Rachel Khoo

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Posted by Rachel

March 6th, 2013

Terroirs d’avenir

I’m a strong advocate that great things can happen in small spaces. So when one of the smallest streets in Paris welcomed a fabulous new produce retailer, I knew big things were sure to ensue. Terroirs d’avenir is tucked away on the little Rue du Nil (home to Gregory Marchand’s popular bars à vins and restaurant, Frenchie) in the heart of Paris’ 2nd arrondissement.

Pack your market bag, and get ready to stock up on fresh greens and produce, perhaps a slice of cheese, a handful of olives, some super-fresh seafood, and your favourite cut of meat. And why not add in some specialty honey and pasta whilst you’re at it?

Pretty fabulous looking cabbage

Three separate produce stores, all part of the one business – Terroirs d’avenir features a grocer (complete with a mini fromagerie with a good range of cheeses), and across the street you’ll find a fish monger (poissonnerie) and a butcher (boucherie). The culinary brainchild of owners Samuel Nahon and Alexandre Drouard, the Terroirs d’avenir shop front is an extension of a successful produce business (the pair provide fresh produce to some of Paris’ best restaurants).

The philosophy behind Terroirs d’avenir (both the supplying arm of the business, and also now the retail space) is simple – to source fresh, quality (organic where possible) produce, whilst supporting local French producers (the majority of the produce is sourced from within France). This approach aligns with the principles of the Slow Food Movement, which is an important element of the business.

A great deal of the vegetables are organic, sourced from producers close to Paris. If you’re specifically looking for organic produce, just ask the staff what ‘bio’ vegetables they have on the shelves that particular day, and they’ll let you know what’s certified organic. Sometimes it’s easy to beeline for exotic produce in supermarkets and vegetables stalls here in Paris, especially when you spy things from far-flung destinations. But I always maintain (as do the team at Terroirs d’avenir) that the less distance vegetables have to travel before they reach the plate, the better. Always a good idea to try and keep your food miles low.

In amidst your usual produce (such as onions and tasty button mushrooms sourced from Val-d’Oise, just north of Paris), you’ll also come across artisanal produce that has been somewhat forgotten in more modern times, especially vegetables that take longer to grow. Keep an eye out for rutabaga (a type of turnip), and all sorts of citrus, including cedrat.

For those fortunate enough to be able to return to the petite poissonnerie on a regular basis, you’ll have the opportunity to buy some of the finest seafood sourced in France – and some of the freshest fish you can find in a big city. Take note of where the day’s catch has travelled from – the last time I visited, the seafood was from Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Changing all the time, the poissonnerie’s seafood comes from the freshest sources in the country, depending on what’s available each day.

After picking up your vegetables and seafood, it’s time to visit the butcher. Whilst strolling through the 2nd arrondissement, it may come as a surprise to see two butchers practicing their knife skills on an entire cut of meat right in front of your eyes. Here, the fresher, the better. You find anything from fois gras magret de canard from Landes in south-western France, to some of the finest organic lamb, wild duck and pigeon. If you’re feeling a bit stumped as to how to cook some of the less-common cuts of meat, just ask the butchers for their advice.

My tip? Don’t pre-plan your shopping list before you visit Terroirs d’avenir. Instead, be guided by what’s in stock on the day you visit. Who knows what you’ll end taking home?

Keeping a watchful eye over the ‘boucherie’

Terroirs d’avenir
7 Rue du Nil 75002 Paris
01 45 08 48 80

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 2:30pm, 4:30–9pm
Saturday: 10am to 9pm
Sunday: 10am to 2pm

If you want to read more about my favourite Parisian places, head over to Khoollect and read Rachel Khoo’s 24 hours in Paris. You’ll get the ins and outs of how I spend a day in one of my favourite cities in the world.

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