Saturday, September 8, 2012

Adventures in Paris: Copper Pot Paradise

Prior to leaving for Paris, my well-travelled buddy WFF recommended that I stop by E. Dehellerin as I had mentioned that I would love something very specifically french for my culinary exploits. 

 

This store is where I want to go when I die, at least for a decade or two.  I want to be a little ghost cleaning the pots, poking around, wrapping parcels for people and just itemizing all of the stock! 
We arrived late in the day and walking into the shop was like stepping back into another time!


 

You are met at the front door by a large panel with copper pots a-plenty.  What to buy?  What will fit in my suitcase most easily? I did not have a large suitcase. Where to begin?

I wandered and wondered the aisles, drinking in the variety of culinary tools, some of which I had no clue what they could be used for! 

And this was no Williams Sonoma - it is not all neatly assembled and artfully displayed for the customer; this is a store for serious chefs and foodies and is not for the faint of heart. 


My favourite part was going down into the old, dark, basement.  More shelves  with pots of all sizes..

Note the massive cooking pot on the bottom shelf.



My husband joked that this is where witches must shop for their culinary accoutrements. Watch out, Hansel and Gretel!

My children  were amazed that such a place could still be in business.  These kinds of small businesses are sadly being replaced where I live by big-box chains.  Makes me miss the old hardware stores with their wooden floors, selling everything from bolts to christmas ornaments.



At the far end of the basement was a wee spiral staircase that only went as far as another bunch of hidden shelves.  I was desperate to go up the stairs, but did not dare as that could be where the witch decamps while her packages are being wrapped!



The best part for me was the actual transaction when I made my purchase.  First, I chose my item.  This is me, staring again at all the choices...




Then I waited 10 minutes to find a staff person who would wait on me.  There was quite a commotion while I was in the store as a couple with very deep pockets were purchasing THREE crates full of copper pots (likely for the country house).  Given the prices of these pots, it was quite astonishing to see!  I am sure they spent a minimum of $5000 euros. Once I received my item, I waited again for the lady behind the counter to look up and come and take my visa.  Once she took my visa and gave me a receipt, I waited again for one of the fellows to say "do you want that wrapped?" and then I waited while he wrapped it.  After 25 minutes, I walked triumphantly out of the shop with my copper oval pan, which I believe will be the beginning of a collection..

And here is my precious:





This oval plan was a) needed and B) was the perfect size for the suitcase and I hauled it with me all over France.  It was/is heavy!


This was a quintessentually french experience in shopping and i adored every moment of it.  Thanks WFF - I have already told my husband what I want for Christmas....





27 comments:

  1. WMM, you reminded me that there is one wooden-floored higgedly piggedly hardware/ odds-and-sods store in our downtown neighbourhood where they can help with almost any house repair conundrum. But it's incredible to see how in just 5 years much of the city has been replaced by orange and blue concrete boxes plunked in middle of pavement. Isn't Dhillerin fantastic. Will always think of that pot as witches brew cauldrom now. And that is a great start to your latest kitchen collection.

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    1. Dhillerin Decade Heaven - I would do the inventory but skip the polishing and washing up.

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    2. cauldron, Dehillerin, clearly need coffee keyboard vs. tablet

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    3. Okay Get Fresh - we will do our time together!!!!

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  2. I love that shop and the way the front step tread is worn away by the footsteps of time.
    I want three copper pots from there so much, I'm saving up for them - officially old now.

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    1. Tabs you are so good at retail investment saving my Paris saucepot is solo and relatively tiny. I think Dani had stuff shipped - must ask.

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    2. Yes I had stuff shipped, don't do it! The duty and taxes were a fortune! The best thing is to approach Paris with an empty suitcase and stuff your pots in. The only thing is it does make the case heavy.
      When we had our order shipped we bought dishes and everything, MrBP went crazy in that shop, it may be hard to believe but he's the shopper when we go on holiday!

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    3. And Tabs they are not as expensive as you may think. We bought a set of three pots with the slanted sides, no lids, I can't remember the prices exactly but it was surprisingly inexpensive, we would have paid ten times as much here for the exact same ones.

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    4. Yes, I was looking, I don't need lids, I actually hardly ever use lids, but still the 20cm pot is £250 and I'm after two of them and a little crepe pan. Phew that will be over £650 on pots I must be out of my mind!

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    5. that seems high - my oval pan was 135 euros, which is about $160cdn.

      However, to use my good Maritime saying, those pots will "do you out" - I have other good pots and typically I replace pots every 5 to 10 years...

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    6. Tabitha-Good pots and pans last forever and a joy to use. My All Clad was spendy, and I get one item at a time, but I love them. Next for me is a Le Creuset enamel oval french oven which is over $300, so it will be on my wish list for a long time!

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  3. Yes, I love old hardware shops too.

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    1. Does anyone else on this blog ever dream of having a shop? I would love a little shop, if only I could make a living from it..

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  4. Thanks for this great account of your visit - I have never been, seems like a really cool place.

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    1. Patricia - it is well worth a visit!

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  5. I stood around like that too WMM, both visits to the shop. Last year we bought a tall copper stock pot that is just the ticket for boiling water quickly on my old electric range.
    We'll be going again in October and won't walk away empty-handed I am sure. I am looking to buy more of their fabulous wood-handled whisks, not expensive but such a joy to use. I'd also like a copper bowl for egg whites.
    Oh and both times we've been we found out pots downstairs. What treasures.

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    1. Dani, I didn't know about the shop till I read about it on your blog, it was a highlight of our trip.

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    2. it is a bit of a pilgrimage site. One of the fellow and I had quite a chat en francais about the shop - they tell me they have such a good time there!

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  6. I've got to go to this shop after reading about it on Dani's blog. From what I understand you find the pot and then go to the price list at the end of the aisle. It would be heaven to go there. We're hoping to visit Paris Sept. 2013 so leave some for me !

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    1. Dani had better chat with Mr. BP then! I have two in university next fall - I suspect we will get nowhere near Paris for a few years, sigh....

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  7. I hope to be in Paris before 2015 and must remember to make it into this shop. My husbands and kids would drone about the wait, but I'd be in 7th heaven. I love your treasure...what are you making first?

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    1. HI Julie! I am thinking about a potato dish for its inauguration! it is so much fun to go into - Dani and WFF were so right!

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  8. Hi, WMM, I'm so glad you found time to do this, and your treasure is perfect, I'm sure you're happily seasoning it at this minute! And may there be a strong dollar (US and CN) and an available empty suitcase on your next trip!

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    1. I am thinking of getting on Mr. BP's list for the holidays...

      Love this pan!

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  9. Great stuff! I think I could go there when I die too. :) Sis brought a suitcase of pots & other gadgets for me when she visited... and left with clothes!

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  10. Rose, we can scrub and do inventory together!

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  11. So much fun!! E. Dehellerin is one of my "must-visits" when I go to Paris - besides the beautiful copperware, I also love to stock up on the ceramics and measuring cups. I had read about the place in my copy of the Barefoot Contessa in Paris cookbook, which also lists many other great shops and restaurants in Paris.

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