A trip to Paris, France is not complete for me without a trip to E. Dehillerin. Tucked on a quiet side street—-lined with shade trees—-is the mecca of culinary tools and copper-ware. They are the self-described “Specialists of Materials for Cuisine”. This establishment has been in existence since 1820 which is almost impossible to comprehend. However that is until you walk in the front door.
The store is chock-full with equipment heavy and light, classic and new, stainless and copper. From upstairs racks to downstairs shelves, the place is brimming with all types of equipment for catering, the home kitchen and hard-core culinary/chef professionals. Sometimes watching the patrons with their serious lists in hand, is just as much fun as fishing for gadgets. I always bring some small bobble home to remind me of my trip, and this trip was no exception. I found a spunky little tool that is similar to a vegetable peeler, however this makes skinny little strips. I used it on zucchini and seared the strips in olive oil, resembling noodles and garlic. Very healthy and colorful.
Behind the check-out counter is a pathetic photo of Julia Child. She made the store famous in my modern world, and as Frank the salesperson explained, they keep that picture there because it was shot in the corner, right there, he pointed—-to the left of the desk. The store is dusty, and in need of a very good spring cleaning. But if one can look past all that, the inventory is plentiful, and there is always something to touch, grab, discover, and figure out just how it might work. It is a “candy store” for culinary cohorts. Copper, stainless steel, cast iron, bronze. It’s all here. Tableware, silicon sheets, molds and tart pans, whisks—-they keep the French kitchen culture alive and well.
So what better place than this to explore and toast to Julia Child? She would be celebrating her 100th birthday today, August 15th, 2012. I remember my mother saving her coins to purchase for $10.00 “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” which I now have and hold close.
Happy Birthday Julia, and here’s to Pat too, who was always cutting recipe out of the paper as though she had just found a new treasure map!
It’s worth the effort to visit this store, and it is not too far from Gallerie Lafayette, with two buildings—on both sides of the street. Amazing architecture, international food market, and restaurants for tastings of food and wine at every turn.
18 Rue Coquilliere, Paris, France 75001