After the croissants from Pierre Hermé, we got onto the metro (subway) and headed to the cooking supplies stores in the 1st/2nd arrondissement. If I ever won the lotto (U.S., not local Philippine one which may not be enough), I would head straight to E. Dehillerin, spend a hefty portion of the winnings, and send dozens of balikbayan boxes home filled with every cooking doodad you ever thought you would need, and several hundred more that you didn’t know existed. This store is a cook’s dream in 3D. I didn’t want to raise the ire of their salespeople, so I didn’t take any pictures inside the store, but suffice it to say you have to see it/experience it to believe it.
It isn’t known to many, but they have an on-line presence and you can order stuff from them that they will ship to you just about anywhere in the world, but that’s no fun, you have to experience the store to get the full effect. I lusted after this ham stand on a marble base displayed in the window that wasn’t really that outrageously expensive, but I realized I just couldn’t carry it (too heavy) back to the apartment AND transport it to London on a train… But my heart skipped a beat when I discovered the most amazing copper ham pots (they call them braising pots and they are rectangular in shape, see here) in the basement of the store (in 3-4 sizes!). I have wanted a ham/braising pot like this (not quite single-use utensil, but close) for years, and I decided I was going to acquire one, even if it meant lugging it back to Manila. It was, in my mind, going to be my 50th birthday present to myself. So a salesman was engaged, Mrs. MM asked him for the price of the pot, and he miraculously quoted a price of say Euro180 or so, which, while pricey, was far less than I expected this ginormous, thick and hammered copper pot that could easily fit a 24-26 pound ham.
I excitedly gestured and asked for the large pot, and he agreed to bring it up. But then, as usual, when things sound too good to be true, they often are. He came up from the basement with the most chagrined of looks that I have ever seen on a Parisian salesman’s face. He apologized profusely and said he had made a horrible mistake. THAT particular copper ham pot was more like Euro780 (Euro804 on line it seems) or so, and he was so sorry he had given us the wrong price. Oh well, much more than I could afford or wanted to pay. Maybe another time. But I did get the consuelo de bobo comment from him that only 1 or 2 of those pots are ever sold a year (hence his lack of familiarity with the right price), so I must have the most incredible taste in copper pots. I bet Martha Stewart bought the last two. She had the ham stand in one of her television programs and pointedly said she had “picked it up in Paris as her secret place”… now you know where. :)
But I didn’t leave empty handed. I got a more modest but even more useful goody at the shop. It’s what I am carrying in the last photo. Care to take a guess what it is?
P.S. And what enameled cast iron pots does E. Dehillerin display in their windows, and stock in a big way in their basement? Staub. Not Le Creuset. :)
A few more photos of the windows and their contents…