of our products are available online on our website.
What do you like the most in this neighborhood?
The quality of life and the tranquility that you don’t always find in other areas of Paris. It’s also a great neighborhood for getting to know people and helping each other out, whether it’s our customers or other professionals in the food business. Local suppliers provide us with fresh produce for our restaurant, Tourette, and a wine expert helps us to promote our products.
What is your favorite secret address in Paris?
Le Moka is a simple neighborhood bar in the rue Alain Chartier next to the La-Motte-Piquet-Grenelle market in the 15th arrondissement. Every Sunday after the market everyone congregates in the bar to share and sample their purchases – with a good glass of wine. What I like most there is the mixture of cultures and the friendly atmosphere.
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